I read somewhere that after the age of 30 you can pretty much stop working on yourself because mentally and emotionally you kinda freeze and that’s it. If that’s depressing please know that I read that article while curled up in a ball, hating my life and wondering if it gets better. I just wanted to read something that said “It’s going to be okay, there’s hope!”. So here I am, at the age of 35, writing this article for you that I wished I had read and before we continue any further let me reassure you…it does get better.
I didn’t grow up in a good family. My mom was awesome. She really tried to do it all. She was the breadwinner, she was the teacher, the spiritual leader, the homemaker and by now you’re probably thinking she was a single mother, but no…she had a husband. My dad was the exact opposite. He complained about every job he had. He was fat. He was lazy and he liked to sit around complaining and watching Jerry Springer so he could feel better about how he was living without feeling like he had to change. It was disfunction to the max. I was also homeschooled, so I think of sitting in that disfunction with very little time in the outside world. This was how my life started.
When my mother passed away I was 25 and I became estrange…because I didn’t want to follow in her footsteps of enabling my dad to be lazy. My depression got worse. I wasn’t working because my panic attacks came several times a day. I played World of Warcraft a lot as an escape. I watched a lot of TV. I would pray that God would let me die in my sleep and I was genuinely upset in the morning when I’d open my eyes to living yet another day. Which brings me back to my opening line about being curled in a ball reading an article about how I couldn’t change…How this was apparently my life from now until I died. That article made me want to die even more.
So here I am…I made it…I’m happier. A lot happier. I blog. I leave my home and go into a big city. I am living my life and while every day may not be a party, I would like to say that I feel like it’s getting better. How was that article so wrong? Or rather, how come I’m not like most people who settle and live their lives unhappy? I’m going to give you some points you might want to consider that may help.
If you are like how I was you’re probably rolling your eyes going “Of course I want to change you stupid cow. Why do you think I’m reading this article?“. I have to list this because some people don’t hate where they are enough to change it. They’ll stay at unfulfilling jobs, they’ll connect with miserable people, they’ll keep the same unhealthy behaviors because frankly, they just don’t hate it enough. My dad was like that! My therapist says that ‘a lot of growth can come from being frustrated’. If you’re frustrated, or desperate enough you’ll start actively seeking how to make it better. That’s honestly where I had to get.
I can remember sitting there on the couch watching an episode of “Survivor” and thinking….these people are living their lives. They’re out there doing something and I’m sitting here watching them. When I started to realize that I didn’t want to continue watching others live their lives, I started to work on doing what I needed to do to fix that.
Just saying “I just want to be happy” or “I just don’t want to have any more panic attacks”, wasn’t good enough. I have to get really specific and really honest even now about my dreams and goals. Sitting on the couch playing World of Warcraft left me responsible for very little. I could be lazy…just like my dad, but I didn’t want to be like him. So that was something I had to change. I wanted to be an artist and a writer for as long as I could remember, so I started learning about blogging and even started writing short stories as well as articles trying to figure out what kind of writer I wanted to be, and I got into sketching again. I started leaving my house to get groceries instead of having them delivered. I started getting out a little. Not a lot because by nature I am still very much an introvert, but I started working on not being “allergic” to being out in life.
So what do you want to change in your life? Be specific about what is making you unhappy and is there even a small change you can make today that would improve that?
Let’s say your goal was to lose weight…You could go on a really strict diet, you could completely deprive yourself of all the things you enjoy like pasta or sweets and you could spend every spare moment you have at the gym…I did that. I got into fantastic shape and as soon as stress hit my life I dropped it all and gain a tremendous amount of weight back. Why? Because I was burnt out. I was working out because I didn’t want to run into someone or my family and have them go “gurl you got fat!”. I didn’t buy new clothes that I loved. I didn’t celebrate being healthy. It was something I had to maintain or else…It wasn’t fun.
Fun is such an integral part of who we are as humans. I’m currently reading a book called “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown” and he talks about play in animals and how play uses valuable calories, it can be dangerous and it doesn’t really contribute to their procreation or survival. However, it turns out that play in animals helps them when they do go to get food. Play can help them have better chances when it comes to fighting for a mate. Play stimulates the brain in ways work does not.
