The wisdom of 60
While I’m aiming for Foxy by 40, my mum Sharon (aka The Mothership) has just hit the Big Six Oh.
During her recent Scottish visit I asked her what she wished she’d known when she was my age. She said unto me:
1. Ditch the drama
Looking back I see everyday dramas of my own creation. I'd write too-long to-do lists that were impossible to complete. I’d moan to my friends how this or that was going wrong, or how extremely busy I was in my teaching job. I took some pride in that busyness.
Today I'd ask myself - is this a real problem? What is the priority here? Like if a certain ginger daughter repeatedly fails to hang the washing on the clothesline in the precise manner I'd like, is that actually a big deal? In hindsight maybe it wasn’t. Maybe ;)
2. Done is better than perfect
I was always up ‘til 3AM at report card time. I had about 150 report cards to sign off. First I’d examine each one for the content, then I'd grill them a second time for spelling and grammar.
Would the world have ended if I'd let a typo through? These days I'd trust people to do their job instead of chasing perfection. Life is short!
3. Hit the road, Shaz
I was scared shitless the first time I visited you in Scotland. My friend Richard had to shove me through the departure gate. But being pushed out of my comfort zone was a turning point. I wish I’d travelled years earlier; even small-scale adventures when you were little.
Travel taught me that everyone has an interesting story to tell. And even if I get on the wrong bus like I did in your village the other day, there’s always someone to help. Even if we can’t understand each other’s accents.
4. Boldly go after what you want
I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: the principal of a school. I’d been teaching in the same town for a decade when a role came up at a school a few hours away. I knew this was The Moment to do the thing I really wanted to do. I think I surprised a few by packing up and leaving, but sometimes you need to start over to move forward. So many good things came from that one change.
5. Look after yourself... or else!
There was a long period when I completely lost myself in work. I neglected my hobbies, my health, my sleep. Downtime was non-existent. I was running on empty and constantly stressed. And then my body and brain said enough and I got ill.
I'd love to tell my younger self, don’t be so bloody serious. Make time for fun! If you don’t replenish your energy levels, the wheels will come off.
6. Show your heart
When I was your age I was guarded and afraid of getting hurt. So I wasn’t vulnerable with telling my Important People about how I felt about them. These days I make a big deal of letting them know what they mean to me. You have to say the words and do the good deeds. Show them your heart while you still can.