You don’t make it to your 30s without earning a few scars along the way. I’ve probably had more than my fair share. But you also don’t make it here without picking up a few nuggets of wisdom.
While I could fill an entire book with the memorable quotes and lessons I’ve picked up over the year, I find there’s three that I keep coming back to time and time again.
These three might not be the most eloquent or witty, but for me, they are the most profound principles that guide my life, so I thought I’d share them with you.
1. We’re all winging it
It may seem like some folks have got their shxt together more than others. But it’s simply not the case. None of us have the key to life or know exactly what the future holds.
Some of us are simply more skilled than others at putting forward a public face, but I promise, even the folks that seem so well-adjusted have the same fears, quirks and problems you do.
That’s why they say you should never meet your heroes.
Take solace in this on the days you’re filled with insecurity and imposter syndrome rears its ugly head.
2. You have few fxcks to give, choose wisely
The book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fxck, is not actually about not giving a fxck. What it actually highlights is that life is a series of choices, we’re limited in how many choices we can make but no choice is inherently good or bad – they just have different consequences.
So we then must decide what choices deserve the limited fxcks we have to give. In other words, which of the choices are worth the potential pains and pitfalls it may bring.
This applies to everything from choosing the company we keep and relationships we maintain, to the career path we choose, and even the hobbies we entertain.
Every one of these decisions bring some kind of consequences. The people we love are the ones that tend to hurt us the most. The career you choose might mean long days at the office or less income than your counterparts. Your hobbies might be expensive to engage in, or require you to sacrifice your time to get ahead.
The fact is, there’s nothing we choose to do that doesn’t come at the expense of something else. So every time you have make a choice, be sure to consider what you’re getting versus giving up, and make sure it’s worth it before you do.
3. Only you can deal with your messed up psyche
Allow me to get personal for a second. I was born a bastard (in the Game of Thrones sense). My father’s wife hated me and she made that very clear. As a young girl, I was bullied in school, and even my parents shamed me for being fat. That continued through to adulthood. At age 11, I was grazed by a gunshot in the back of my neck. At 17, I watched a man I knew bleed out beside me in a robbery gone horribly wrong. At 21, I was raped by someone I knew well. It was not my first sexual assault encounter, nor was it my last.
All of these things happened to me. I didn’t cause them and I didn’t have any control over them. But they happened, and I’ve had to deal with the consequences ever since.
That used to make me mad as hell, and it certainly caused a few mental health issues I’m still dealing with today. But a big turning point for me in moving forward from these traumatic events was realizing that, no matter who did this or how little control I had over the situation, my life wouldn’t get better until I dealt with the aftermath. Not them, me.
No matter how much I wanted them to suffer, no amount of suffering on their part would heal me. And while all isn’t forgiven, in the grand scheme of things, these events of my past no longer dictate my present or future actions.
The same applies to situations you find yourself in today. Even if they’re not ideal, and you don’t feel like you’re in control, you still get to choose. You can opt for passivity, just letting things happen as they may, or you can take the reins and do the best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt until you get to the next round. Either way, you’ll suffer, but there’s only one way that leads to a better future.