We are gifted with many blessings in our lifetime. With every passing moment, we are afforded the opportunity to look back at the world and reassess the path taken with the new knowledge attained at every step forward.
It is an almost dirty word. It is a word that is loaded with powerful connotations ~ both positive and negative ~ of release from guilt of bad decisions and a gentleness about the word that allows for the reality of decisions made with available information at the time and what was best at the time.
As I near the final year of my third decade, drawing to a close my twenties ~ it is an appropriate time for reflection…
Ten years ago, I had just finished high school and was settling into the un-routine of uni life, coupled with retail employment at odd hours; juggling friendships and family and learning how to make many decisions. These decisions could not be blame upon another if the result was unfavourable.
Here, in my limited, young, naively positive and relatively short life, I have identified 10 things I wish I knew 10 years ago..in no particular order…
- A Life Plan
Best word description: Limiting.
Ten years ago, I wish I knew that my life plan would be a wish list and will be interrupted by life itself.
An important lesson I was faced with time after time, yet never fully appreciated was the simple realities of life. It is unpredictable; it waits for no one; and life is made up by many ingredients that are not just dependant upon your decisions but influenced by the lives of those around you. While direction is obviously beneficial, the flexibility of taking life as it comes well hold well when life’s’ unpredictable spanners are thrown in the mix and cause chaos in your plans. Appreciating that flexibility is key diffuses disappointment when life changes and the plan no longer fits. Reality also means that while the life plan was relevant at the stage in life that you made it, your perceptions, goals and desires change and it would not be useful to continue with the life plan when the future has changed.
Best word descriptions: Simple Happiness
Ten years ago, I wish I knew the importance of remembering to continue to laugh and hold onto the laughter for as long as possible.
As a younger me, my cheeks were consistently sore from the continuous state of laughter I was living in. Everything was funny and I felt as though I laughed with my lips, my eyes, my whole body and my heart. While, life was also a lot more light-hearted, as an adult it almost feels as though your mind is racing six steps ahead and you no longer truly appreciate the basic and simple state of the moment and the funniness of living in the moment and embracing it by laughing so hard that your bladder is at risk and your tummy aches. As an adult, when you find yourself in a fit of laughter, you almost feel guilty at looking so silly for having allowed yourself a simple pleasure of it.
For the purposes of clarification, I refer to laughter as real, actual, sound accompanying, tears forming, fits of laughter – not, and I stress this strongly – not ‘LOL’ or ‘LMFAO’ or ‘ROFL’ – ‘ROFLMAO’ – I mean actually laughing so hard that it is contagious with those around you until the point that you forgot what made you laugh in the first place and the funniest thing is hearing the actual laughter echoing around you.
Best word description: Positive
Ten years ago, I wish I knew that I could overcome fear, harness it and turn it into a positive and powerful emotion.
Fear is a very strong and solid emotion that often works to paralyse. It is an emotion highly misunderstood. We attempt to repress it or control it.
As a child, I was afraid of things such as being kidnapped from my bedroom as I slept [this was a rational fear because a child of the same age was snatched as she slept and found murdered near my home – and the very highly publicised case remains unsolved]; fear of being in trouble from mum and dad for minor things that were huge in my mind; or fear of losing loved ones.
As an adult, I have learnt to embrace fear, understand what it is and acknowledge that by knowing and understanding what I am afraid of, I can work on it to become a strength and not allow it to weaken or paralyse my life. A little fear is a good thing because it keeps you feeling alive and not simply rolling through the motions of life in autopilot.
- Life Experience
Best word description: Endless Possibilities
Ten years ago, I wish I knew that life itself would give me the grandest education and understanding of the world.
Life experience is the greatest education possible.
I have spent a substantial amount of time in higher educational institutions to obtain my degrees. Those years provided me academic knowledge and tested my ability to be disciplined, diligent and live in a structure of class times, assessment deadlines and exam preparation that has greatly assisted in my working life, however the most profound and foundational lessons I have obtained are through living life itself. Many of my lessons were learnt through my parents in the beautiful and simple manner they raised me to respect everyone and everything, yet not preaching these lessons but living them. Traveling provided amazing experiences of my own capabilities and showed the astonishing strength of others and basically how they lived. Life experience creates a strength within ourselves that often surprise our own abilities.
