Personal: 28 Years Later (lessons learned)

It was my birthday yesterday. I turned 28. And I had two thoughts.

  1. Holy f*** I’m already 28
  2. Holy f*** am I only just 28?!

The last decade has been tumultuous, to say the least. The last 12-18 months have escalated it to a whole new level. I think I always feel a lot older than I am because most of my friends are older than me. 

I don’t know why this feels like a big deal. Surely I should be focusing on the big 3 0 creeping up on me. 

I think it feels like a big deal because the twists and turns my life have taken in the last two years have shown me how much can change, how much you can achieve and where life can take you quite literally overnight. Not always leading to happiness and success, but it’s an experience nonetheless.

So I guess it makes me feel a bit better about the fact that I still have two more years left in this decade before I turn 30. Just thinking about how much could happen in that time excites me and terrifies me simultaneously. 

I am not the same person I was two years ago. But I’m also not the person I thought I would be two years ago. Does that make sense?

Five-year plans are out the window. Jesus, after 2020, one-year plans are out the window. Nothing is booked. Nothing is fixed. Nothing is permanent. Everything can change. 

I have learned three big life lessons over my 28 years on this earth that I want to share with you now:

1. We’re all going to die

It might seem morbid, but it’s true. In the last few years, I have experienced the death and loss of loved ones that I had been lucky enough to avoid until now. I am still processing the grief from these events. A family member has even come face-to-face with death over the past few weeks.

When I eventually realised that the people I looked up to and loved as a child were not immortal. When I started seeing people my own age and younger lose their lives, or have their lives changed beyond recognition. When I realised that we are all in fact due to face the same end. That was when I consciously decided to change my life, to get myself out of the “same old, same old” path that I had previously been heading down.

I don’t mean that I live every day like it’s my last (calm down, Ronan Keating). This isn’t a #YOLO thing. Although there’s truth in that. This is an “I don’t like where my life is going and I don’t want to end up bitter and cynical like my parents so I need to get out and start carving a path that truly does make me happy” kind of thing. It’s not constant. And some days I really do just go to work, come home and watch Netflix. But consistently, over time, I keep chipping away at what makes me smile, what makes me feel good, and what makes me the happiest.

2. You CAN learn how to do anything, but you don’t HAVE to learn how to do everything

Four years ago, I was terrified of public speaking. The thought of standing in front of a room of people made me feel sick to my stomach. I was also not very fit. Two years ago, I took the course and exam to become a qualified Spinning instructor and started teaching. Two years ago, I couldn’t speak a second language, nor did I EVER see myself needing a second language. Today, I am preparing to take my B1 level German exams and living and working in Germany. One year ago, I didn’t see myself as a proper yoga addict. These days, my whole day feels a bit on the wonk if I don’t get at least 10 minutes in per day.

In my spare time, I teach myself SEO, WordPress and marketing skills. I’d love to learn how to code properly, but after having made several cracks at it I just don’t think it’s for me. It doesn’t fill me with intrigue and joy. Why waste time doing that?

If you’re really interested in something and you want to learn how to do it, then you’ll do it, no matter how many mistakes you make. When I was 19, I had a pretty nasty car crash. Miraculously nobody was hurt, but when you and your tiny Nissan Micra go flying across both sides of a dual carriageway at rush hour, it’s still pretty traumatising. That same afternoon, my mum insured me on her car and I drove myself back to work. If I didn’t do that, I’m not sure I would have ever got back behind the wheel.

3. Your parents are not always right

They don’t have all the answers. Sometimes their advice is pure shit. They are not perfect human beings. You don’t have to be like them. Their life doesn’t have to be your life. You don’t even have to like them all the time.

Stop running to your parents for help. At least stop thinking that they are the only people who can help you. There are so many people out there who can give you a different perspective. Gather as much advice from anyone you can, even strangers if you’re comfortable with that.

A little personal note this week after thoughts I’ve been having. I’ve got one more week at work and then I’ve got almost a month off work – I will be planning, researching and writing as many posts as I can ready for Christmas and the New Year. I’ve got a ton of ideas I just need to carve out the time to write them!

bis zum nächsten Mal / until next time,

Steffi x

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