As I’m about to turn 40 I’m finding I’m spending more time reflecting on my life so far. I’m reflecting on the journey I’ve taken, the career path I’ve chosen, the partner I chose in life and the way my life has panned out so far. In doing this, I’ve realised so much about myself.

I’ve done so many amazing things, I married my best friend {but, he still gets on my nerves at times & vice versa} and I’m pleased with the choices I’ve made. I’m happy work wise, study wise and family wise but I do have some regrets. I often wonder how different my life would be if I knew then, what I know now. I wonder what I’d change?! So after much thought, here are my reflections and advice for my younger self.

1. Be kind to yourself ~ I haven’t always been kind to myself. I’ve often pushed myself beyond my limits and often burnt myself out trying to meet those invisibly high standards I’ve set myself.

When I was younger I had a desire to fit in and went along with the crowd, now and again getting into trouble with my parents and disappointing them when I knew I shouldn’t have done so in the first place. But hey, it’s made me who I am today and we’ve all been young once, right?!

2. Don’t try and fit in ~ There’s a bit of a theme here. I’ve always hated gossip, bitchniess and drama and I’ve always tried to stay out of it even if others have felt that I don’t have an opinion. I’ve doubted myself in the past and deep down knew what the right thing was to do but, wasn’t always brave enough to admit it. I am now and I pride myself on my values and integrity.

3. Don’t worry about what others think of you ~ Yep, another one, in the past I have worried about what others think, in fact I think many of us have. This has led me to play down my true self in certain settings but, now I quietly go about my life and business {well, apart from sharing it on my blog} and I’m confident in the choices I make.

4. Be more selective with where you get affection from ~ This one is a biggy for me. I haven’t always made good choices when it’s come to boyfriend’s and when I was much younger I stayed in relationships for the wrong reasons or sought affection in the wrong places. I learned the hard way and as I grew up I realised the importance of self-love, kindness and compassion. Then when I met Richard I knew I’d found the one and very quickly we moved in together and got engaged and married a few years later.

5. Marriage isn’t easy ~ This one is an interesting one for me. As a youngster I imagined that marriage would be fairy tales and roses but, in reality it’s very different. Richard and I have to always work at our marriage, we love each so much but, at times it’s been hard. We’ve made mistakes, we haven’t put one another first sometimes and we’ve struggled to just muster up an affectionate hug when times have been hard. But, we’ve stuck at it! We’ve ploughed through the hard times and we’ve lived to tell the tale and I’m eternally grateful for that!

6.Trust your gut ~ When I was younger I didn’t often trust my gut and I’d override it even if things didn’t feel right. I mean how many of us have ever stayed in a job or relationship longer than we should have?! Yep, nearly all of us. We sometimes ignore that instinct but, as I’ve got older I listen to it intently and rely upon it to navigate me through life.

7. Don’t always live life by the seat of your pants ~ My favourite saying is, ‘Let’s bite the bullet and just do it.’ Richard often says that bullet is going to go off one day and he’s right! Life is about balance so plan well and have adventures but, take a balanced view. I’ve learned that the hard way!

8. Cherish those who are there for you no matter what ~ When you reach my age you realise you have a handful of genuine friends who love you for you and who will be there no matter what! The rest are either acquaintances or friends from a distance. I’m lucky to have friends that I’ve been friends with for nearly 30 years now, I’ve got friends that I’ve known for a long time through work and I’ve got best friends that I love dearly!

9. Do what sets your soul alight ~ I didn’t always believe that, in fact I didn’t think it was even possible. I was brought up in a loving environment and brought up to believe that success = happiness so I busted a gut trying to achieve this. I got there and realised it wasn’t all that! So I changed my perspective and searched, and found something {several things} I love. They include Mindfulness, Coaching and Employee Engagement, it might not float everyone’s boat but, it floats mine.

10. Don’t buy in to gossip and bitchniess and distance yourself from negativity ~ This one is HUGE! I find that so many people take pride in gossiping about others and I’m not interested in the slightest so I ignore those people and surround myself with positive people.

11. Manage your money ~ Still working on this one. I’ve always spent what I earn. I know I shouldn’t but, I love travel, home interiors and weekends away and it all costs! So this is still work in progress but, I’m okay with that!

12. Travel often ~ There’s so many amazing places this world has to offer so if I was telling my younger self anything it would be to travel. I had the chance of a road trip years ago and I didn’t go and it’s been my biggest regret so now I plan on doing this through family holidays.

13. Family is the most important thing ~ We sometimes forget this growing up but, nowadays it’s the most important thing to me. Some friends come and go but family remains. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful family close by, there’s lots of different generations and I love it when we all get together. I’m also lucky that Richard’s parents live so close and we see them often too and they play a big part in our life too! But, our little quad is the most precious thing to me and I love hanging out with them.

My last reflection is that life is short and the years fly by, so my last piece of advice to my younger self would be, live fully, live consciously and do the things that make you happy ~ always!

Love,

Kelly x