I turned 40 last week, which means I’m now a proper grown up.
It also means I’m starting a new decade as a self-employed writer, something I imagined many years ago but wasn’t sure if I could make it happen.
So to celebrate the milestone, here are 40 things I’ve learnt in 40 years – both personally and professionally.
If you read these and find yourself nodding your head in agreement or scratching your chin as to why I haven’t included a key life lesson, feel free to comment below.
Otherwise, enjoy the ride and let my (questionable) wisdom take you on a journey.
1. Always stand up for yourself.
2. Don’t be afraid to say no.
3. But don’t shy away from saying yes.
4. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s the only way to grow.
5. Learn to accept praise.
6. Remember that criticism isn’t personal (most of the time, anyway).
7. It’s ok to want to make decent money.
8. Career/work isn’t everything but it is a big part of life, so make sure you enjoy what you do.
9. Good friends are precious and should be treated with the care and respect they deserve.
10. Professional networks are invaluable.
11. A good boss is priceless and will teach you loads about life and work.
12. Money = power.
13. Words = power.
14. Travel will change you (in a good way).
15. But travelling for work is not as glamorous as it sounds.
16. Trust your intuition. Always. And especially when it comes to clients.
17. Boundaries are healthy and necessary.
18. Change is good.
19. Transferable skills are your best friend and will take you far.
20. Financial literacy is massively underrated (and should be taught in schools, but that’s a whole other article).
21. Diplomacy comes with age, although not as naturally to everyone.
22. If in doubt, go for a walk.
23. Work on your craft regularly. Take courses. Start personal projects. Create for the sake of creating.
24. Do things that are good for the soul. Cliche, but true.
25. Spend time with people that raise you up. Another cliche, but again, true.
26. Always chase an unpaid invoice. Be relentless if you have to.
27. Do everything you can to meet deadlines. Reliability is highly valued.
28. Don’t be afraid to push back on feedback if it goes against your professional opinion.
29. Take a holiday!
30. Spend money on good food (if you can).
31. It’s important to compromise. Until those moments when it’s not.
32. Look for inspiration outside of your niche.
33. Read. As much as you can. Every day.
34. Try not to get sucked into the 24/7 news cycle.
35. When it comes to freelancing, follow your own path. And don’t apologise for it.
36. Not everyone will agree with you and that’s fine. You probably won’t agree with everyone either.
37. Always say please and thank you. Good manners cost nothing.
38. Wear sunscreen! Yes, I’m channelling Baz Luhrmann here.
39. Spending money is good but saving money is even better.
40. Hmm … go for a walk?
And there you go, 40 things in 40 years but so much more to learn.
Have a good month!
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Around the web
🌐 An article in The Atlantic explains how AI will come for your job, and it’s not what you expect.
🌐 Freelancer Magazine is hosting a Christmas party for people that don’t usually get a work Christmas party. You can find the details here.
🌐 I would love to have a dedicated creative space, somewhere just for me. If you would too, check out writer Lulah Ellender’s writing shed for inspiration.
One last thing …
"Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. And dreams are forever."
- Walt Disney
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I hope you had a very happy birthday Hayley. I started by listing my favourites of your 40 but there were far too many. But if I had to choose one… let’s go with 37.