Inspiration

8 Things I Know Are True At 42

It’s my birthday!! I started my day with a beautiful run in Central Gaborone where many of the Jacaranda trees are now in full bloom and displaying their magnificent and magical purple colour. I couldn’t have found a greater way to start my day. I haven’t been running for a few weeks (due to a highly inconvenient abscess), so it was a tough run but what better way to return to the road than on my birthday. I have always loved celebrating this day, but in the last few years, each year has brought a little bit of panic – a feeling probably best summed as – “I am a real adult now”. To combat this feeling, I’ve been thinking about some of the positive life lessons I’ve gained along the way and what I know to be true at the age of 42.

“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been”David Bowie

Some Birthday Reflections

1/ Embrace the Journey. When I look back on my achievements, be it my degrees, work projects, buying a house, and in recent years my running triumphs, the destination wasn’t the best part. In fact, reaching the destination in many cases, felt almost anti-climactic. It is the journey in each case that I remember and treasure the most – the laughter shared with others, the excitement in achieving each small milestone, and just the fun of the whole process. Even the challenges along the way serve a purpose with each contributing to building my character, resilience and creativity. Every day of the journey, the good and the bad, counts and wishing for the destination to come quickly only means you miss out on all the magic in between. What would our lives look like if we skipped over all the “in-between”?

2/ Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. I have spent much of my life in my comfort zone, excelling in many areas, but largely because I chose to do things, I knew I wouldn’t fail at. If I was challenged to do something remotely out of my comfort zone, where there was even the slightest chance of failure, I would say no. So much time in my life has been wasted analysing the “what if’s” and as a result I’ve missed some significant opportunities. In the last few years, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone, and it has felt liberating. The dreaded worst-case scenario rarely happens, and I’ve realised that when you stay in your comfort zone, you never find out what you are truly capable of. This doesn’t come easy, and something I consciously work on every day. But with time, I’ve noticed how much quicker I am to say “Yes” even if it feels like the scariest thing to do.

3/ When You’re Overwhelmed, Write It Down. You know those days (weeks, even months) where you’ve thought “I’m never going to get all this done”, and at the end of each day, you feel even more overwhelmed and helpless. As a student, I quickly learnt that if I take a moment to write every single thing I need to do on paper, I move forward… slowly but surely. Just the thought of writing it all down is initially quite scary, but I’ve always found it helps to remove the clutter from my head. With everything on paper, each task seems doable and eventually each and every item is checked. So long as it remains in your head, it’s nothing but a cluttered and overwhelming mess that stresses you with each passing hour.

4/ Experiences Trump Things. I don’t have my dream car and I’ve long wanted to toss my couches in the nearest landfill! These, and many other items, are probably things I could have acquired over the years but I’ve always prioritised experiences – climbing Table Mountain in South Africa, bungee jumping off Victoria Falls Bridge in Zimbabwe, riding a mokoro in the Okavango Delta, visiting incredible temples in Malaysia and Singapore, having dinner on a beach in Mauritius, wading to shore when our boat got stuck in Mozambique, attending my closest friends’ weddings in the UK and Cape Town, and all the destination races in recent years. Those memories and the way I felt when creating them are as valuable to me today as they were back then. Experiencing unique adventures and different cultures has moulded me as a person, so when I sit on my old couch, I remember them all and smile.

5/ Give People Your Time. Sometimes, all people want from us, is some of our time. I haven’t always been good with that – in fact, a few months ago, we lost a dear family friend. In my last conversation with her, she thanked me for the flowers I had bought for her birthday but also scolded me for being so stingy with my time. I promised to do better but a few weeks later she suddenly passed away before I had the chance to fulfil my promise. Initially quite upset that she had called me out, I’m grateful that she did. She was right. I should carve out more time for the people I care about in my life – even if it is just a short visit or a quick catch-up over coffee. All the gifts in the world don’t mean much when people just want a fraction of our time.

6/ Prioritise Your Health. On my 36th birthday, I made a commitment to getting healthier and fitter, and a few months later my running and blogging journey began. Looking back, this was the best decision I could have made as I was on a downward spiral when it came to my weight and activity levels. Do I wish I had started this journey earlier? Most definitely. But I’m happy to be on this path now. I’m by no means perfect – the last month is testament to that! But every week I aim to walk, run or hike, and put in place challenges that keep me active. Losing my mum to uterine cancer has also made me acutely aware of the increased risk I have to this and other cancers so I’m doing more to inform myself and take preventative measures.

