I love New Years Day for the simple fact that it encourages us to take a good look at our lives and make some changes. I’ve done the whole resolution thing and I’ve come to a point in my life where I’ve realized that these things rarely stick. Instead, I propose that we do something far more radical—take ownership of our lives and stop living a life that’s “good enough.” Here are my suggestions for how to “own it” in 2019:
Stop Apologizing for Being Who You Are
This morning, I woke up suddenly aware of the fact that I’m a 40-something woman in an industry that idolizes youth. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t bother me, as I like to think that I’m a fairly youthful person, but it really struck a chord with me today as I looked in the bathroom mirror, most likely because I was having a bad skin day after two weeks of sugar, alcohol, lack of sleep, and general disregard for my overall health.
There’s no shame in not being in your twenties anymore. Hell, in the Women in Digital Slack channel, the discussion group for older ladies (40+) was jokingly referred to as Digital Crones for a brief period, so there is a humorous side to the perception of being older (side note: if you are a woman who works in any kind of digital capacity, Women in Digital is for you. Yes, I am a member). I admit that I have some great experiences that my colleagues don’t—prior to switching to a career in marketing and advertising, I was a reporter and radio personality for 12 years, and you can’t tell me that my background of storytelling and forming relationships doesn’t give me a distinct advantage.
Cut the Dead Weight
Are you on a career path that no longer serves you? Does your job make you emotionally or physically ill? Is your boss a bully? I have so many experiences of working with or for truly horrible people. While they talk a good game, at the end of the day, the only person who is truly invested in what’s best for you is you. If you’re in a bad situation, know that it most likely will not get better unless you do something about it. Know when to cut your losses and move on.
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
I cannot stress enough the importance of feeding your passion. If visual arts is your thing, turn off the TV and paint, sculpt, etc. If you’re a writer, start a blog and read everything you can get your hands on. If you’re into strategy, check out case studies and hypothesize about what you would have done differently. If you love sharing your wisdom with others, seek out opportunities to speak or teach. Make this the year you rediscover why you love what you do.
While you’re at it, devote time to your hobbies, whether you’re into cooking, calligraphy, volunteering, or crafting. Your soul will thank you.
Get Out There and Meet People
So many opportunities in life come from the relationships we form with others, which gives women a distinct advantage. Make this the year you make a point to attend networking events, find a mentor, be a mentor, attend a peer group, or take an online relationship into the real world.
I consider myself to be a perpetual student because I am constantly reading, researching, and seeking out things and people that inspire me. Take field trips and check out things that interest you (the Andy Warhol Museum is on my to-do list this year, as are the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum and a day trip to Amish county). Taking classes is another great way to feed your curiosity – if you don’t have time to take a class, SkillShare is a great way to sharpen your skills.
Take Care of Yourself
I’m a mom and I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you of some of the same advice your own mother would give you – eat less crap, drink more water, and get more sleep. While you’re at it, schedule regular exercise, and, no, the standing desk trend does not compensate for working up a good sweat. Make sure to work on your relationships, too—prioritize your significant other, make time for your best friend, and meet new people.
What are you doing to take ownership of your life in 2019? Leave your comments below.