Monday, 13 July 2015

Hitting thirty

At the start of this month, I hit the big three-oh. I'd love to say I coped with this milestone gracefully, but truthfully in the weeks leading up to my birthday I found myself becoming pre-occupied with all the things I hadn't achieved yet and how I wasn't in the place I thought I would be by the time I was thirty. I'm not proud to say that I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and beating myself up for various reasons. I felt like I had wasted my twenties and that it was too late to change. I couldn't stop comparing myself to my peers who all seem to be getting engaged, getting married or having babies and I knew that I wasn't helping myself with this way of thinking but for a while I couldn't seem to pull myself out of the gloom. 

The good news is that I've turned a corner, I realised that I had a choice, that I could carry on feeling sorry for myself or I could start being a bit kinder to myself whilst at the same time working towards changing and improving my life.

I first came across Shaun Achor a couple of years ago when he gave a talk at the headquarters of the company I work for. I watched the recording of his speech  (you can watch his TED talk here which is one of my favourite TED talks) and immediately felt drawn to him and what he was saying. He suggests that there are 5 habits which can lead to more happiness and his ideas have always stuck with me so I decided to give the suggestions a go. For the past few weeks I've religiously been writing down three things I'm grateful for in a notebook at the end of every day. I really look forward to doing this  and when something nice happens to me during the day I've found myself paying more attention to it and appreciating it more than I probably would have before. It really is all about the little things in life. I  downloaded the Headspace app and have been meditating for 10-15 minutes every day. This has been a real game changer. I used to drag myself out of bed, go through the motions of getting ready before rushing out of the door and mindlessly going about my day. Now I genuinely look forward to jumping out of bed to meditate. You can meditate at any time of day but I love meditating first thing, it seems to create a positive, calm  and mindful intention that lasts all day. Exercise is something I have been in the habit of doing every day for a few years now and it definitely helps keep me sane, if I go a day without it I start getting twitchy.

Other things that have helped me are making a list of all my accomplishments and not comparing myself to others, comparison really is the thief of joy, we all have different journeys. I started reading more self development articles and books, I love this list of 11 people who found success after 30. I  also like this article on 10 things my thirties taught me. My lovely colleagues commenting that I look more twenty than thirty didn't hurt either ;) 

I feel happier than I have done in a long time and people around me are commenting about how much happier I seem lately. Someone even asked if I was in love (ha! if only). I feel a bit vulnerable posting this on the internet for everyone to see as it's so personal but from talking to a few others I know I'm not the only one to have struggled with turning thirty. In today's world of beautiful Instagram feeds it's easy to start thinking everyone's life is better than yours but no-ones life is perfect and if sharing my experience helps just one other person feel less alone then it will have been worth it. 

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