7/ Choose Your Friends Wisely. From a young age, I connected with friends who were caring, kind, genuine and of solid character, and as a result I am still friends with people I met at primary school, secondary school, university, work, and in the last ten years, parents of my kids’ friends and of course runners. Not all friendships have stood the test of time, but even in those cases, we enjoyed some good times before we parted ways. My friends are a true gift and make up my strong and unwavering support system – each friendship is different but is defined by love and mutual respect. Life is hard enough without having to be drained by toxic relationships.

8/ It’s Okay To Not Have It All Figured Out. Some days I go into a panic and think, maybe I should be further in this area or maybe I should be doing more in this other area. But then I look back at what I have already done, and some of the challenges I have overcome, I think… it’s okay, you have so much time to figure it out. When you hit your forties, there isn’t an automatic switch where you suddenly know it all. I am still young and there is so much room left for growth and learning… making mistakes and just figuring things out. I’ll keep listening to and learning from those who are older as well as younger.

This was a slight departure from my normal running posts, but I felt it fitting to share some of these reflections on the blog today! What are some of the things you have learned and embraced as you’ve gotten older? What do you wish someone had told you when you were younger? What do you love about getting older? What do you know to be true?

Click here if you’d like to run my favourite 6km Jacaranda Route.

I’m joining the link-up, Runner’s Roundup with Mile By MileCoach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerRuns with Pugs, and Running on Happy! Hop on over to their blogs and others and be inspired!

19 thoughts on “8 Things I Know Are True At 42

  1. Stunning Blog as always Shatiso. May we grow wiser and become more risilient in growing older!!!
    I have learned to be grateful for every day, health and family!!
    Herr is to yih and the next 42
    Ha e a super day!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These are all great lessons! I feel like I’ve learned so much in my 30s. (My birthday was the 12th- I don’t think I knew we had our birthdays a day apart!) Happy Birthday! I hope it was a great one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my goodness!!!! Happy Birthday Lisa!! I love this fact and I won’t forget! October Babies are the best 🤣 I’m so glad I wrote all this down because I’ve had a super day without that feeling of angst I’ve felt the last couple!

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  3. So many good thoughts. You are very wise and I consider you still very young.

    I hope you hold onto these thoughts.

    As I’ve gotten old I’ve learned who my real friends are. I’m lucky to have quite a few.

    The most important is not to think about where I would have wanted to be and enjoy where I am.

    Also it’s important to be selfless not selfish. That means often giving up what would be easier for you and help out a friend. It’s why I often run with another runner who may be slower or in an inconvenient location or time. I know they appreciate my time and that makes me feel good.

    So happy Birthday.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Darlene. I’ll keep coming back to this blog if I start to feel anxious as it felt so therapeutic 🥰 Your last point is spot on… it’s easier to be selfish, to do the things you want to do – but doing something for someone else, even though it is more inconvenient, now.. that is just such a great thing to do. And as you say it is ultimately so fulfilling as well.

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  4. Wonderful reflections Shathiso 😊 as always. Grateful to have recognised so many of your prominent life memories.
    I’ve learnt that my intention in all my endeavours has been the key to how the journey or life lesson turned out. So I try to practice gratitude and appreciation (especially in difficult situations).
    This year I’ve noticed I’m letting go of being tied to pre-planned outcomes. As you said, even with big wonderful goals, the achievement can sometimes be such an anticlimax. So I set my intention, get on with it and bend and flex with whatever the journey presents. Knowing I’m at peace with whatever May come. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So happy and grateful that you’ve been on this journey with me for just about half my life now and have seen much of it unfold! All the twists and turns!

      I love your your points and indeed – whether pre-planned outcomes are achieved or not, the journey to them can’t be discounted and in fact is often where the joy, learning and living happens. Love you girl!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love, love, love Jacarandas! At one time off my life I wanted to live in Johannesburg, so I could have a Jacaranda. (they are considered an alien species here in SA, so we aren’t allowed to plant them, but they wouldn’t grow all down here at the coast anyway) Happy Birthday to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jacarandas just make me so happy! As soon as they start blooming, I get really excited! This is one of the biggest reasons I’ve always wanted to the the Jacaranda Half in Pretoria. Can’t think of anything better than running under a sky (and carpet) of purple!

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