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Plus Five


Things I have learned since turning 30

Is it incredibly clichéd for me to use my thirtieth birthday as blog material? And introspective blog material at that? I’m going to do it anyway and I think I can live with it. If you decide you can’t then I’ll just leave this link here to something you can read instead (subtle self-promotion: totally one of the things I have learned). So. I have now officially reached the part of my life that I can’t remember having childhood plans for. My comprehension of adult life didn’t reach beyond thirty because it was an incredibly old age and I would have things Sorted by then. Sorted with a capital S in the way that A. A. Milne would have emphasised it. In my twenties I did many things that young Amber hadn’t planned to do - getting married; doing unexpected jobs and joining committees; deciding I like dogs. I also did barely any of the things that she had planned to do - becoming a journalist, moving to London, writing a novel. It’s fair to say I had to reassess my plans on a regular basis or I would have pretty much imploded at the contradictions between them and my actual life. On a few occasions I came pretty close, to be honest. Now, at thirty, can my childhood self still stake any claim on my future? How far does trying to keep those promises and stoking those flames take me? At what point can I move from ‘I have failed’ to ‘this is no longer what I want’ or ‘this doesn’t have to be now’? These are the difficult questions that I think I am starting to be able to answer. AND AFTER THIS RAMBLING INTRODUCTION, AMBER, WHAT IS IT YOU HAVE LEARNED? You make a good point, capslock interlocutor. I will tell you. 1. I don’t have to justify my changes of direction/goals to people who aren’t a part of my day to day life Very apologetic long-winded explanations of why I’m not doing what I said I wanted when I was eight are going out of the window. It’s laughable how under pressure I have felt to explain myself - to relatives, to friends of parents, to old teachers. I was eight. I’ve changed. It’s okay. 2. Trial and error is actually a fine way of figuring plenty of things out I am a person who doesn’t like being wrong or getting things wrong. However, I inevitable will, because I am human. Recognising these as learning opportunities and figuring out my way as I go has been revelatory. At first I had no choice, but now I’m actively trying new things/approaches just to see how they go. 3. I don’t have to do it all right now I will freely admit I am an ambitious person. I can’t help it. But I have learned to balance my ambitions and goal setting with greater realism. I don’t have to do everything all at once. 4. Trying to please everybody is a waste of time The first time I was able to articulate this I thought, oh I did NOT just say that to myself! To me, the dyed in the wool people-pleaser? Not so dyed in the wool after all. Pleasing the people that matter, for the right reasons, is where I am at now. Mostly. 5. I am worth more than I have allowed myself to think As a person, a friend, an employee, I typically undervalue myself. I am unlearning that. Not because I am becoming self obsessive but because I need to treat myself with the same respect I would extend to others or expect them to hold for themselves. Knowing my worth in every sense can only be a good thing. So there are my five things. Maybe in the next thirty years I can learn another five?

#childhood #mentalhealth #lifelessons #happiness #freedom #personalhistory

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