Discovered on the Path from 43 to 44

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I will be 44.  And this website is celebrating it’s 1st birthday.  There is something super celebratory in using my own birth-date as the beginning point.  It’s like having my very own fiscal year.

Last year, I shared five lessons I learned on my journey from 42 to 43.  And because life is, well, life, in the last year, I’ve had to re-learn a lesson or two.

I returned from a four-week digital sabbatical / digital diet on May 10th.  As I shared with you last week, a whole heck of a lot of dirt surfaced during this time.

You see, no matter how satisfied I was with parts of my life, I was burned out and exhausted.   I wasn’t feeling nourished in my spiritual, emotional or creative life.  I had put on about 12 pounds since September and had found myself snappish with loved ones.

That’s not the core of who I am.  And though I was aware that I was adrift from my core, I got out the whip I thought was long since gone and flagellated myself to keep pushing forward.

I can honestly report that life feels dramatically different since my sabbatical ended.  I feel centered, in touch with my core, and more nourished.  I’ve lost 6 or 7 pounds since May 8th .  My creative muse has returned to me en force.   I thought today was an appropriate time to share some of what I learned this last year.

Twenty Pearls Discovered on the Path from 43 to 44

  1. Do not expect yourself to feel rested if you short yourself on sleep.  Sleep is truly the body and soul’s time to restore.
  2. If you aren’t eating regularly, your body cannot function at its best.  You need breakfast to fuel your mornings, not just coffee.  And a lunch break means break.  You need to re-fuel with good foods and step away from your desk.  Skipping either or both of these meals will cause you to feel sluggish (and possibly gain weight)
  3. And speaking of fueling your body, hydration is critical for many of your body functions.   Drink. More. Water.
  4. No matter how intuitive those who love you may be, they cannot read your mind.  If your needs are not being met, you have to verbalize them.
  5. Ask for help.  It’s ok to admit you can’t do everything.  Even if you can do everything on your own, you don’t have to.
  6. There is a difference between “travel” and “vacation”.  While “travel” may fulfill your thirst for adventures and exploration, don’t expect it to fill your need for rest.
  7. If you want to explore the depth of your love with someone, travel with them.  I’m not talking about an idyllic weekend at a cozy bed and breakfast.  I’m talking planes, trains, and automobiles. If you are still head-over-heels in love (with each other) at the close of a trip, then you are building an everlasting bond.
  8. If you are finding yourself cranky, it’s your heart’s way of telling you that your body needs movement.  Take a walk.  Do some jumping jacks.  Climb stairs.  Exercise – even a quick walk to the corner – will also help you clear your mind.
  9. If in doubt, throw it out. No matter how much physical clutter you may have purged from your life, if you are feeling bogged down, it’s time to look to your environment for what can go.
  10. Establishing solid morning and bedtime routines are critical.  These routines (habits) are not meant to stifle you.  They set you up for more productive days.  And allow your mind to focus on what’s most important.
  11. Denying yourself necessary time for self-care is detrimental not only to your body, but also to your mind and soul.   You must allow time for regular meals, meditation, exercise, flossing, long showers, etc.
  12. Be gently disciplined with you.  If you allow your inner 2 year old to get her way every day, you won’t be happy.  And if you constantly chide her, your inner child will refuse to come out and play.  This may seem like a delicate balance, but it’s critical to joy.
  13. Voice-to-voice and/or face time is critical to mental, spiritual and emotional well being
  14. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. are great ways to expand your acquaintances, but is not the environment to grow a deep  friendship.
  15. Life ebbs and flows.  There is give and take.  If people are always asking from you, yet unwilling to give, then it’s time to examine your relationship with them.  If you are always taking and not giving, then it’s time to re-examine the direction of your life.
  16. You’re never too old to make new friends.
  17. Women (and maybe men) are feeling emotionally malnourished these days because they need more depth in their relationships.  And they need support.
  18. You can never have too many kind words said to you – about you, your work, your place in the world. And you can never say too many kind words to everyone whose path you cross.
  19. When in doubt, go with love and kindness.  This goes for how you deal with others.  And how you treat yourself.
  20. Connection with other souls is critical for my own growth.

When it comes to many of these revelations, I knew that if it was a revelation for me, then others were feeling some, if not all, of the same things, too.

In honor of my birthday, won’t you share a pearl of wisdom with my readers?  Leave your pearls in the comments!

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Life coach Debra Smouse helps women feeling overwhelmed by life and/or their schedule recreate their life into one worth falling in love with. A self admitted tarnished southern belle, she now resides in Dayton, OH with the man of her dreams.
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