Today I felt like writing about something different. Being a woman is a huge part of what I want to reflect on in this website, and I think many women, many people indeed, will relate to what inspired me to write this post. For a while now, aging has been an all-encompassing presence. I can’t shake the feeling that even if I am lucky enough to die of old age, I have probably already lived half of my life. And it’s gone by so fast!
My work is many times very physical, I need to get in and out of boats, dive, trek. As the years go by, the age gap between me and the people that I work with has grown deeper, making me wonder if I look pathetic when I’m running around with the kids. Should I start considering a new career path?
Add to that the fact that my partner is a gorgeous man eight years my junior. As a Latin American woman raised in a traditional way, it was really challenging for me to overcome my own prejudices about age and allow myself to believe in us.
So yes, age has been on my mind. So I decided to embrace the fact and try to make the second half of my life, the best part. Also, I thought it’d be fun to put together a list of the things I know for sure, based on my 38-year-long journey on this planet. Here they come, 15 things I know for sure.
1- You can do absolutely anything you set your mind to.
I didn’t promise these would be groundbreaking, never-heard-before facts. And I really don’t want them to be cheesy… but this one is so true! I won’t say more, just read that one out loud to yourself, in the mirror, every morning (I should too).
2- It really pays to take care of your body.
I am very lucky because I can honestly say that I love to exercise. I love playing tennis, being outdoors, jogging. But when I don’t have the opportunity to do any of that, I have rock-hard discipline and work out in the gym about 5 times per week. I don’t particularly enjoy exercizing when it’s not an actual sport that involves a ball, hence the need for discipline. I have taken care of my body since I was a teenager, and as I approach 40 I can tell you it pays. I think that pushing your body not only shapes your figure, it shapes your mind.
3- Telling the truth is the answer.
It might seem easier or kinder to conceal things or bend the truth so you can spare somebody or yourself a difficult time. But I’m 100% convinced that it’s better to say what you really feel and think. And it gets easier the more you do it, the more you dare to speak your truth.
4- Let go. Always.
This one is truly one of those “Do as I say not as I do” kind of tip. I hope I get to master it one day. Live what you’re living fully, without containment or fear… but when/if it ends, breathe in and let go.
5- There is more than one way to be happy, and you’ll probably try several during the course of your life.
So don’t be too attached to your preconceptions of what your life should look like. That’s it. Nothing more to add here.
6- If you continuously pass judgement, you’ll end up eating most of your words.
Life is one giant realization of “por la boca muere el pez”. Feel free to google that Latin American saying. It has happened to me so many times: I criticize someone for doing something “I would never do” and then… I realize that no one knows what they’re capable of until they are under the right circumstances. Many times I’ve ended up doing what I criticized.
7- Taking things personally is one quick way to suffer.
Oh, this is a good one now that I’m running my crowdfunding campaign (go in now and donate!). Just don’t sweat it, don’t take things personally, especially if you can’t do anything about them. Learn what you can, and move on.
8- FOMO will distract you from your own path.
When I first moved from Costa Rica to live in Spain, I was a wreck. I had closed my office back home, lost some clients, left my lovely apartment, sold my car and my stuff and found myself in a new continent with no friends. Then I’d see on social media that people I knew were beginning projects together, or having an amazing time together. It would give me such anxiety. It took me a long time to realize that I was missing out on Spain, one of the most amazing countries on Earth, because my mind was still in Costa Rica.
9- Almost always, things look way scarier before you do them.
I’m a wimp. I’m very afraid to do many things because I don’t want to get hurt. One of the most frustrating days of my childhood was going to Bush Gardens with my family, and spending the entire day holding their jackets and taking their pictures as they rode all of the roller coasters of the amusement park. Usually right after I do something that scared me silly, I am even a bit disappointed because it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. That said, I will never ever ride a roller coaster or skydive.
10- It’s not wise or possible to force things into working.
This one is difficult! When I want something, I want it. I get a bit obsessed, but with time I’ve discovered it’s good to listen to the gut-feeling that tells you you’ve reached the point where you’re just forcing it. Then let go.
11- Waiting for the right occasion to dress nicely is a waste of time.
I’m a tomboy, but if I feel like wearing something nice, I’ve learnt not to wait for the right occasion. I do my hair or wear a nice pair of heels. It’s never a bad time to feel good about yourself.
12- When you think you know, you know.
Comes back to the gut-feeling. If you think somebody is flirting with you, they probably are. If you feel something’s off, it probably is. If you don’t trust somebody, they probably don’t deserve your trust. If you think you might be getting into a dangerous situation, be confident to walk away. Deep down, you know.
13- Giving it a night is the best policy.
Oh… I fail this one so often, but I believe striving to not act under the influence of strong emotions or uncertainties is always the right call. Don’t send that text message or that email, don’t make that decision, don’t take that step. Give it a night. Go over it with a cooler head later.
14- Opinions are exhausting.
With age, I find myself having less and less of them. Instead of getting more black and white, life seems to be turning grayer and grayer. Very few things are absolutely right or wrong in my mind. It’s freeing.
15- Perfect is the enemy of possible.
So just get over yourself and get it done! Yes, it could be better. Yes, chances are somebody else would have done it better. Yes, probably somebody will criticize it… but as Sheryl Sandberg said:
“Done is better than perfect”.
Just like this list of things I know for sure .