We often associate ‘change of life’ as a time when women enter menopause and men enter mid life crisis, but it struck me today that there are so many more important changes that have happened in my lifetime and have happened in the past 20 years of my life.
Compared to when I was a teenager and even into my late twenties there have been some massive changes; here are some things that were completely changed forever…
Then: I used to think not being liked by everyone meant that there was something wrong with me. Now: I don’t need to be liked by everyone. My opinion of me matters the most.
Then: I thought the worst thing that could happen in life is that I would not find a partner or someone who would want to be with me. Now: there are so many worse life events like death of a loved one, losing our health and identity, loss of belief in ourselves, destruction of the planet / each other and forgetting our time here is precious.
Then: trying to please everyone. Now: knowing how to be at peace with myself and who I am is so much more important.
Then: the more I tried to do for others meant that I was a good person. Now: look after ourselves first and then, if we can, give back. It doesn’t make us a good person it simply makes us feel better about ourselves.
Then: competing for worth, credit, validity, possessions, success and importance is the most important goals in life. Now: being proud of all I have done and endured. Knowing no one is better or worse than me. This is the most important lesson to learn.
Then: taking relationships for granted. Now: treasuring every little moment and memory.
Then: needing to be in control of things that happen around me. Now: realizing we are never in control of what happens around us and what is happening inside others. We can only hope to be aware of our own actions and responses.
Then: thinking beauty was a size or a look and trying to conform to the worlds standards of what beautiful is. Now: knowing that there are far more meaningful measures of human beings and their character is far more important and enduring.
Then: not trying to do everything and not being seen as good at everything was a sign of weakness and failure. Now: needing to conform with what people require and expect is a waste of my time, energy and self awareness.
Then: being the most admired and center of attention is a sign of how special you are. Now: valuing my quiet and avoiding drama is priceless.
As you can see, I personally think the biggest and most significant changes happen when we mature and grow as people and not defined by an age, reproductive status or any possessions.
I can see how far I have come by comparing who I was then, and that has meant a lot to me. Sometimes I can’t believe who I was myself!
I wish, sometimes, I didn’t have to learn some of these important things through loss and pain but they are often the strongest tools and teachers.
In fact anyone who hasn’t been in my life or around me in the last 15 years or even the past 5 years, doesn’t truly know the person I am today. I have changed that much. I also believe we can continue to change, regardless of our age and circumstances, throughout our lives as long as we are willing to and I wonder what the next 10 years may show me?