Things I learned by 35

Another birthday, another milestone. Some women get a little sad about reaching this age and not being married/having kids yet. And I confess I did get a little bit mopey about it…last month.

But the day’s arrived and funny enough, I just feel really calm.

Since it’s my birthday, here are some things I learned that might help some of you out, whatever age you may be.

1. Be yourself. In this world, people are looking for authenticity, people who are ‘real’. But at the same time, sometimes at work, you will need to put on a ‘persona’. Think of it as a suit of armour that you don for the battleship of work. Understand that this persona is not you but a means of coping with work. You may be a bit of a slob and fart joke enthusiast but that might not be what you want to show off at work.

Just remember to take the persona off and let people see the real you.

2. Learn how to make and keep friends. If you just can’t find people to hang out with, ask yourself: Are you doing enough as a friend? I confess to learning this the hard way. Woke up one morning and the only birthday message I got was from my dentist. Boo hoo. The simplest way of getting friends is being a friend. Really.

3. If you are always sick and having to take medical leave at work, your body is telling you quite plainly to quit. Either your job is too taxing on you physically or you are really, really unhappy. No job is worth the physical toll.

4. If you ever have to choose between keeping your health or your job, get rid of the job.

5. It’s not always about you. Remember the universe does not revolve around you and your misery. Sometimes if things are getting you down, maybe you just need to find something bigger than yourself. A cause. A project. A pet, even.

6. Life is too short for excuses. If you really want something, go all the way. Don’t just talk about things: make them happen. It is OK to clean the house every week instead of every day if it means you will have time to work on that novel/play/song/podcast.

Think about the legacy you will leave behind. Do you really want it to be “the chick who obsessively swept her floor everyday” rather than “the chick who wrote that really good book?”

7. If you’re suicidal and feel like there is no reason for you to go on living…find help. It’s as easy as going to HKL, going to the GP and telling them that’s how you feel. You’ll be referred to a psychiatrist…but the waiting list might be as long as 2 weeks. But until then, persevere. As a survivor of depression and someone who’s had many friends clinically depressed/suicidal, I know it can be hard. But when you can no longer help yourself, accept that you need help. It is there for you if you just reach out for it.

8. Everyone has their own cup of sorrow – big or small, it still brings them pain. So be kind, be compassionate and try to find the best in people. Though it is perfectly fine to ignore people being utter and total wankers.

9. Find something you’re good at. Find something you love doing. If they’re the same thing, then you’re lucky. If they’re not, use the first to support the other.

10. Sometimes, it is just nice to treat yourself to a solo meal at a place you really like. If you can’t enjoy your own company, why expect other people to? Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. Treasure your solitude and your own companionship.

Yes, not exactly world-changing wisdom. But the best I can think of right now.

But if I had to sum them all up…Life is too short for regrets. Live so you will regret nothing. And love.



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