When I was younger I used to think that, by now, I’d be winning at life. Surely by the time you’re 60 you’ve got the world sussed out, right?
Not so! It’s just as baffling, just as complicated and just as messy as it’s always been and – you know what? That’s okay.
Here are some other harsh truths I’ve accepted that help me live a happier life. What do you have to add?
No one else will create your perfect life
It wasn’t until my last few years of working that this realisation dawned upon me. I was tired and fed up, not enjoying the hours, the people, the pressure and day-to-day grind. I wanted life to be easy and fun, and blamed my boss, my hubby, the bus driver and anyone else I could for the fact it wasn’t. The moment I decided to take responsibility for my own happiness was the moment I realised this harsh truth: it’s up to ME to create my own happiness.
You can’t always rely on other people
This harsh truth was learnt the hard way, watching my sister struggle after the loss of her husband. She was a perfectly capable woman in many areas of life, but she had relied on him to do many things and those skills died with him. The lesson was to be proactive in my independence – I forced myself to understand money and new technology. I’m still hopelessly challenged in front of a map but at least I can now program the GPS!
Complaining is a waste of energy
Have you ever noticed how many times you complain unnecessarily? It was a question that came up during a mindfulness meditation class I attended, and it haunted me. If complaining won’t fix it, I just don’t bother.
Life will never be perfect
Oh what a relief to feel accept this harsh truth! The second part of this truth is that perfect is boring. We humans are designed to strive and have goals and dreams, a purpose. If life was perfect we’d be bored silly.
You will continue to make mistakes
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? And, to throw another cliche into the mix, the best way to learn is by making mistakes, right? I don’t ever want to stop learning, so that means I will never stop making mistakes. And that’s okay.
The past is already written…
…so don’t dwell on it. Enough said.
People will remember you for who you are, not what you had
This harsh truth was taught to me by the writer, Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
You have more time than you think
As Life Hack reminds us, there are 168 hours every week. Where could that time possibly go? The average person spends 2.8 hours per day watching television. That time can be better used for many, many things. The harsh truth I learned was this: when you say you ‘don’t have the time’, what you mean is, ‘it isn’t a priority’
Nothing about tomorrow is guaranteed – not even tomorrow
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, says, ““Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”