My younger brother turns 30 tomorrow. It’s so weird to think about…wow. We used to play this game when he was really little – there’s nine years between us – where I would say, “When you’re 16, I’ll be 25!” ” When you’re 21, I’ll be 30!” “When you’re 30, I’ll be 39!” Gosh, did all those ages seem super old back then, in the 90s.
Now it’s here. He’s turning 30! Sigh…my sweet little bro. They grow up so fast. Well, that made me think about all the things I’ve learned since I turned 30 that I would like to tell my younger self. So, here’s what I shared with him:
Here are some lessons I’ve learned over the past nine years, that I thought I’d pass on to you, my dear younger brother, as you turn 30.
- LISTEN – Listening is the most important skill we can develop. They say the difference between a good massage therapist and a great one is their ability to listen. This could go for anyone, though, just insert your profession or role: arborist, friend, boyfriend, wife, sister, etc. The problem with most communication is that we listen to reply, instead of to understand. Practice listening, repeat what you heard, ask questions, be present for the person with whom you’re interacting.
- LAUGH MORE – Don’t take yourself and life so seriously. Find the fun! I realized I was starting to have blow-outs for small issues, like, I dropped a raw egg on the floor and had a big mess to clean up. Who cares? Laugh it off. Laugh when you make a mistake (and then work on fixing it), laugh when things go awry, laugh at the craziness of the world. We are all just doing the best we can with what we have, and nobody is doing it perfectly. Don’t let yourself become undone by plot twists.
- COMMUNICATE – OK, so I don’t have this one down, haha, but I am always learning how important it is to speak up and say how you feel and articulate what you need, and also to ask questions of others about how they’re feeling and what they need. Turn towards the people you love and talk to them, instead of shutting them out and running the opposite direction. While it might seem scary at the time, there is so much good on the other side of talking something out with your loved one.
- SLOW DOWN – Stop with the relentless need to get more done. Give yourself time to breathe and unwind. We need downtime to integrate all that we have to process on a daily basis. Rushing only diminishes our ability to experience the present moment, and reduces the quality of that experience, too. Slow down when you drive, when you enjoy a meal, and when you visit with people.
- FORGIVE – Forgiveness is crucial for good health. I’ve heard it said this way, “Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Letting go – of worry, grudges, hate, anger – actually produces a positive physiological change in our body, creating a cascade effect of stress-busting chemistry and hormones. Most importantly, forgive yourself of anything that keeps coming up from the past. The past is done, and you’ve survived so much to become the successful human being you are today. You are right where you need to be. You are already enough.