I used to be a bit of a party girl. You wouldn’t think so if you met me now.
One Friday night months ago after a busy week of work and writing, I climbed into bed at 8 pm ready for sleep. On a Friday night! I couldn’t help but laugh out loud to myself. Not that long ago, I was out partying till all hours on a Friday night.
On rare occasions, I actually miss the Friday night party girl.
What drives me now however is my desire and determination to change careers and grow as a person. Despite my change in lifestyle, I am happy with the transition and the changes that have come as a result. I am comfortable and happy in my own skin.
If you are a new parent, you will most likely understand what I am talking about. Suddenly your life is different. You have more responsibility. Your priorities have shifted.
Perhaps you are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Your children may have grown up, moved out of home and you find yourself facing an empty nest. Suddenly you have time to yourself that you never had before.
Here are some first hand tips on ways to embrace the new and old parts of yourself
Seek out more meaning
At some point in our lives, we start to search for more meaning. We begin to dig deeper for more substance. Trivial, unimportant issues don’t even hit our radar.
Whether it is a result of maturing, suffering a loss or even something wonderful happening to you, it is important to reach a better understanding of yourself and the people around you. Don’t be afraid to have a long hard look at yourself. You might be delighted and surprised at who you find.
Look beyond the superficial
When I was younger I loved makeup. I mean I loved it. I bought a lot of it. I would spend hours doing my hair (trying to curl it to be precise and then spraying it with tons of thick hair lacquer to keep it in place). May I point out here this was during the 80’s, in case I am scaring anyone.
Now I blow dry my hair a couple of times a year if I am lucky (I have to mention my hair has never been in better condition) and I own one lipstick.
Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against makeup and grooming. Now I simply choose to look past the makeup, clothes, handbags, accessories and try to SEE the person wearing them.
In a celebrity obsessed culture, I think it is more important than ever not to embrace the superficial. So much emphasis is put on celebrities (and I use that term loosely). I have a shock announcement coming, so prepare yourself – They are just people. They might make more money/be better looking, but they are simply people. They eat, cry, sleep, breathe – just like the rest of us.
Understand it is not just about aging
I am sure growing older has mellowed me in many ways. Yet in saying that I know twenty-somethings that have never gone through a party phase and have no intention of doing so and sixty year olds that have never stopped partying.
Stereotyping people into boxes of – who does what at what age – can be inaccurate (not to mention unfair).
Quality over quantity
In our consumer society we tend to value things. Lots and lots of things. Somewhere along the way we have developed a ‘whoever has the most stuff wins’ mentality. Don’t buy into this.
Having more stuff does not bring a richer, happier life. More likely, it will fill your life with crap that you don’t use or want. Not to mention, waste plenty of your hard earned money along the way.
The same can be said for friendships and relationships. Whilst people have a lot of casual acquaintances, it is also important to nurture close relationships. By close, I mean the friends you can call at 2 am in the morning when your life has just cartwheeled out of control. The friend you ring when a parent passes away. The one that will be there for you in your darkest hour.
Whether it is your career, your family or your relationships find purpose and quality in the way you spend your time.
There is nothing quite as capable of taking the focus off ourselves, as helping other people. Whether we want to reach out on a local, community, country or global level – there are always opportunities to help people that are less fortunate or due to circumstances at the time, simply need a helping hand. Volunteer to help others.
Resist the urge to be judgmental
This one can get a bit tricky. When we develop a clear vision of our own values and beliefs, we can sometimes see things as black and white. Right or wrong. We fail to see the gray areas. We view life through our own filter.
The key I believe is twofold, keep an open mind and never stop learning.
Because I have chosen a certain path, does not mean someone else should do the same. Each of us are entitled to make our own decisions. Try not to be judgmental when someone chooses a path not to your liking.
Make sure fun is still on the agenda
Obviously it is important to still have fun. Bear in mind however that your idea of fun might also change as you develop and grow.
In 2009, I went to New York on holiday with three girlfriends. New York is one of my favourite cities. We had a fantastic time and rest assured there was no being asleep in bed by 8 pm on that trip!