Welcome to 45
I love celebrating my birthday. For me, it’s always been a fun time. I’m not a big party kind of person. The task of organizing and getting people together doesn’t really interest me. I’m more of a throw something together, tell me where to go, and I’ll show up kind of person. I would rather throw a dinner party or have my friends meet at a restaurant.
I’m enjoy celebrating another year of life. Another year to live happily and the way I want to live. I am proud of the way I have lived my life so far. I have taken the time to figure out what I want to do, and I go do it. For the most part, I have done everything without a lot of struggle. My guiding principle for most decisions is: if it makes me happy and doesn’t hurt anyone, I do it.
This year(and, for some reason, every odd year since 33), I freaked out a bit because I am turning 45. Where did the time go? Who I am and what I want has changed so much that I am just anxious for it to all fall into place. Then, I realized the phase that I just began will probably be the best time of my life. So what was is there to freak out about? Now, I am just as excited about my birthday as I have ever been.
This realization has caused me to reflect a bit. What have I learned so far? I came up with the 10 best lessons I learned in my first 45 years:
1. What it really means to love myself.
"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." - Buddha
Loving yourself and being confident are not the same. Recognizing your good qualities is one thing, but really owning your self-worth is another. When you really love yourself, you don’t put yourself last. You don’t put yourself down. You don't allow someone else to put you down. You know you deserve whatever you want. You don't look for happiness outside of you because you know you're enough.
2. When to hold on and when to let go.
I am tenacious. I don’t give up easily. I believe I am capable of doing anything that I have the desire to do. Yet, I have learned some situations are not going to be what I want them to be, and I had to let go. On the other end, you can hold on so tightly, you suffocate what it is that you want. When you just let go, things have a way of working out. It’s all about trusting that whatever you want will show up for you the way it’s supposed to.
3. Not everything is that serious.
Sometimes, you want something so badly that if it's not turning out the way you expect it to, you lose it. When did losing your shit ever make something better? If you
really think about it, most things aren't life threatening. The sun will rise, and you will too.
4. Speak the truth from my heart.
How I feel matters. As long as I speak from the heart and not the head. I will be okay.
5. I matter in the equation.
“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.” - Rumi
I am always very aware of other people and how they feel. I am naturally empathetic, so I can see things from another's point of view. That’s actually a gift but when that is a means of talking yourself out of what you want and putting your needs aside, then it's a problem.
6. If you focus on what you're afraid of, you get more of what you're afraid of.
“What we think, we become.” - Buddha
I was in a friend’s wedding, I wasn’t a bridesmaid, but I knew three of them well. One of them was just a natural pessimist. Always afraid that something would go wrong. And in this wedding, one thing after another went wrong for her. There was a problem with her dress. She was the only bridesmaid who had a problem with her dress. The bride’s mother offered to pay for the bridal party to get their hair done, She turned that down to have her own hairdresser do it. He still messed up her hair! She kept focusing on what could go wrong, and that’s what she got. I’ve found when I focus on what’s right with a situation, that’s what shows up.
7. Be patient.
When I rush through something, I find I fuck it up more. So, now I just let it flow. I’m still working on this, but I am getting there.
8. Be present
I like to be where I am, I don’t like to look back, I don’t like to look too far ahead. Being present helps me get the most out of a situation.
9. If you can’t control it, don’t worry about it.
If I didn’t organize something or have something to do with it to start with, I can’t worry about how it will turn out. I can only focus on my part and make the best out
10. Don’t give a fuck about what people think.
“Pay no mind to what they say… It doesn’t matter anyway…” - The Go-Go’s
I grew up with: what will they think? They were society, family, or a random person on the street. In my experience, most people aren’t even paying that much attention to what someone else is doing. They’re too wrapped up in their own thing. Even if you are gossiped about, people will bore of it quickly and gossip about the next thing. As long as I am happy with what I have done, I can’t be wrapped up in what other people think.
This is just a small glimpse of what I have learned so far. I look forward to what life has in store for the next 45 years.
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer