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Today I reached the ripe old age of FIFTY and I'm stunned. As a teenager I thought grandmothers were fifty, old people were fifty, life was over at fifty. Now I'm here and I'm not a grandmother, I don't feel old, and life has just begun.
I don't feel much different than I did at thirty or forty. I can't do fifty lunges or squats without my knee pain. It's harder to lose weight. We always have ibuprofen and that pink stuff in the house. I'm convinced that my generation had the best music – no, really, we did. And I finally got that “I don't give a fuck” mentality that is saving my mental health these days.
And I still hate unsolicited advice because most people sharing advice have no clue what they're talking about these days. Plus I never receive just one piece of advice, I get advice from 50 people on several platforms – it's overwhelming when all I wanted to do was commiserate about my hay fever.
So, although I hate unsolicited advice, in this blog post, I'm going to dump a lot of it in your lap along with some hilarious memes that made me laugh obnoxiously..
1 – Just Keep Scrolling
When I finally took this advice, life on social media became a lot easier. A friend of mine says that not everyone needs your two cents, it's okay not to weigh in on every discussion that pops into our newsfeed. There are some people who welcome a great discussion and others who only want to speak with like-minded people. And that's okay – I look for the former and avoid the latter.
2 – Don't Seek the Spotlight if You Can't Handle Criticism
I'm so thankful for the success I've had with my blog. And, I'll be honest, it's fun to have people recognize me or want to take a picture with me. But I've stopped seeking the spotlight because the more people who can see us, the more they see our flaws (or perceived flaws) and people can be mean. It took me a long time to toughen up and get over myself. Now, I can accept some criticism and I ignore other criticism. But I no longer let it ruin my day.
3 – Life is Short, Don't Waste a Minute
When I was a kid, I used to fear death. Now I fear being on my death bed and realizing that I spent most of my life being an asshole. I still remember the day Blue died. I almost called in sick to work, but I had to go to work. I looked at Blue one last time not realizing that I would never see him alive again. Looking back, I was embroiled in online drama, family drama, and work drama and none of it mattered when my dog died. Life is short and it can turn on a dime – don't waste a minute on people who don't matter.
4 – Own Your Insecurities
We all have insecurities; I have a bucket load. But these are my hang ups, no one else's. And I don't expect others to adapt to my triggers. I don't like sad rescue stories; that doesn't mean people should stop sharing them. I hate when people tell me that I'm hurting my dogs or dogs in general; a stranger's opinion about me is about them, not me. Whenever I feel triggered, yeah, I get mad and frustrated, but I also am given an opportunity to look into why I was triggered and adjust and move on.
5 – No One Knows Everything / Everyone Makes Mistakes
If you make a mistake, apologize (even if it's to yourself), learn, and move on. For some reason, people get defensive when they make a mistake and I'm right there with them. For me, it went all the way back to something in my childhood (as most things do) and understanding WHY I got defensive helped me not get defensive. Now, when someone points out a mistake, I'm excited because I can make a correction. And when I don't know the answer to a question, I'm excited because there is something new to learn.
6 – Seek Happiness Internally, Not Externally
Decades ago, I read a book that changed my life and put me on a path that was so much better than where I was. The book is You Can Be Happy No Matter What and the one thing I remember from the book is the message that we make ourselves happy; others can't do this because they're busy working on their own happiness. When faced with a choice, no matter what, choose happiness. It'll make a difference.
7 – Dogs Make Everything Better
I look forward to going home because I know that my dogs will be so excited when they see me. Dogs help me live in and appreciate each moment. Dogs shift my mood for the better by shifting me out of a dark mood. And dogs give me a reason to think of (and love) something/someone other than myself. So, when all else fails and I feel life taking a dark turn, I look to my dogs to remind me of what's important.
8 – Count Your Blessings / Celebrate Your Wins Repeatedly
I grew up in the church and there are two things that stayed with me – Lot's wife turning to a pillar of salt because she turned and looked at the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah and the phrase “as ye sow, so shall ye reap.” So, basically, my religious upbringing taught me that when God says not to do something, don't do it, and if you plant positive seeds, you'll have a joyful harvest – if you're all about the negative and drama, your fill will reflect this too.
So, count your blessings and celebrate the hell out of every win. Keep that positive energy coming.
9 – Everyday Represents a New Start
I try to be a good person every day, but sometimes I fail. I've learned not to beat myself up when I let myself down. We all have bad days, we all react poorly in certain situations, and sometimes I'm just hungry and tired and everyone is getting on my damn nerves. But what gets me through is the fact that I can hit the reset button and start fresh the next day.
10 – Are You Willing to Die on that Hill?
My last piece of advice is something that helps me every day – before I get into an online spat with someone, before I allow a stranger to wind me up, I ask myself “are you willing to die on that hill?” I have been involved in so many stupid spats with people I wouldn't glance at in real life. I cringe when I think of how much time I've wasted on pointless drama. So, now I stop and ask myself how much energy I want to put into difficult people and the answer is none; unless a discussion with a troll is bringing me joy, which does happen on occasion.
We're All a Work in Progress
Someone a lot smarter and evolved than I am encourages others to “be the person your dog thinks you are,” and I'm working on this every single day. My dogs embody so many traits that I want to perfect:
- living in the moment
- soaking up the joy from every moment
- enjoying meals guilt-free
- giving love freely and energetically
- accepting people for who they are
- forgiving quickly and loving unconditionally
I also love that my dogs take a particular amount of pride in smelling like crap and they have zero shame when they occasionally hot box me with their farts. Yesterday, I released a silent fart with Johan in the car and I embodied my dogs' energy for about 2 seconds and then I rolled down the window.
I'm a work in process. Maybe when I'm celebrating Year 51, I'll fart loudly and proudly. I wonder if I should warn Johan.