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43 Things I’ve Learned in 43 Years

43 Things I’ve Learned in 43 Years

 

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It’s my actual birthday today. I’m 43. I believe the photo above was my 4th birthday. Clearly, it was the 70s. My mother made that dress to match the decor. Anyway, I figured I’d make one of those ubiquitous lists of things I’ve learned in that time. At first it was hard to think of stuff, but after I got going it was hard to stop. I’m grateful to be alive today. And grateful to be walking the planet with all of you glorious heathens and saints.

HERE IS THE LIST:

1. Life is short. It is also long.

2. Drinking and drugs never work the way you would like them to work.

3. Fine dining is overrated.

4. Everything has a price of admission. Choosing the price as well as the reward is a useful tool for being satisfied with life and your individual set of problems.

5. Some years you lose friends, some years you gain friends. Relationships just don’t always last forever, but love does.

6. Love is a terribly tiny and useless word for the infinite amount of information it represents.

7. Saying no doesn’t make you an asshole.

8. Saying yes, sometimes, makes you an asshole.

9. Examining your motivations with radical honesty is a lifetime commitment. And it’s as painful as it is rewarding.

10. People have completely different life experiences than you, and without serious empathy, it’s too easy to make all kinds of mistaken judgments about what they should or shouldn’t be doing.

11. Privilege is real and shapes a worldview in ways that make it hard to see that it’s there at all.

12. Same goes for ego. “Look at me! Look at me! I’ve totally disappeared!” – Ego

13. I’m still not certain that we let go of grief. Rather, I think we just learn to carry it with more grace and humor, we learn to digest it, and transform it; turning it into compassion, art, and love.

14. Humor is everything. EVERY. SINGLE. FUCKING. THING. WITHOUT. EXCEPTION.

15. People who aren’t funny are not to be trusted.

16. Indian food is better than all other food.

17. Sensitivity and intelligence are “gifts”.

18. Parenting is humbling, terrifying, raw, and illuminating. Some of what’s illuminated is really hard to look at. Some of what’s illuminated is the power of infinity. Doing it alone is not for the weak.

19. Loneliness is lethal.

20. Freedom can be found inside an actual prison. Along with boundaries and your authentic voice. And, if that’s true, then those things can be found within whatever set of limitations you may be imprisoned by.

21. Freedom is not a free fall. It’s not infinite options and insolence. Freedom is contained and grounded. It’s the feeling of being held.

22. Oxytocin is necessary for the survival of the heart.

23. Oxytocin can be an addictive bitch that masquerades as love, that makes you see red flags as “cute eccentricities”.

24. Ignoring red flags is one of my superpowers.

25. Helping other people find peace and freedom is also one of my superpowers.

26. Words hurt. Words heal. Words gather into rich order, get digested, assimilated, and are able to articulate difficult emotions in ways that help liberate them. Always use your words and stories to connect and heal, it’s that deeper level past needing a witness for your pain. Go there. Without hesitation, let fear be the whisper that reminds you to be humble, that what you are doing matters.

27. If you focus on being a contribution, your life is a hell of a lot richer than being in the mindset of wondering how much you can get out of a situation. How am I helping? What do I bring to the table? Always.

28. Curiosity, an open mind, and the willingness to receive are often great contributions.

29. Sleep is powerful medicine that should be prioritized as the holy healing that it is.

30. Taking care of your digestive system positively affects your mental health.

31. Waiting for someone to intuit what you need will get you nowhere. You must ask. Clearly, and without apology. Then accept agreements graciously, and don’t take refusals personally.

32. People apologize WAY TOO MUCH. Stop it already. Apologize only if you hurt someone. But not if you just need to reach past a person to get to the bagels at Trader Joe’s. For that you say, “excuse me”. And not if you start to feel that you are taking up too much of someone’s time or energy. For that you say, “thank you”.

33. Sociopathy and narcissism are the real zombie apocalypse. Skills to deal with or avoid these personality disorders are paramount to survival in the modern world.

34. Learning to withstand uncertainty might be the cure for arrested development.

35. Anything that is overdone turns into the opposite thing. Example: fundamental liberalism.

36. It’s my body and I can do whatever the fuck I want with it.

37. Emotional labor is real and primarily carried by women. But it shouldn’t be. And that shit stops now. Stand up all you strong-ass men that are brave enough, and be willing to uplift the power of women.

38. We are all racists.

39. We *should* all be feminists.

40. Black lives matter. And just “mattering” is a ridiculously low bar and any resistance to it is insanity.

41. Doing yoga doesn’t make you a good person.

42. Anger doesn’t make you a bad person.

43. Beauty is everywhere.

*******

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We’re better together.

 

Love,

 

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2 Responses to 43 Things I’ve Learned in 43 Years

  1. […] is so good: 43 things learned in 43 years. One of my favourites: “Examining your motivations with radical honesty is a lifetime […]

  2. […] ‘Ignoring red flags is one of my superpowers.‘ … and other life lessons. […]

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