Today is my 36th birthday. Boy that looks all strange typed out in black-and-white! In some ways I still feel very much like I did at 16, 22, 28, etc.
But as I reflect over the last few years, I notice a few things that have changed within me. Things that I actually like! This getting older thing may not be all that scary after all.
So today I am sharing what I love about getting older (so far).
1. I am more comfortable just being me.
When I was younger I would feel more pressure to be in the know, be one of the cool kids, to prove my coolness, etc.
I would find myself wishing to be something different than I was. I just don’t feel any need to do that anymore.
2. My relationships are richer and more meaningful.
When I was younger I felt some pressure to have a lot of friends, and I wanted everybody to like me.
The problem with that is that you can end up with people around you who are not very good friends to you at all. They don’t have your best interests at heart. They may not be there when you need them. They have very little concern for your well-being. Some may even betray you.
I don’t have time to put up with people who are self-serving, self-absorbed, pretentious, etc. And I am getting much better at identifying these traits in somebody more quickly. Recognizing patterns in behavior is something that just comes with age, I guess.
Over the years I have had to end a few friendships when I realized that the other person really did not care much about me at all. Those were tough situations, but I really learned some valuable lessons through those experiences.
And that is not to say that good friends don’t mess up from time to time! Nobody is perfect, and grace and forgiveness are key in strong friendships. But that love and concern for each other is at the heart of any great relationship.
I find myself connecting with people who share my values more than I did when I was younger. And that results in much deeper and more meaningful connections.
3. My time and attention is devoted to the things I care more deeply about.
As I get older, I have realized how precious time is, and I know how fast it passes. I really want to make the most of it.
I don’t feel as much pressure to spend time doing things that I don’t care about. Likewise, I make more of an effort to work in the things that I know are important.
4. I understand and value myself more.
I have a better understanding of my strengths and gifts. I know the things that I am good at.
I am much more self-aware than I was a few years ago. I understand patterns in my own behavior, and I have learned to (1) leverage my strengths and (2) work around (but not dwell on) my weaknesses. This has been huge for me!
If you are not sure what you are good at, I would really encourage you to do some searching. I believe that everybody is born with a unique set of gifts and talents. Learning those things about yourself can lead to some of the most fulfilling and gratifying work you could do.
So in conclusion…
I hope you enjoyed those little pearls of wisdom! Not that I think that I have “arrived” in any way, or that I know everything. Far from it! A big part of wisdom (in my opinion) is realizing how little you really know, and being open to learning new things.
Another year is under my belt, and I still have a lot to learn! I hope to keep learning new things every day. I can’t wait to see what is in store for this next year of my life.
What are some lessons you have learned as you have gotten older?