I’m well and truly growing up and this morning I was thinking about things that I’ve learnt along the way and I thought – maybe some of these could be helpful to my younger comrades. So I wrote ’em down and now I’m making you read them. You are so welcome.
11 Life Lessons For Younger-Than-Me Women
1/ Do really elaborate eye-liner while you can, because when your eyesight starts to get dodgy it’s super hard to get a nice wing.
2/ If your periods start to get heavy or your uterus/ovaries/other womanly bits are not playing nice – do something about it. Talk to your doctor. And if they brush you off, try another doctor. Conditions like fibroids and endometriosis average something like 6 years of manifesting painful symptoms before they’re diagnosed because women think pain and heavy periods are normal. Get help sooner and live a much more joyful and energetic life.
3/ The only thing about your body that remains constant is your ability to make friends with it. It’s a blinking amazing arrangement of limbs and vessels and cells and organs and heart and emotions and it allows you to experience life and when you think of it, that might just be some kind of magic.
4/ While the media/world/universe wants you to feel like you’re half of an unmatched pair, you are actually your very own full set. Romance and nurture yourself as a priority. You don’t need anyone else to complete you.
5a/ There are lots of ways to have kids in your life. Having babies is awesome, but don’t feel weird if you don’t fancy doing it. Some people had enough of kids during their own childhood and if that is you, that is fine. You do you. If you have friends with kids they will be more than keen for you to borrow theirs.
5b/ If you do have a baby/s, do not feel guilty about how you did it. Birth and baby feeding expectations will tie you up in a knot of guilt, if you are the caring type. Please know that my three adult children show no signs of being birthed naturally/not naturally or breastfed/formula fed. They instead show excellent signs of being raised by a mum who loved the heck out of them and did what she could, when she could.
6/ Make sure you have a superannuation fund. If you don’t, start today and add to it every time you get paid. Casual and contract jobs are meaning that many women don’t have super, and if you couple that with the years many women spend out of the workforce raising the next generation it’s not great. Think of it as an investment in your future happiness. It’s as important as paying your rent, it’s just that you might not know it yet.
7/ Start writing. I know, I know. I go on about this, but one of the best ways to process your feelings and circumstances is to write a little about where you are and how you feel on a regular basis. This is especially useful if you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on a therapist. Note that you don’t have to write neatly or even read your writing back. Just get your thoughts and feelings down.
8/ Pay attention to the fine line between protecting yourself from negative things in a smart way – and simply being closed-off and retreating. Only you know when you’re pushing the world/people away for slightly wonky reasons, so be mindful of missing out due to anxiety or unfounded fear.
9/ Conversely, know that fame and visible success are not the only goal. Living a gentle, fun, compassionate life is an excellent goal too. Not everybody has to know your name. Sometimes it’s better to just know yourself and have a few ace friends and family buddies and pets. Yep.
10/ Everything does not happen for a reason. Terrible things happen to good sorts. Karma might just take 500 years to reconcile misdeeds. How we push through the good and the bad – and how we treat other people and care about our world is what defines us, in the end. Know that it’s what you do in the face of difficulty that is the thing that matters. (And if you cock up, you are in good company!)
11/ Forgive yourself. For whatever it is you think you’ve buggered up. Forgive yourself. Every day, if need be and try to do a little better next time. Forgive. Your. Self.
Love to you, darling-faces.
Photo by Lisa Cohen