Best word description: Misleading and Negative
Ten years ago, I wish I knew how to identify and understand negative judgement.
The world is unfortunately plagued with negativity, gossip and ill-conceived judgement towards one another. Over the years, I was witness to the horrible reality of those judgements of others and the harsh words that accompany them. It took a great deal of time to appreciate and understand that you cannot take on the comments made by another; that I cannot be responsible for other people’s thoughts; and it’s a reflection on the commentator and not the person who is being commented about.
In my life’s journey thus far, I have learnt that the ideal life is non-existent; that everyone have experienced something that impacts and often changes their life’s direction; that people make decisions that are not needed to be understood or accepted by anyone else.
To pass judgement on another is to misunderstand our role in the world. It is not for us to understand. It is not for us to accept. It is not for us to pass judgement on the life lived by another.
Best word description: Soul Cleansing
Ten years ago, I wish I knew the value of true forgiveness.
Without forgiveness, the soul becomes clogged with negative energy and a barrier from allowing us to move forward. I have learnt that forgiveness is just as much about forgiving ourselves than it is about forgiving those who have hurt us. I have also learnt that forgiveness is not about accepting what we are forgiving but merely acknowledging that our being has made peace with it. Life is full of many things, bogging it down with the inability to forgive makes life unnecessarily harder.
Our soul was not equipped to hold onto the negative energy of a lifetime.
Best word description: Practice
Ten years ago, I wish I knew the unmistakable value of patience and the personal reward that flows.
In my final years at high school and the years I spent at uni, I was in a rush to complete them. I placed myself under unnecessary pressure and stress to achieve things quickly. I soon came to learn that patience is a skill that requires practice and reminding to master. When we are patient, we are able to step back from life’s situations and dilemmas to fully appreciate the gravity of what we are experiencing, as well as providing us the opportunity to make better decisions. Patience also reminds us that if we are to be gifted with what we are seeking, it will happen.
Best word description: Mindful, Intentional, Present
Ten years ago, I wish I knew how important it is to step back in life, take a moment and breathe through life.
In my years of practicing yoga, I have come to understand the relevance of breathing. It may sound very odd ~ however to hold a yoga position in a deeper manner, we must remember to breathe through, connecting our body with our mind and brings out attention to the current moment in time. Just as in life, to get through difficult situations, particularly in circumstances where we are overwhelmed, remembering to breathe helps to keep us grounded; helps us step back; allows our mind to collect all the relevant thoughts; put our big girl [or boy] pants on and overcome the obstacles.
Best word description: Family, Friendships and Limitless Love
Ten years ago, I wish I understood and appreciated the depths of connections that bond for a lifetime
Like many others, I have been blessed with having a beautiful family that surround me – that are supportive, loving and forgiving. I have also come to appreciate the love, support and kindness of friends, yet the description of friendship is almost offensive and limiting to providing a category that grossly neglects to highlight and illustrate the true nature of the role they play in life. I have come to learn that family is not only those born into your world, but are those you choose to be part of your world. Another thing that I have come to learn is that my new, adopted family members are not based on time but on the amazing, honest, soulful connections shared.
Best word description: Amazing
Ten years ago, I wish I knew that life was the most precious, most important and yet fragile element of living.
I have been blessed with a life that has provided much that I can learn from thus far. In brief, I have learnt:
– Life does not wait for you to be ready to live it;
– Life is borrowed time and we are never to know when the loan date expires;
– The time we are given is not a right but a privilege;
– We are given the ultimate discretion to live our life as we choose to ~ with that also comes the choices to either waste the time being unhappy or to make the most of every day that we awake breathing;
– We will be hurt; we will cry; we will experience heart break ~ heart ache; we will feel as though our soul has been crushed; that our heart has been trampled and that we are broken and not ever ready to face another day;
– We will smile; we will laugh; we will love; we will experience moments of absolute joy and happiness and feel as though there is nothing we cannot succeed in;
– We will experience grief and feel the hurricane of death ~ yet we will also experience births and the gift of new life;
– We shall never stop learning – We shall never stop feeling – We shall never stop experiencing – because ultimately, there will come a time that our body will stop living – Yet the imprint we leave on the world through the life we lived shall never stop impacting;
– Life is amazing! The extent of which is entirely a matter for ourselves ~
~ Life changes – Our hearts desires change – People change ~
It is through change that we continue to grow