Welcome to my second post in a short series where I’m sharing forty thoughts and reflections on what I’ve figured out about my life by 40.
Given I referenced the Caitlin Moran as inspiration for this series yesterday – and given I have since found out she’s been “inspirational art quoted” all over the Internet, let’s start with some words of wisdom from her.
This flows nicely into my first thought of the day:
30. Be Kind
Above and beyond the fact that I think it is a much more effective way of getting people to do stuff for you, it’s also just part of being a good human being.
Early in my blogging life, I connected with a blogging movement called 1000Speak for Compassion which blogged monthly on various topics under the theme of compassion. They were a group that demonstrated the sentiment that it really is best to be kind – both to others, and yourself. Say please. Say thank you. Be courteous and thoughtful of others. It doesn’t need to be huge. And kindness spreads. Both within yourself and to those around you.
29. Tell Someone When They Are Your Lollipop Moment
Lollipop moments are those moments where somebody did or said something to you that made your life fundamentally better. The video talks about how so many of us never tell the person who did this for us how much it mattered. The speaker says leadership is these moments, but instead we make leadership bigger than us – about changing the world – and so we give ourselves an excuse not to expect it from ourselves or from others. And we should change this mindset.
28. Master Saying No
I must have done this 30 times at the check-out on Tuesday with my kids. No to gum. No to candy. No to the KinderEgg. No to the pop. No to the Archie comic…. It chips away at your defences but stay strong. It teaches them that neither you nor the world owe them something just because they want or ask for it. It applies for bigger life things too. No to the job you know you don’t want. No to the overtime you know isn’t urgent. No to that task someone is trying to offload on you. No to the volunteer role you don’t want or that they should really be paying someone to do. No to friend who, deep down, you know won’t reciprocate when you need something.
27. Remember Everyone Else Doesn’t Suck But You
I’ve yet to start a job where I don’t hit some form of this. It generally shows itself in a comment that goes something like this:
Part of our job here is to serve as a challenge function and quality control.
This is because that other group simply doesn’t understand how to properly communicate, our role, our goals, or how things really work.
We’ve tried to explain it to them, but for whatever reason, they just don’t get it.
And yet? Take some time to get to know that “other group” and you’d be amazed how often they both a) generally feel the same way about your group and b) once you understand each other’s roles, perspectives and strengths you generally find that you can both “get it”.
I took a Science and Policy course last year where they shared a rather brilliant anecdote that speaks to this. I enjoyed the course so much that I still have the deck. Here’s the slide in question:
Invest time in getting to know others and where they are coming from. Everyone is better off for it in the long run.
26. Let it Go; Forgive; But Remember
Your childhood bully? The boy who cheated on you or treated you badly? The employer who took advantage of you? Being angry at them and wishing them bad luck does nothing to them but eats at you. If the actual event is over and no longer actively happening, figure out how to get over it. But remember how they made you feel so as to avoid the same outcome in future where possible.
25. Know it’s Okay to Not Enjoy Arbonne Parties
Don’t get me wrong, some of the BEST people I know enjoy Arbonne Parties. I’m just not one of them. And the day I figured out I didn’t have to pretend to enjoy them to make friends? Liberating.
24. But Still be Open to Trying New Things
I was a competitive swimmer. Who was forced to run for land training. I used to hate it and lament loudly that if I’d wanted to run I would have joined the track team.
A co-worker in my late 20s pushed me to train with her for a half-marathon. I did and discovered the Ottawa running community. It’s fantastic. And I’d have never known about it if I’d stayed trapped in my notions about running.
23. And Appreciate that Compromise isn’t Giving In
In my early 20s a girlfriend suggested it might be, well, tactical, to learn to play golf. You know, for networking and stuff.
But I didn’t golf, didn’t want to, and had no intention of bending.
I because President of the Carleton University Alumni Association last year.
Let’s just say come summer? There’s a LOT of golf.
So I got over myself last summer and started taking lessons.
My husband is excited I am taking up a sport he enjoys and bought me clubs for Christmas.
22. While also Learning to Sometimes cut your Losses
In my 20s I would also inform people quite bluntly that:
I don’t cook.
I was once told I said it with the same certainty vegetarians use to inform you they don’t eat meat.
I learnt to cook properly on mat leave. So I now know how.
I just don’t enjoy it.
So, I cook when I need to, have a collection of really simply healthy things I can do, and otherwise leave it to others.
21. Remember – and call on – the Village
One of the biggest things I learnt and came to appreciate as a parent is that you can’t do everything by yourself. My kids’ daycare provider taught them wonderful manners and a kindness that I know comes from her. My parents babysit frequently. My eldest has tutors because otherwise the stress and tears of Grade One homework might have done us all in. Peddleheads taught my eldest to ride a bike. Aftercare taught her to skip. It was another dad at the pool who finally convinced my then three-year-old youngest she could take her feet off the bottom and actually swim. You shouldn’t do it alone and everyone is better off when you don’t.
So that brings day two of my reflections at 40 to a close. See you tomorrow!