The older I get, the more clarity I get. For example, things I wish I knew sooner:
It is ok to not be the pretty one. I used to cry and hate myself because of the way I looked. I was made fun of for my looks. It took decades to get over it. I still look in the mirror from time to time and wish the face I saw was different, but it’s ok. This is me. (Not fishing for compliments, I no longer need external validation and that feels great!)
It is okay to be quiet. I used to think I had to fill all the quiet moments with witty (mostly not) banter. Silences are fine, they are no longer awkward. I don’t have to brain dump everything in my head. I wish I had learned that a looong time ago!
It’s ok to not be rich. I used to think money and things would make me feel better. All I did was set myself up for years of debt and disappointment. Having the latest whatever does not bring joy. Here I am close to 60 with very little personal wealth and I am better than I was when I was buried in stuff. Rich is found in gratitude not a bank statement.
It’s ok to be kind and strong. Kindness, by some people, is perceived as weakness. I have found that kind people are also the strongest and most resilient people. They have walked through life and know the pitfalls. They have empathy and know justice. Kindness is, in my mind, a super power! Never discount the effect it can have!
It’s not ok to abuse your body. I used to eat a consistent diet of sugar and fat. I smoked and drank. I never exercised or did anything positive for myself. The older one gets the more you realize health is the pinnacle of what you need in life. Without health, life gets really hard. It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself!
Stress is not ok. I used to live on stress and if I didn’t have any I would create some. It’s a drug. It’s an addiction. Walk away from it, no good comes from it. Learning new ways to handle stress are life changing. You will still have stressful times, that doesn’t go away, but dealing with it differently is healthier physically and mentally.
It’s ok to ask for help. I used to think it was a sign of weakness. I carried burdens that were not mine to carry. I felt resentment and bitterness that was hugely misplaced. I was always angry. That is never good! Ask for help, if someone won’t help, keep looking. Not everyone will be sympathetic. That’s ok, someone will be.
It’s wonderfully ok to not live by other people’s opinions. Our society today allows everyone to have an opinion about you. Unseen voices will be happy to point out your flaws. Don’t listen. Your truth comes from inside of you. You walked your walk, they have no clue what you have been through. Forget the guilt, learn the lesson and move on.
It’s ok to apologize. It’s ok to say thank you. It’s ok to be polite. It’s okay to stand up for yourself. It’s ok to live with your past as long as it doesn’t cloud your present. It’s ok to cry and it’s ok to laugh. It’s ok to swear and it’s ok to pray.
Life is a difficult journey. But it can be amazing too! Stay strong, be kind and appreciate you. See your worth, and you have worth. See your beauty, it may be different from others but you have beauty. See your talents, yes you have many. Don’t be afraid to be you!
This life is our classroom. I doubt if there are many (if any) people who were born with all the answers. I do wish I had known back then what I know now but I don’t think I would have been as appreciative of the wisdom earned without having gone through what I did to learn those lessons.
We are blessed to realize that “stuff” doesn’t make us happier or superior in any way. Love, good health, gratitude, kindness and compassion bring us everything we need. You are a beautiful person with a beautiful heart. Those qualities will be your legacy!