We’d all be mega rich if we knew things ahead of time; imagine if we could predict the lottery numbers! Unfortunately, we can’t but perhaps some of the mistakes we’ve made along life’s journey help us make better decisions today. Here are my top life lessons I wish I’d fathomed out earlier 😊.
Before you read on I must point out that my list very practical. We read stuff every day telling us to walk our own path, make every moment count and not everyone will like us so don’t worry. But these are just words, and to be honest, I find all that stuff a bit wishy washy. If you read some of the advice that’s out there on how we should live, our existence would be as dull as dishwater. My top takeaways are based on real life experiences and as I’m a fan of enjoying myself getting the right balance has always been important to me. See what you think!
No 1 – Pick your fights carefully
Why is this No 1 on my list? Because I’ve wasted so much negative energy getting into pointless arguments. I’ve had many confrontations, especially at work and regretted them. I find confrontation stressful so why do I put myself through it.
As I’ve got older I’ve learnt to listen, accept that someone has a different opinion to me and move on. I could’ve avoided so many difficult situations and sleepless nights if I’d learnt this sooner. I even find Twitter stressful these days. Chill out everyone, life’s so much more pleasant without arguments.
No 2 – Always do what you say you’re going to do
Someone who was very influential in my early career gave me this advice and I reckon it’s the best I’ve ever had. How many people say they’ll do something and never do.
- I’ll call you back
- You’ll have this by the weekend
- I’ll pop round tomorrow morning to help
- I’ll send you an email with the details
The list is endless and we’re all let down by broken promises. Dealing with suppliers is a nightmare; electricity, gas, broadband, bank – it’s hugely frustrating because very few people do what they say they’ll do.
You’ll go a long way if you take this advice on board. I’m not kidding when I say that 90% of your work colleagues or friends won’t do what they say they’re going to do, so you’ll stand out. If you’ve agreed a deadline but can’t meet it, call and explain rather than wimp out and not communicate. If you don’t want to do something say no, I appreciate its difficult, but its better than saying yes and letting someone down.
No 3 – Look after your body
There’s no easy way of saying this but you’ve got to look after your body. I appreciate we’re all dealt different cards when it comes to our health, both mentally and physically but there’s still a part we can play to improve our life. When you reach 60+ all the bad stuff you’ve done will come back and haunt you. I’m not saying don’t have fun! My 30’s and 40’s were spent drinking far too much, surviving on too little sleep whilst stressed out with work! I’ve got some great memories though so you have to find the right balance. The takeaway from this that whilst my lifestyle wasn’t great I always found time to exercise and I mostly ate healthy food, thereby maintaining my weight. Not sure about my liver though 😊.
Today, looking after my mind and body is my No 1 priority, especially as I have AS. If you want to feel good beyond 60 don’t let the weight pile on and I can’t stress the importance of building strength, especially in the glutes. Our glutes keep us upright and push our bodies forward. Strong glutes are important for proper pelvic alignment, momentum during walking, and even being able to balance and stand on one leg. Glutes also help support the lower back during lifting and help prevent knee injuries. I’ve seen so many people who have no strength in their glutes. The result is bad posture, knee problems and so many other limitations stopping them from enjoying life to the full.
No 4 – Sleep
I’ve learnt, through lack of sleep, how important 7 hours a night is. Look, like everyone, I’ve had periods in my life where I’ve survived on very little. The result is I eat more unhealthy food, don’t exercise and every single one of these life lessons goes out of the window!
No 5 – Use Sunscreen
When I visited Australia for the first time in 2000, I witnessed the damage the sun can do to our skin if we don’t protect it. The Australians are much better than we are at applying sunscreen and I’ve used a high factor ever since. I stepped this up when I reached 40 and I never go outside without Factor 50 on my face, even in the Winter. I use a sunblock when I go abroad and never sit in the sun between 11am and 4pm; I’m the boring person under the umbrella. Years ago I went to see a dermatologist who told me sun damage is the biggest single factor for causing aging skin. You might not mind today but you might when you reach 60. Obviously, and more importantly, the sunscreen helps to avoid skin cancer too. Oh and sunbeds are even worse!
No 6 – Ditch the black eyeliner
I guess this applies to anyone that wears it – please throw out the black eyeliner. It’s OK in your 20’s especially if you can do that intricate “wing thing”. But after that it makes you look older. I didn’t ditch mine until I was 50 and when I look at photos, I can see why its such good advice. A make-up artist told me that applying dark colours like black under your eyes is way too harsh and makes you look older than your real age.
No 7 – Save for your future
It’s hard to save, especially in today’s world and I certainly couldn’t afford to save anything until my late 30’s as the money I earned wasn’t enough to cover my outgoings. However, Jamie and I have sacrificed material belongings like expensive cars and nice jewelry to save for our future. Neither of us come from families where inheritance was going to make a difference, and nor were we on final salary pensions, so it was up to us to plan accordingly. I’m often amazed when people tell me they don’t need to save for their future because of expectations around inheritance, or equity release or even thinking that the state pension will be enough.
Research suggests that a couple in the UK need an annual combined income of £47,500 to have a retirement with few or no money worries, while a single person would need £33,000. Now, I think that’s a lot and it’s a huge amount more that you’ll get from state pension so if you want to enjoy a better life after work and don’t have a rich family, you better get saving. Remember if you are replying on inheritance, life expectancy has increased so you may be waiting well into your retirement and wasting your best years. Looking after our elderly parents or relatives is costly and if they do have savings (i.e., more than £24,000) those savings will go on private nursing and health care before you can request any help from the state.
No 8 – Be kind
It’s so much better to be kind than unkind. Look after those close to you, don’t make people feel bad or criticise them, its not nice. Say sorry if you’ve hurt someone and smile, even if it’s a difficult day; it will help. I’ve learnt that I’m not very tolerant and I’m incredibly impatient so if I’m finding it difficult to be kind, I keep quiet.
No 9- Don’t drink cocktails on an empty stomach
Make sure you fill up on wine first .
Until next time xxxx
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