If you’re getting older, you may be shaking your head as you reflect on the actions you made throughout the years. The wise person you are today can’t fathom what you were possibly thinking during the less than naive days of your youth. Looking to the past with an open heart and objective mind can allow you to self-check some of these hiccups as a result of being more self-aware. Don’t be hard on yourself for the decisions you made that caused pain, setbacks, and catastrophes. In the end, you learned a lot and grew, which is what the human experience is about. Maybe you didn’t know any better at the time, or maybe you were inexperienced at managing a certain situation.
Personally, I’ve made a great deal of mistakes in the past, but I can say that at 40, I have done enough reflection and correction to live a life not watered down by past mistakes. Here’s how you can too!
1. Value Your Friends
Do you remember putting your boyfriend or girlfriend before everything else? You had close friends and a good social circle and as soon as you got together with someone, you ghosted your best and closest friends. You may have lost them along the way because of this. It’s a common mistake when we’re young, but if this became a habit, it’s time to place value on your friendships. You will begin to see as you grow older that true friends are rare, even rarer than finding a significant other. To thrive now, dedicate yourself to people you care about in the same way you might in a marriage or committed partnership. Plan a night each week for hanging out. Here’s another secret: your relationship will be better off when you have a life outside of your partner.
2. Go Back To School
You couldn’t foresee the future when you flunked out of college or got a degree you never used. Maybe you’re in a career you don’t like as a direct result of choices in your youth. It’s never too late to go back to school and thrive now in your desired profession, even if you’re middle aged. Going back to school as an older adult has its perks. For example, you will probably do much better because you’re more responsible now and know what you truly want. Through the years, you’ve likely gained a better idea of what you’re meant to do and built up your ability to persevere through challenges. The good news is, you don’t have to sit in a classroom to gain a degree anymore. You can option to do courses online. Whatever you do, don’t put off going back. The opportunity’s there so grab it.
3. Deal With That Tattoo On Your Shoulder
If you are one of many that got a tattoo in your youth, it may not suit the person you are today. That butterfly on your chest might not seem as whimsical anymore. Whatever significance it held is lost, you’ve changed, and you’re tired of looking at this permanent reminder of bad judgement. You may decide to have a new tattoo design that has more significance to you and who you are in the present day cover your old one. If you’re really not interested in having a tattoo anymore, you can have it removed. By doing something new or getting rid of your old tattoo altogether, you are making intentional changes to let the “old you” go. This small change could be just the beginning of many great things to come in your life.
4. Change Your Health Regime
If you were lazy in your youth but had a great figure anyway, you may be finding that the same rules don’t apply anymore. Your metabolism starts to slow down and the body changes how it breaks down the food you eat. You may have made the mistake of taking your health for granted back in your 20’s. You can thrive now by dedicating yourself to healthier foods and exercising daily. If you weren’t active for many years, you’ll probably want to start slow. Yoga is a good start and helps get rid of stress while promoting self-reflection.
5. Forgive Yourself And Others
During your lifetime up until now, you’ve probably experienced a falling out with someone, a bad breakup or a fight. You’ve probably been hurt and were likely responsible for someone else’s pain as well. What you may not realize is some of the unexplainable triggers you experience that cause issues are coming from your past. Forgiving yourself for past mistakes where you hurt yourself or others will allow you to let go. If someone broke your heart or really pissed you off in your youth, it’s time for you to forgive them too. As the popular saying goes, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” You are only hurting yourself and you may not even realize it.
6. Seek Out Opportunities You Didn’t Previously Accept
During your youth, you may have missed out on an opportunity that still haunts you to this day. If it’s a tangible opportunity that still exists, go after it now. If you are basing the opportunity on the feeling it would have given you had you taken it, explore what can give you a similar feeling. For example, if someone offered you an opportunity to model, what was it that you wished you could have experienced? Maybe it was the traveling aspect, wearing beautiful clothes, or being the center of attention. Those aspects of the opportunity itself are still available so work towards that experience.
7. Get Out Of Debt
Oh, the money we wasted on unnecessary things in our youth. This may have racked up some debt that you’ve been carrying around with you for years. It’s time to say goodbye to the financial chains that bind you. My plan to eradicate $15,000 of debt I incurred while flunking out of college, buying a sports car, and spending too much on clothes included a few hard years. I worked in ski resort that paid for accommodation and food. I didn’t have a car, a credit card, or much of a life really. I read a lot of books and worked as much as I could. It took about two years, but at the end of it, I was debt-free and ended up being a travel fanatic. Getting out of debt and saving money makes you conscious about living more simply. I learned a lot and gained a lot of life experience from it.
As you reflect on the things you did wrong in the past that are still haunting you today, you now know how to rectify them. Value the people in your life, forgive those that wronged you in the past, and forgive yourself too. Get rid of the things that don’t serve you today and allow those pitfalls from your youth be the lessons they were meant to be.