“What I wish I had known when I was in my thirties” by Anna Brophy
On Saturday night I had dinner with a group of my forever friends from High School. We chatted, drank wine and ate good food, including dessert. We then decided to move our party to a club for a drink or 7, just like the good ol’ days.
We lasted five minutes.
It was too crowded.
It was too noisy.
The queue for a drink was too long.
Plus the bouncer had absolutely no sense of humour and was not even remotely interested in checking my ID. I decided I didn’t like him or his establishment.
As our gaggle giggled our way back down the road to a quiet bar, with our warm jackets and sensible (yet stylish thanks very much) shoes, we all agreed we were happy to be the age we are now; content in our 40’s.
I wish I knew this in my 30’s.
I wish I knew I would be happy.
Not every second, sometimes not every day, but genuinely; happy overall.
But what makes me happy now, is different to my younger years.
A great night cream that actually smells nice; an unidentifiable drawing given to me shyly, yet proudly, from my son; a steak cooked perfectly on the bbq; curled up on the couch with my husband on a Friday night; a weekend in front of me with no real plans…. a far cry from days gone by. Do not confuse this with ‘getting old’ and out of touch. Liken it to feeling comfortable in my world. I still love a great night (and early morning) out, I am passionate about a fantastic lipstick and I like to tweet and instagram with the rest of them.
So, little sister, in my wise ‘older’ age, I would like to share a few of my fascinating insights that I wish I knew in my 30’s.
Do not waste time on a five year plan.
Sure; make a rough sketch, as this is smart, but make sure it is highly flexible. You do not know what curve ball life is going to throw at you next, and you need to be prepared to head wide to catch it.
If you do not know what this is, familiarise yourself immediately. Slap on sunscreen and moisturise liberally. This is where I have aged the worst and I cannot undo that.
Travel far and wide.
Do not delay. There might come a time when you are confined to your own little four walls, due to illness or possibly caring for small children, when you dream about walks in the French countryside, or the exotic taste of some authentic Asian cuisine, or the freedom of not knowing (and possibly not caring) where you will be tomorrow. Travel truly does open your eyes in a way that the world wide web cannot.
Go home and visit your family.
As a mother myself now, call your mum out of the blue. You do not know when your family won’t be there anymore and by then it’s too late. Book your tickets; block out some time. Please.
Trust your instinct.
Your body is remarkably clever. It will tell you if something is wrong. Do not rely on google or well intentioned ‘advice’. Follow it up. Believe in your hunches.
If in doubt, just breathe…count to ten slowly…just breathe.
If it is too much like hard work, he is not worth it. Life with another person is a long time.
I am not great at watching what I eat or exercising. I know it is important. I want to be around for a long time yet, but dammit I do like a good glass of wine, sleep in’s and TimTams. Find the balance that works for you; remember a healthy mind is just as important.
And on that note, I think there might be some Tim Tams in the cupboard, and I need to drag myself away from my work desk and go play Ninja Turtles with my son.
Sometimes there is just so much that I need to get done in 24 hours….
….breathe, Anna, just breathe.