Growing older can do many strange things to you if of course you aren’t so hung up on age or the idea of growing older in itself. I am a year short of thirty in about a month. I know it’s a huge cliché talking about all the lessons life has taught you with age and the over romanticising of discovery and self awareness. Weird thing though is that as clichéd as it is, there is a lot of truth to it.
I’m completely obsessed with the Baz Luhrmann track ‘Use Sunscreen’ and so I thought to write my version of it based on my own reflections so far.
Focus but be open
I always had plans, blueprints, and clear steps for my life to take. The thing I realised is that I don’t control everything; I can’t, even if I wanted to. My most incredible experiences and opportunities have been random, fate if you want to call it that. What I would have thought to be my most time wasting indulgencies, turns out prepared me for those big moments.
These days im way more flexible, I still encourage people to focus, but be open to the things that life brings your way, even when it isn’t so much as scribbled in the blue print. There is something quite nebulous about life and living. Sometimes dreams change, sometimes you change and sometimes the world around you just changes, and most times you have to be open enough to receive a generous serving.
Be your self, you have nothing to prove to anyone
I just read a tweet a few days ago from the writer Toni Morrison and it says ‘I am not entangled in shaping my work according to other people’s views of how I should have done it’. I thought to myself there would have been no better way to describe this point.
It’s easy to spend ones life shape shifting into other peoples boxes or perceptions of which you think you should be. Whether it’s your work, the kinds of relationships you are involved in or just the way you live your damn life. It’s incredibly freeing once you realise your existence doesn’t revolve around proving a point to other people. There comes a great deal of liberty in coming to terms with ones self.
To recreate, sometimes, you must be willing to destroy
After reading about the Buddhist mandhala ritual where monks spend long periods making elaborate designs with coloured sand and then sweeping it all into a vase and then pouring it into moving water, it has become a metaphor for many things in my life. The ritual symbolises the transitory nature of life. It’s like that thing we say about having to let go to start afresh and in many cases allowing all you have built to be destroyed to make room for what is fresh and new. Some things come to an end, some take up new meaning.
Manage your expectations
One of the biggest causes of my anxieties has been people. Be it those within and those hanging on the fringes of my life. Age has come with learning to manage my expectations. Beyond the fact that my heart can do without the anxieties but also because I am human. I am liable to disappoint, to hurt others knowingly and unknowingly or not meet up to their expectations and I hope at least that it wouldn’t be held against me for the rest of my life. In that same vain, I can’t afford to do the same to other people. Plus whatever you give be it material or otherwise may not always be reciprocated in the ways and manner in which you expect. I have gotten used to that and I am ok with it.
Never assume you know anyone so well, at least leave a little room for the unknown. I’ve come to understand that I don’t even know myself as much as I think I do. It is when you are faced with a situation that you discover what turn your reactions and decisions will take. I read somewhere that beliefs are a way of avoiding reality. I was an idealist but with life has come experience and with experience has come the shattering of those idealisms. You often stay hopeful that at every juncture, you can make right or at least the appropriate decisions
Pick your battles, avoid certain conversations
Walking away doesn’t make you weak or timid, not saying you shouldn’t push back when you need to but it helps you live longer. I can’t fight everything, and neither can I win on all fronts.
Look after yourself…..sleep
Indulge every now and again, eat well, exercise, and sleep. If you don’t look after yourself, you may not be able to take on all the items on your to do list. Asides the physical benefits, it’s good for your mind and soul. We also deserve to be the healthiest and happiest we can be. When it comes to sleep, I reckon nothing is worth agonising over that you loose sleep. When you wake up in the morning, things may have moved on or may just remain there waiting for you to deal with it. New day, with a new set of drama to overcome
They say that when you wake up is when the morning starts. So be grateful for the chance at new beginnings rather than clinging on to the mistakes. Things may not have turned out the way you planned but that’s part of the process. Stay thankful for the learning curves, the discoveries and the journey so far.
Sometimes, we wish we could be frozen in time, clinging on to youth for eternity but unfortunately the transitory nature of life doesn’t give much allowance for that. It is fluid and you just have to flow with the tide. I want to know what have you learned from growing older?
Here is the video