Open to exploring

Who you are does not have to be so rigid that you force yourself to be defined by ticking several boxes and sticking to them. You can be one thing today and another thing next week.

So often we go through life trying to find ourselves and figure out who we are so that we can settle into ourselves. Yet in doing so we end up limiting ourselves because maybe who you thought you were or wanted to be at 20 will be very different to who you evolve into in your 30s.

We focus on things like having a career that we work towards from our teen or even pre-teen years. We assume that the plans we made 10+ years ago won’t change. And even when they have changed we struggle to let go because it opens us up to changing and exploring ourselves once more. We aren’t always ready for that because there is societal pressure to figure yourself out and settle down.

You’re told that you need to have your life together by a certain age which sometimes leads to you making choices to do things that you don’t even really want to do. And if you get to 30 or 40 and you’re still exploring you’re considered somewhat fringe, unconventional and even looked down on.

But maybe you don’t value the things that other people value. Perhaps you’re very aware of the life that you could or could have lived but you’ve chosen another path that has lead to a deeper exploration of life and self. Something you’d have never had the option to do if you had chosen to give in to expectations of the way that life should be.

Age and experience

If you find yourself taking on the role of ‘the person that knows best’, you might find yourself getting carried away. Often it is age and experience that deems a person eligible to claim to know best but those things aren’t always determining factors.

A person might be older but perhaps their experience isn’t applicable to the present day. A person may have experience but perhaps the lessons they had to learn or challenges they had to overcome won’t apply to the person they are trying to pass it on to.

I think as much as it’s great to be willing to share knowledge and information, it’s also good to be willing to listen. Your decades of experience don’t give you a pass to dismiss or diminish those that are younger or less experienced. Despite all that you might know there will always be more to learn or understand and perhaps that will come from someone unexpected, someone younger or someone with less experience.

Settling with age

Most of us start out with big dreams of what we want to do with our lives. Then slowly, bit by bit, as the years go on we start to settle.

We settle from setbacks that lower our self-belief until you’ve convinced yourself that they were unrealistic anyway.

Other times you have people tell you that your dreams are too big, that they won’t work and that you need to be realistic.

Sometimes you’re aware of it but other times you have no idea until years have gone by and you’re wondering what happened to those dreams you used to have.

Making up for lost time

If you missed out on anything in your younger years you might hold the belief that it’s too late to do the things you wished you’d done.

But what if you do them now, what if you make a conscious effort to make up for lost time?

Granted with age comes responsibility, so taking out a few months to go backpacking around Asia might not be feasible, if you now have a full time job and a mortgage to pay but maybe you could do it for a week or two instead.

Sometimes it seems as though once we reach a particular age we have to ‘settle down’ and certain things are no longer available to us. But that’s just you restricting yourself. Just because you didn’t get to have as much fun growing up as you’d have liked doesn’t mean it’s too late.