Growing Older: What I would tell my younger self : Evewoman - The Standard

Achieving Woman

Women over 40 give advice to their younger selves

They say hindsight is always 20/20, which means if we were given the privilege to look 10 years into the future and then make our choices based on that information, the paths we take, the decisions we make, the people we pick as partners and the investments we venture into, would be very different

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So what if you got to travel back in time and sit down for an hour or two with a younger version of you, what would you say?

Eve spoke with 3 women, approaching or over 40, who gave insight into what they would tell their 25 year old selves. Here is what they had to say:

Wangechi Kariuki, 38, Cryptocurrency Enthusiast

Wangechi Kariuki, 38, Cryptocurrency Enthusiast

1.     Have children early in life:

I have three children. I ended up having my last born at the age of 36. That was the toughest pregnancy I went through. Half the time I felt like I was carrying an elephant. The fact is, your body will change. The younger you are, the better you will cope with this strange little character growing inside of you. So, start early. You can build a career and have a family at the same time.

2.     The things that hurt you the most, become your greatest gifts:

Some of my greatest learnings have come through my marriage. I’ve been married for 12 years. There are times I was not sure I could get through the challenges we encountered. But when I look back, it is those exact challenges that have transformed me and made me a better person for my children and my husband. Lessons like patience, accepting things that you might not agree with or realizing that you are not married to a saint. This is a human being that will hurt you, guaranteed. Going through heartache is excruciating, I will not lie. Yet the gems you discover on the other end of that heartache are priceless. So be strong and brave through it. Learn and grow.  

3.     Your girlfriends can kill your relationship, choose them wisely:

As I grew older, my circle of friends became smaller because I realized when I had an issue there were just too many opinions competing for my attention. Women talk and their views are not always in your best interest, that’s just a fact.  So before you take on everything they are saying, look closely at the intentions and belief system of the person giving you advice and then take a moment to decide what you really want.

4.     Gravity will happen; get a good tailor:

Your body will change; there is no going around it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a gym enthusiast or an athlete. You can choose to get depressed about it, or you can accept the cycle of life and love your body anyway. Find clothes that flatter you. All of you is beautiful, just dress yourself  properly. Of course it helps to eat healthy and move as much as you can.

5.     Find your God:

Everyone fades and everyone leaves eventually. There are only two constants that will stay with you forever; yourself and your God. So build a relationship especially when your life is full so that when it does empty, and it will, you have this Guide and this Friend who will never leave you; your internal support system.

Josephine Bonareri (45); Sales and Marketing Consultant

Josephine Bonareri (45); Sales and Marketing Consultant

1.     Take time to discover who you are:

Your earlier years should be about you, finding your calling, what you enjoy, what you don’t. I didn’t get that chance. My father died at 25 and I got married the next year at 26. I moved from my father’s house to my husband’s house. I knew nothing. I’d never paid rent, bills, or had the chance to go it alone. Change that. Take your time to make your foolish mistakes now, so that when you move forward, you’ll have blueprints to reference.

2.     It’s never too early to save:

We used to laugh at young people who were doing side hustles like selling shoes or fish because we thought it wasn’t cool. When they were saving their money, we blowing ours because we thought we had all the time in the world. But the thing is, if I had started saving at 25 and making safe investments, I’d have been able to retire comfortably at 40. My kids are almost in college. The expenses are going up, not coming down. Sometimes I feel like I am racing to catch up and stay afloat.  If I’d started 20 years ago, that wouldn’t have been the case. So start now when you have fewer responsibilities and fewer limitations.

3.     Don’t marry for infatuation, marry your friend:

At 26, I met my husband in January, was engaged by July and married by December. I was in love and thought this was the person I’d spend the rest of my life with. We got separated about 5 years later and I spent the next 7 years waiting for him to come back. That never happened. We eventually started divorce proceedings. I don’t think we ever really took the time to know each other and as we grew, we simply became too different to reconcile our issues. Take time to know someone before you declare your heart to them ‘till death’. Relationships don’t happen by magic, they are built. And the best person to build with is your friend who you can talk to and share your fears and aspirations with.

4.     Many things will not go as planned, but all will be well:

When I got married I never thought my relationship would not work out, I never thought I’d have to raise my children in a home their father didn’t live in. When I studied Political Science in campus, I never thought it’s a degree that would end up sitting in my drawer unused. When I got my job just after leaving campus, I never thought there would be years that I was unemployed and unsure how to make ends meet. But through all these things, I have come out intact. It’s hard to believe this when you’re in the first, but everything eventually works out, everything.

5.     Always ask yourself the tough question, why? :

I went through most of life going with the flow; from college to marriage to employment to motherhood. I never really took time to explore my dreams.  It’s only later on in my life that I discovered I’d be interested in counselling. I am pursuing that now, but imagine if I had ventured into it from the onset, how far would I be? So, take time to discover what you want, not what society tells you to want.

Carol Barton, 63, Executive Life Coach

Carol Barton, 63, Executive Life Coach

1.     Slow Down; time is on your side:

We live in a society that is hell-bent on targets and goals. I remember when I was working in London, I’d wake up early, prepare the kids for school, rush them to school, rush to work, rush to pick the kids, rush home to prepare our meal, rush to get to bed in time and then, repeat it all the next day. If the cycle doesn’t end, then you owe it to yourself to pause sometimes, enjoy a moment with a friend without thinking of tomorrow’s work load, enjoy the sun without dashing to your next destination. Enjoy a cup of tea without thinking of who will wash the dishes.  It seems small, but often you will find your breakthroughs come in the stillness, not in the rush. So, stop for a second and breath.

2.     Be open to the adventure of life:

In 2010 my husband was sent to work in the Middle East. I resolutely refused to accompany him so we kept two homes. A little while later, I decided to take the leap and join him, then he was sent to work in Kenya in 2012. I was anxious but 15 years later, I would not trade the decision to come to Kenya, for anything; the friends we’ve met, the impact we have made is immeasurable. We are so blessed. If I hadn’t gotten out of the rut or safety that I knew, I would have missed all this.  Make your plans but allow them to be crowned by the surprises life offers. Because how boring would it be to know exactly what will happen to you 5 years from now?

3.     People will often see your purpose before you do; ask them:

I became a life coach after I turned 50. I never knew it was something I would excel in. But looking back I remember friends always telling me I had the ability to see a complex concept and break it down to the bare minimum which anyone could understand. Life Coaching is like that, taking life and breaking it down. My friends saw that ability in me long before I knew I had it.  When finding your purpose, the best people to ask, are those around you who value you.

4.     In the end, relationships are your greatest net worth:

When you are younger, your urgency is to grow your bank balance and climb whichever career ladder you are on, and this is good. But as you grow older, you realize that when you leave a place of work, you are quickly replaced. You realize that money will never remember your name when you are gone, but people will. How did you make them feel? How did you change their lives? What did you walk through together? At 63, no one cares what job I did at 25 but the people I was with at that at time still remember the impact I had on their life.

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