If you can find a way to make what you’re trying to change fun or rewarding in some way you’ll stick to it better. You’ll enjoy working towards it. This post contains an affiliate link. If you click on it and buy something I’ll earn a small commission. Thank you!
How is sitting there for 15 minutes every day with your eyes closed going to do anything? Firstly, there are many different kinds of meditation techniques. I tend to favor breathwork with affirmations. I breathe in and think “I receive Love” and exhale “I release negativity“, but I’ve done others. One thing you might want to try especially in the morning is to visualize how your day would go if you already had your goals accomplished. If you want to lose weight, visualize your healthy self getting up and going to the gym or out for a jog and loving it. If it’s to have a better job or relationships, then try to visualize how your day would look if you had the ideal relationship or job. Thinking about those things in a meditative state grounds you in positivity, and gives you ideas on how to make it happen that you might not normally have. This won’t happen overnight. I’d say if you want to try this, commit to 15 minutes every day for a month. If it didn’t do anything for you, try a different style, change your mantra, or start asking yourself why that might be. Perhaps you think you’re not deserving enough? If you get to that point it might be helpful to seek the help of a therapist (like I did) who can help you navigate through those thoughts.
It can be difficult for people to celebrate their successes. I think it’s kind of how we’re raised. It’s like if you celebrate your success you’re being egotistical, or you’re jinxing any further progress. There are some people I personally know who have accomplished a tremendous amount of success in their lives and yet it’s never enough. I can also be like that. What’s a five-pound weight loss when I have 55 more pounds to go? What I’ve learned though, is that if I don’t stop to be proud of that accomplishment, I don’t see it as important. I don’t value it, and the next time there’s a temptation to over-eat, or I’m stressed I take it, and lose the progress I made because it wasn’t that great start with.
So take a moment and be proud of yourself. LOOK AT WHAT YOU’VE ACCOMPLISHED! Go out and get you something small and special. Maybe a bathbomb, or a new fragrance, or outfit!
One of my favorite things to do when I shower is to play a motivational youtube. There are sooooo many. I also like to listen to them when I get out of bed and I’m getting ready for the day. I love that extra encouragement. I love hearing things like “You can do this” and “You matter, keep fighting!”. I love it so much that I actually made a blog post about some of my favorites last year which you can see HERE.
There’s a quote that I love, that always gives me hope. It says “You GROW THROUGH, what You GO THROUGH“. No matter what challenges come up in your life, you can “grow” through it. Determination is one of the most powerful things you can cultivate in my opinion. If you are determined to succeed you will. Determination is that thing that will help you get back on your feet if you fail at a goal. Determination to go after what you want will be there to help you get out of bed when you’d rather not. Determination is what made me read that article and think “NO! I’m not going to spend the rest of my life like this! Screw this article! I’m going to be the one who this doesn’t apply to!“. If you believe articles telling you that you can’t change after 30 you won’t. You could believe what people have said about you. You could believe the lies you where raised with. You could believe all the negativity in the world. If you believe you’ll always be fat, depressed, unsuccessful, and alone YOU WILL BE!!!! However, you could use that same level of determination to believe something different too. You could believe that you deserve more and then be determined enough to go after it.
So those are my seven tips that you could start implementing today NO MATTER WHAT AGE YOU ARE. If you want it bad enough You can get it…and if you don’t believe me, HERE ARE 25 PEOPLE WHO BECAME SUCCESSFUL LATER IN LIFE!!!! If you want to tell me how you feel about this post let’s talk in the comments below. If you want to be notified for future posts, please SIGN UP HERE! And if you’re having a bad day, week, month or year, please know that it’s temporary. It does get better and this can become the turning point in the chapter of your life. Please don’t give up. If you feel like you might be a danger to yourself, or if you’d like to just talk to someone please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline okay? You’re beautiful, you matter, and it does get better. May you have a wonderful day and life. -Heather Astaneh