A Lesson Learned

Through recent and not so recent big and small events, I have come to the conclusion that I have learned one lesson in life that's so valuable to me. It's something that I must keep in mind to be happy and bring back to mind when I'm unhappy. It's something that made me sit up and write this post in a moment when all I wanted to do was procrastinate on the internet. 

Here it goes: when faced with a decision, imagine yourself aged 80, in a retirement home with nothing to do but look back on your life. What are the things that will make you go, "man, I'm glad I did that!" or even, "I can't believe I did that"?

Say yes to every occasion, even the things that you suspect won't be that great (it's usually those "oh, I can't be bothered to go out on a Thursday" nights that turn out to be the ones with the most fun) - if it's less than fun, you can just go home. 
Stay up chatting with your friends and drinking wine, even if it's a "work night". You can sleep in the weekend.
Get the nice coffee instead of drinking the cheap, instant stuff. Smile and say "thank you" to the person who makes the aforementioned coffee. 
When someone is rude to you, smile and wish them a nice day.
Have a really fancy dinner on a Wednesday. 
Buy actual books, don't just download them on your Kindle.
Wear your favourite dress to work instead of saving it for a "special occasion". 
Open doors for people. Open the door for someone you don't like. 
Smile at someone you don't like (or even better, at someone who doesn't like you!). 
Listen to your favourite song while you walk to the tube. 
Go to a place you've never been, whether it's another continent or just around the corner.
Take photos of little beautiful everyday things.
Meet your friend for coffee even if it's raining. 
Wear your brightest lipstick on a really grey day.
Apply for that job you're not quite qualified for.
When a stranger talks to you, don't automatically assume they're a weirdo.
Pack a suitcase and just go. Even if you're terrified. Especially if you're terrified.
Spend Saturday in a museum.
Spend Sunday reading a book.
Spend any day writing a book. Or playing an instrument or painting a picture.
Don't be afraid to get rid of things you don't need in your life. Hate the gym? Bye bye gym card, hello running shoes and fresh air. It doesn't have to be hard.
Buy the shoes.
Eat the cake.
Go dancing - never in the history of mankind has anyone ever regretted going dancing.
When having a movie night at home, get the best snacks and the cosiest blanket to snuggle up in. And a glass of wine instead of Coke!
Go for that dream of yours, no matter how many people use that ridiculous word, "impossible", when you tell them about it. Let them know that the concept of "impossible" is much like the concept of Santa Claus: we've all been introduced to it at a young age, but sooner or later, it's time to grow up and realise it doesn't exist.

Let's get back to eighty-year-old you. While you're in your wheelchair watching a sunset (or a sunrise - many old people are early risers!) on a balcony, what will you remember? The nights you were a good girl and went to bed early? The times you put all your money away for a "rainy day" that never came? The business you didn't start, the novel you didn't write, the trip you never took, the leap you never made? The times you were sensible, tired or afraid? The times when you let your head and "good reasoning" decide?

Or will you remember the nights you walked home at sunrise with your shoes in your hand? The concerts where you screamed so loud your throat got sore? How devastatingly gorgeous you looked - and felt!- in those way-too-expensive, way-too-high heels? The phone call that let you know that you got that unattainable dream job? The places you visited, the new beginnings you created, the friends you made, the chances you took? The tiny, fleeting moments that made you feel alive? 

For most of us (yes, even rich supermodels), life is full of little and big annoyances: buses being late, rain pouring down on new shoes, fighting with boyfriends, leaving your umbrella on the tube, not getting the job, being broken up with, favourite dresses ripping and other downsides of life. So when we have the chance to do something that's uplifting - no matter how big or small - I find it so indescribably stupid to say no because of things like "I have to wake up early tomorrow" or "I should put the money in my savings account" (unless you're saving for something really fun). Let your heart make your decisions. Be impulsive. Be crazy. Be outrageous, irresponsible and a bit silly.

Maybe I'm childish. Certainly I'm immature. Maybe this is all really obvious stuff. But it's changing my outlook, so I felt that I wanted to share it. Show up for the things that the universe brings your way - you'll never regret it! Unlike, perhaps, that "good night's sleep" you got instead of having the time of your life.

Picture from Pinterest


  1. I love this! Right now I'm trying to push myself to take more pictures of little everyday things that make me happy, and to actually wear my favorite clothes (and makeup) instead of saving them for special occasions. Also, to apply for jobs I don't feel qualified for, which is most of them!

    1. GO FOR IT. I've been shot down for more jobs than I'd like to admit, but I was also chosen among hundreds for the Marie Claire scheme, even if all I had was an idea. Just keep trying!

  2. Good words Sacha...I would add have childrens.
    Bye Ana

    1. Absolutely - if you want children, HAVE THEM, no matter what obstacles there are. If you feel that being a parent is something that's truly important to you, don't let that slip away.

  3. I agree with you. It's all very true: I'm 45, with a husband and 2 teen-agers children, it's a bit difficult to conciliate your point of view with a family life, no such a big money in my wallet and a lot of people around me who feel that the very responsable coiches are always the better ones........
    But, for what I can, I'm trying.
    Buona giornata! Nadia

    1. ahahah I have been poor literally all my life - I'm 30 and in a flat share, enough said! But opportunities to live life to the full always come along, all you have to do is take them!

  4. Thank you for this post!

  5. Più invecchiamo e meno tendiamo a essere spontanei: sbagliato! Lasciamoci andare il più possibile e buttiamoci dentro al mondo!


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