The gratitude of ageing > The fear of ageing
The older we get, the more we tend to dread our birthdays. Ugh, 20! No longer a teen. 30? Things are getting serious. 40! 50! 60! Sigh, sigh, sigh.
Yes, you can miss and feel nostalgic towards each year and each decade that passes you by. But you should also try and remember that each year is a gift. We are all lucky for every second, minute and day that we get.
And I know this sounds a little rich coming from someone who hasn’t yet hit 30, but I recently lost my dad who was only 56 at the time. In terms of death, 56 suddenly seems young, doesn’t it?
Hearing people complain about turning 50 or 60 has started to grind my gears. Because really, aren’t they lucky? My dad will never get to see any of his children get married, he’ll never meet his grandchildren, he won’t even get to see three of my siblings graduate high school. He had so much more life to lead.
Sure, he probably would have rolled his eyes at turning 60 if he had been given the chance, the same way we’ve all been programmed to do — we all feel as though we should react negatively towards ageing. But now? My dad and our family would have given anything for him to make it to 60.
What I learnt from losing my dad in my twenties
Four years ago, my father (in his early 50s, fit and healthy) was diagnosed with brain cancer. Two years later, after…
Of course it would be great to run wild in your 20s forever. But life is fleeting for everyone, more so for some.
Learn to be grateful for each birthday you make it to, each wonderful moment you can share with your loved ones, and never take moments (both big and small) for granted because they can be taken away from you in an instant.
Ageing is a gift, and it’s not one everyone gets.
How far you’ve come > How far you’ve got to go
Seriously, look how far you’ve come. Look at everything you’ve achieved, both big and small in your life so far.
The kindness you’ve spread, the words you’ve written that helped even one person, the times you’ve made people laugh, graduating school, getting a degree, getting a job, getting a promotion, having a child, adopting a pet, buying a house, renting a house, getting a car, even just getting out of bed every damn day… I could go on for paragraphs.
We live in a world where people share only their highlight reels, and sometimes we feel like our lives our lacking in comparison. But if you take a moment to look back and truly recognise and appreciate all you’ve done and all you’ve been through, you should feel proud.
You may not be the CEO, but you’ve got a job, nailing an interview and proving yourself everyday. You may not have the biggest house, but your name is on a lease and you can pay the bills. You may not have a millions of followers on social media, but you’re still the life of the party.
You’ve come so far. That’s all that matters. Everything else? That will come in time.
People who raise you up > people who’ve let you down
You will always come across insincere people and discover fake friends. And it’s always going to hurt when someone lets you down, especially someone you once trusted. But with every shitty person comes a good person. And they’re the ones who deserve your energy.
The ones who turn up for you in your time of need, rather than when they want something. Those who genuinely want to see you succeed, instead of finding pleasure in your failings.
Life is too short to give your time, thoughts and energy to people who don’t deserve it. Rather, take those feelings of hurt, betrayal and mistrust that you may feel about one person and focus on someone good. Those feelings will turn to gratitude, a feeling of being loved, a feeling of warmth.
Friendship Shouldn’t Be a Competitive Sport
Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that.
All the times you’ve tried > all the times you’ve failed
Life is rough, guys. People will let you down, you’ll let yourself down, your job will let you down. But if you continue to put yourself out there, and try, try again, that’s all you can do.
If you ask for a promotion and get rejected, you should be proud for even trying.
You may have been in a relationship for a few years, but let your commitment issues get in the way — you still gave love a go.
The only way you’ve ever really ‘failed’ is if you don’t try at all. Be proud of every stumble, and be proud of every time you picked yourself up and dusted yourself off.
You Haven’t Failed, You’ve Just Stopped Trying
If there’s something you really, truly want, don’t give up.
Everything you have > everything you want
We are always going to be programmed to want more.
It’s human nature to never be truly satisfied with what we have. Sometimes, it takes a major life event to shake up our lives and make us realise and appreciate the things that matter.
Instead of aspiring for that mansion with a draw bridge and a moat, appreciate the fact you have a roof over your head.
Instead of focusing negative energy towards how much you dislike your patronising boss, think about how excited you are to go home to your loving partner.
Most of us have more than we will ever need. We need to shift focus from our unfulfilled desires to our fulfilled needs.
What you’ve loved > what you’ve lost
Okay, so this is a tough one. When you lose something or someone you love, you’re going to grieve, and you’re going to grieve hard. It’s going to hurt, and you’ll probably have occasions where you find it hard to breathe.
Grief sucks. But if you’re grieving something, it means you’ve lost something you truly loved.
Try your best, as hard as it may be, to be grateful for that ability to love. Be grateful for the person who was in your life. Be grateful for your ability to love them, more so than the pain of losing them.
Shifting your perspective can put the power of your life back in your hands. You can rarely control what happens to you, but you can control how you feel about it. Most of us are far better off than we think, and will truly benefit from thinking about what we’ve had, what we have, and what we’ve done — rather than what we’ve lost, what we never had and the things we never did.