Seven Things I’ve Learned In My Old(er) Age

This year, I will turn 35. It’s surreal, honestly. How can I be nearly 35? Wasn’t I just 15? And don’t I still feel 22? How did I graduate from high school SEVENTEEN years ago?!? 

Despite my bewilderment, I’m not complaining. I actually don’t mind my thirties. In fact, I love them. Not only have I become a far better version of myself, I’ve become more settled, secure and sure of who I am and what I want. And today, I would like to share seven things I’ve learned in my old(er) age that I wish I would have known 10 years ago… 

1. Use Sunscreen
You are bombarded with this truth constantly — in commercials and advertisements and in every magazine article you’ll ever read. BELIEVE THEM. I come from the generation where we went to tanning salons and WILLINGLY exposed ourselves to cancer causing rays! I wish I would have done the sunscreen thing in my teens and twenties like I do now. Still, better late than never! I don’t leave the house without it on at least my face these days. You can make it easy –  get a moisturizer or a foundation that has a built in SPF. Twenty years from now, you will look like Nicole Kidman while your tanning-loving friends look like leather bags. You’re welcome!

2. Choose Quality over Quantity 
I used to revel in the cheap bargains I’d find anywhere and everywhere. And honestly, I still enjoy a good deal. But my definition of “deal” has changed a lot. Instead of spending 100€ on 10 different cheaply made garments, I’d rather invest that money in 2 well made pieces of clothing. Why? Because they last longer, look nicer, and are often better for the environment. (Cheaply made clothes have a short life span and end up in the garbage quickly.)  I’ve also learned to spring a little and buy the good makeup, the good shampoo, and the good sunscreen. Why? Again, they last longer. They’re better for you. And they usually work better. (Of course, there’s exceptions to that — some of the most simple and cheap things can do wonders! I’m talking to you coconut oil!) I have also found that it’s the same with friends. I used to have a dire need to be liked by everyone. I wanted to hang out with all the people, all the time. Now, I have a small group of friends with whom I can share life, and I wouldn’t trade these sweet relationships for all the shallow friendships in the world.

3. Take Care Of Yourself
Taking care of myself is a focus for me this year. Whether that’s spending time getting my hair done every 3 months instead of 6 (cause, come on, I still have 3 little ones) or taking time to work out during the weekend or just having a cup of coffee all alone — I strive to do something each day. It’s taken me far too long to realize that what comes out of me is a reflection of what is inside of me. And if I feel empty and drained all the time, guess what comes out of me? Just a whole lot of ugly. By taking the time to take care of myself, I can be a better wife, mom, friend, employee — person!

4. Live In The Moment
I recently attended a Backstreet Boys concert. YES, it was amazing. YES, it was a total trip down memory lane, and YES, I realized that next time I will spring for the sit down seats cause ain’t nobody got the energy to stand for 6 hours. While my friends and I sang along to “Quit Playing Games with My Heart” at the tops of our lungs, I became very aware that almost EVERYONE else (seriously, like almost ALL of them) were actually only watching the concert through their phones. I get recording a small video of your fave songs or even a little live streaming, but to record the WHOLE concert?? That’s crazy. We spend way too much time seeing moments through our phones and not with our eyes. That’s dumb, guys. Let’s pledge to live in the moment instead.

5. Find A Mentor
Studies have shown that we are the average of the 10 people we spend the most time with. That could be a frightening thought, couldn’t it? This is why I’m a firm believer in mentors. It doesn’t have a to be a formal thing. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be one person. Find people you look up to — someone who has a marriage you respect, someone who runs a successful business you admire, someone who is full of patience like you’d like to be — and HANG OUT WITH THEM. You’ll learn from them and they’ll rub off on you — for real!

6. Prioritize And Manage Your Time
You cannot do everything. It’s impossible. A mentor of mine (see above!) once told me to write down the 3 things that are most important to me. Then, he told me to write down the 3 areas where I spend the most time. Finally, he told me to write down 3 goals of where I want to be 5 years from now. Do those things match up?!? Because if they don’t, I’m not prioritizing my time properly. If my dream is run my own business, but planning and working on it is not even in my top 3 areas I’m spending my time, then I probably won’t do that. If I say my goal is to own my own home, but I’m not saving towards that now, it probably won’t happen. If I say my marriage is the most important thing to me, but I’m not spending any time actually investing in that relationship, how can I expect it to be incredible 5 years from now? Figure out what is REALLY important to you and invest your time and energy in those places. These things may change over time, so keep going back to that list and adjusting. But pay attention to where your time goes — will it help you get to where you want to be??

7. Train Yourself To Be A Morning Person
I have never been a morning person. I’ve never been an evening person, either. Honestly, I’m most alert somewhere around 11 a.m., but oddly, no one seems to want me to coordinate my schedule around that hour. Thus, over the past few years, with the addition of children, I’ve started to train myself to be a morning person. There’s something about having just a few minutes of stillness and quiet in the morning — that first cup of coffee when the house is silent — that allows me to get my head and heart in a place to face the day. I have noticed a huge difference when I have this time, as opposed to sleeping later and rushing around to get places on time. If you can, aim to wake up 30 minutes earlier than you currently do. I promise you won’t regret it. 

There you go! What good is my old(er) age if I can’t share any of the wisdom I’ve gleaned?!? Feel free to share what you’ve learned in the comments below!



Published by Ariel

Wife, mom, expat, coffee and Jesus lover doing life and learning to thrive in the chaos.

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