They say life begins at forty, the age we aspire to start living the good life. I am sure many people create bucket lists of things to accomplish before 40 – the milestone age. Before my fortieth birthday I researched the recommended things I should do before I turn forty and here are some of the things I discovered on the list:
- Swim with sharks
- Get married
- Dance naked in the rain
- Learn to drive
- Read the whole bible
- Chat up a stranger in a bar
- See your favorite band live
- Put the bin out in one’s undies
- Travel around the world
There are a few things on the ‘before you turn 40’ bucket list you probably have done, which became some of your best life experiences.
Bucket lists are well and good, and I love the fun ones the most. But what happens if life does not begin at forty? When plans fall apart and you are left in limbo trying to restart your life again, what do you do? Well, you create a new story.
When redundancy struck at 39, here are some of the life lessons I learnt when I emerged from my pity party:
1. Life Is Happening Now
One of the greatest lessons I learnt during that time of reflection was this famous quote credited to Allen Saunders “life happens when you are busy making other plans.” I learnt the hard way that you cannot wait for your life to be perfect before you start living your dreams. Life is happening now, and you should embrace all that life has to offer you in the present – not wait for the future before you start to ‘live’.
2. Explore Your Talent
Whether you are 20, 30 or 55, life is happening right now, so putting off what you can with your talent until you reach your milestone age may not serve you well. I learnt many lessons during that time of unemployment and the greatest one was to never limit my talent to a job description or what people say you can or can’t do. There are limitless opportunities waiting for you and your talent, if you can take the bold step to venture out of your comfort zone.
“Don’t put your life on hold so that you can dwell on the unfairness of past hurts.” – Nick Vujicic
3. You Have A Choice
One of the most common excuses we hear when people fall into trouble is “I did not have a choice.” There is always a choice, and there is always another way. The question is not whether we have a choice but if we are willing to explore the options presented to us at the time. If we have not trained our minds to distinguish between positive and negative information, most likely the wrong choice will be embraced as emotions get the better of us.
There are so many factors that contribute to the choices we make, finances being one of the key contributors. When I decided that money was a tool and not my end goal, my eyes were opened to many more opportunities in life.
4. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
It is so easy to confine our abilities to our comfort zone especially if we have been in the same employment or business for many years. I understand that starting a business may not be for everyone, but packaging the components of our passion is the prerequisite for living a fulfilled life. How would you feel if you were able to merge what you love with your work and make it your lifestyle? Just think of how great and fulfilling that would be. When you decide to explore that talent within you, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish with what you have.
5. Do What You Are Passionate About
This is a quote I created for myself, “your genius zone is the place of your passion, purpose and profit.” Are you doing what you are passionate about or have you resigned yourself to a regular way of life? After my epiphany at 39, I realised that if I wanted to live a fulfilled life I have to package my passion and find the best way to get paid for it. This thought could make the difference in your life to save you from a life of drudgery and give birth to the solutions that the world needs.
6. Opportunities Are Waiting
Stephen C Hogan advised “most people miss great opportunities because of the misperception of time. Don’t wait! The time will never be just right.” We think we have all the time in the world to do the things we would love to do, so we put them off until the perfect time. Opportunities are waiting right now, and if you package your passion, you will be able to embrace them sooner rather than later.
You may think you do not have the time or resources to embrace these new opportunities – not true. The problem is a lack of priorities – not focusing on the things we want the most in life and making them part of our daily goals and tasks.
“Decide what you want, and then act as if it were impossible to fail.” – Brian Tracy
Now that I have crossed the great threshold of forty, my perception on life begins at forty has changed. I realize there is no perfect age to accomplish any goal. If I had the chance to advise my younger self, I would tell her to discover and explore the potency of her passion on a daily basis.
I will encourage her to maximise every opportunity that comes her way. I will also teach her how to be aware of the dominant components of her passion, so she matches them to the right opportunities when they appear. Life is right now, right here – make the most of it.