Today is my birthday.
I’ve traveled 39 times around the sun which is pretty cool.
Last year I wrote a blog on my birthday about the things I was pondering on in my 38th year, so I thought I would keep the trend going this year.
Here are the 5 things I’ve learnt and reflecting on in my 39th year.
I mentioned acceptance in my 38 rotations blog, but I’ll use it again because it’s even more relevant now.
I have come to fully accept myself, my body, my capabilities, my environment, and situations.
I try my best and accept the rest.
The majority of my days are now calm and content.
Before I was up, and down and all over the place and just could find a grounded place.
I’m not saying I don’t have bad days, I do, there are times that don’t go how I’d like which leaves me feeling a bit discombobulated, but I’ve come to know that is the natural state of life.
I know I can move through it and be ok on the other side.
Even learning that makes many bad situations feel instantly better.
And because of all of this, my life no longer welcomes depression, which I suffered from loads in my twenties and early thirties.
I rarely experience big emotions anymore like I used to, be it good or bad emotions.
I feel much more leveled out, which I never thought was possible!
I’m still learning on now to channel my inner stoic, it doesn’t come natural to me, but I’m getting better each year.
2. Following a vision
Just recently I realised that life will not go on forever – death will happen – this is the first year I have actually thought about that. I don’t think about death in a scary way, but it does make me realise we have to do what we have to do.
There are things I have wanted to do for years, and getting closer to 40 really made me realise now is the time.
I make my challenges videos because those are the things I’ve wanted to do for ages. It was only ever going to get harder as I got older. They may seem light-hearted and some of them silly, but making them are my way of getting things done and seeing what I can learn from the experience.
3. Learnt to make videos
For so many years I have wanted to make videos – probably about 8 years – but for all that time I put it off, I found excuses and made myself busy with other stuff.
Then in May last year, I started The Artists Way book, a 12-week course about unleashing creativity and shortly after lockdown happened in the UK which provided me with the time and headspace to finally make the leap with making videos.
I didn’t really have a plan and I didn’t know what I was doing. And I was terrified to put my work out there but I just had to go for it.
Then during lockdown 3 I upped my game and made more videos, upgraded my editing software, did an online video course and then 12 weeks ago I quit my job to do this full-time.
I’m still learning how to make videos – they take me absolutely ages! – but I’m better than I was last year. Maybe I’ll be better again next year.
4. Time to myself
In the past, I’ve been manic.
I was everywhere, trying to do everything.
As a result, I didn’t get far, I was frustrated and I made myself quite unwell in my head.
Since finding my flow and my purpose I’ve slowed down and as a result of that have become more introverted. For those who know me, you’d know in previous years I was a major extrovert with unhealthy personaity traits.
There was a time where being in my own company was paralysing!
Sliding down the scale towards introvert was probably also a product of the lockdowns we had – having a smaller circle of friends and doing less activities, but I’m thankful to have found peace in that.
With more time to myself I take better care of myself, whether that be rest, reading, self massage, cooking, going for a walk, or just daydreaming and my brain is healthier because of that.
I used to look for external things to make me happy – processions, people and places – now I have found that contentment in myself.
5. The One Thing
This has been a major breakthrough for me.
It all started when I sent my phone to Australia to get away from the distractions of messages, emails and social media and really plug into me and what I want to do.
During that time, I read this book and it’s one of the best things I have ever done.
Since realising what makes me happy in my work life, this book accelerated my growth.
Like I said before, I was everywhere trying to do everything. No wonder I made very little progress.
Each working day I plug in to my main goal for that day and stay focused with my One Thing that will progress me forward.
In the past I used to think that creativity could only be done on good days or when the moment took me. Now I realise I need to show up each day – whether the creativity is there or not, because more often than not once I start the process it all comes together.
Sometimes it happens with vert little effort, other times it feels as though I am crawling uphill through mud and stinging nettles, but I realise that I have to show up and do that one thing that takes me closer to the goal.
And some days that means no emails, leaving my phone downstairs on silent, blocking all social media sites and just plugging into my one thing.
It was really hard at first, but now it’s addictive. It’s exciting.
I love how progress is made even on the days where I am moving at a snail’s pace.
Most of what I have said here is similar to how I felt on my 38th birthday, but this time, it feels even more solid.
As I edge closer to 40, I’m becoming far happier with myself and my life and am finding the harsh edges that I used to have are softening. That feels nice. I feel relieved.
I’ll probably say this every year….but I do often think “I wish I’d known all this before” but I realise that’s a silly thing to think. I‘m just pleased to have got to this point now.
I plan for these birthday rotation blogs to be a yearly thing, mostly so I can reflect on the year and have a reason to see what I have learnt.
Perhaps I will watch or read them back in the future, who knows.