45 Things I Know at 45 (That I Didn’t Know at 25)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the lessons that life has taught me so far. On the eve of my 45th birthday, I’m certainly not the same person I was twenty years ago.

I struggled as a teen and through my 20’s to find my voice and connect to who I was as an individual. At the time, I didn’t have mentors or role models to give me the type of direction I craved.

It’s taken a long time and lots of personal work, but I finally feel as though I’ve racked up enough years and experience to share a little bit of wisdom.

So here’s my gift to you: 45 things I wish I’d known a lot sooner. And as your birthday gift to me, all I ask is that you consider putting some of them to good use.

1. It’s not all about you.
2. Life is a boomerang. What you put out there eventually comes back to you.
3. You’re only as bad-ass as you allow yourself to be. Stop waiting for permission.
4. Living someone else’s dream will surely kill your chance of living yours. Don’t do it.
5. Dimming your light to make others feel more comfortable doesn’t serve you. Or them.
6. Don’t worry so much about what other people think about you. They’re usually thinking about themselves, anyway.
7. Feelings are temporary and always changing. Wait 24 hours before you make the call or hit “send.”
8. Fast friendships are usually fleeting. Lifelong friendships take years to build.
9. People and relationships are in our lives for a reason. Either a lesson or a blessing.
10. Another person will never complete you. Only you can do that.
11. Boyfriends and husbands are lovely. Close girlfriends are gold.
12. Chocolate makes everything better.
13. Minimize or eliminate time with people who drain you. Instead, spend time with those who love, support and care for you.
14. You must use your voice, speak up and speak out. No one will do it for you.
15. You’ll never change a narcissist or a hater, so direct your energy elsewhere.
16. People do things for their reasons, not yours. Don’t take it personally. (Thanks, Dad.)
17. Stop comparing yourself to others. It’s more than ok to be an original. In fact, it’s preferable.
18. No amount of designer handbags or shoes is going to make you happy in the long run.
19. The same goes for chocolate chip cookies.
20. Get over yourself. The next time you find yourself having a pity party, ask, “how can I be of service to someone in need?”
21. Use the good china.
22. Never trust anyone who is unkind to animals. Or rude to the waiter.
23. Good skin is one part genetics and two parts preventative care, so wear sunscreen. Daily.
24. If diets worked, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic. Focus on your health and you’ll never have to worry about your weight.
25. Get some physical exercise every day. See #24.
26. Your mind and body are the same: what you put in is what comes out.
27. Nobody really loves you for the size of your waistline.
28. Worrying about something that might happen is wasted energy.
29. Black and white is an illusion. Life is gray.
30. Forgiveness is hard work, but it’s the only path to peace.
31. Go within. Your spiritual muscles need exercise as much as your physical ones do.
32. You can’t completely eliminate fear, but you can learn to manage it.
33. 95% of the time, fear is a sign post for growth.
34. The joy of mastery resides on the other side of fear.
35. It hurts more NOT to do it.
36. Money likes to be paid attention to. If you’re not paying attention, it will wreak havoc in your life.
37. A family isn’t just something you’re born into, it’s something you create.
38. Don’t just take their word for it. Question authority, do your research and know your rights.
39. Don’t believe everything you think.
40. Small minds focus on problems. Big thinkers focus on solutions.
41. Doing epic shit is hard work.
42. It’s easy to be mediocre. Extraordinary takes balls.
43. 98% of people are on the path of least resistance. Forging your own path is revolutionary.
44. You don’t know until you know.
45. Love is the answer.

Over time, these lessons have become the grounding principles that I try to live by on a daily basis.

I don’t always get it right, but with intention and self-compassion, I get up every day and practice.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned so far that are most meaningful to you? Please share them in the comments below.


Image credit: satchelandsage on Etsy

About the Author

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Liz Dennery Sanders is a brand and creative strategist, personal development coach and the founder of SheBrand.com, a global online business dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs build their confidence, their brands and their bank accounts. As the past Chair of the Los Angeles Board of Directors for Step Up Women’s Network and a founding member of the organization’s Luminary Circle, Liz pens the monthly column, “Step Up To Success,” for Step Up’s national newsletter. Connect with Liz at www.shebrand.com and on Twitter: @SheBrandLiz.

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