I’m currently 34.
I’ve never really felt “old” yet, but being pregnant and approaching that point of the more matured pregnancy, I’ve recently considered my age probably more than ever before.
How old will I be when my kid is x years old, for example? Will I be too “mature” to have a third if I want one? That kind of thing.
Yet here’s the bigger thing that I’ve lately been contemplating: I am not old. And even when I’m (hopefully) 89, I will be living within this same mindset.
So I began to ponder another aspect of this age-is-relative thinking: what am I always young enough to begin doing and learning? Here’s my shortened list.
1. Drive a manual.
I am in the market for a new vehicle, given that I’m expecting a second child. That said, I don’t want a gas-hogging, huge vehicle. And, if I’m being totally honest, it’s actually because I won’t give up driving a stick (and sticks generally come in smaller cars).
I was over 30 and expecting my first child when I began driving my first manual transmission. Now, I can’t believe I spent so many years disliking driving when I simply disliked driving a boring old automatic.
So, yes, please learn how to drive a manual. For one, it’s fun. For another, maybe more car manufacturers will begin making their nicer styles in a stick again (wink, wink, thanks).
To be fair, I’ve always loved spending time alone. No, I need to spend time alone to be a pleasant person when I’m with the other people in my life.
But I’m an identical twin. I grew up not being able to sleep without someone next to me and being used to always having my best friend right by my side.
So how do you learn to spend time alone and like it? Start small.
I began by taking myself out to coffee. I often brought reading material or writing paper and a pen, but I rarely brought a friend—and I began valuing, and then requiring, this solo downtime.
3. Ask for what you want.
It is absolutely never too late to learn to ask for what you want. How on earth will people know what you want if you never ask for it?
Go ahead and ask for that raise. Ask that striking individual out. Ask, ask, ask.
4. Say no.
I, like many, have not always easily said no.
For a long, long time I was the person always working for a sick co-worker. I was the person making too many plans for one day. And then I learned to say “no.” Why? It made those times I decided to say “yes” that much more meaningful.
5. Begin a new exercise routine.
My dad took up yoga roughly four years ago. At the time, he looked at my practice and thought, “Why bother?” And now he’s a dedicated practitioner in his own right.
Repeat after me: it is never too late to begin taking care of your body (and mind, and heart).
6. Start reading.
Some people grow up thinking they don’t like to read. I’ve known people like this. Others read so much for school that it becomes the last thing they want to do on a day off, even as adults. Yet others, like me, are lifelong, voracious readers. Truthfully, though, anyone can become an obsessed reader. All it takes is the right book.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve tried opening an actual book with pages and a cover, try it. You might be surprised.
7. Eating healthfully.
The meaning of healthy eating varies from person to person. For me, a healthy diet means eating little processed foods and having a balanced diet (that includes processed foods and treat items). Regardless, it’s always a good time to try new fruits and vegetables and to leave that box of cookies on the store shelf and make your own.
8. Change your mind.
I can have pretty strong opinions. So it might surprise some to learn that I not only allow my values and opinions to shift, but I expect it.
My take is that I’m always growing and learning new things about myself, others and life in general. How are my thoughts and ideas not supposed to change along with that? And why give myself an arbitrary stopping point when I have so much left to figure out…and enjoy.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman