30-lessons-emma-papas

30 things I know on my 30th Birthday.

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I started writing this before my 30th Birthday (9 December 2017) and now it’s 9 February 2018. Better late than never right?! 

Halfway through I was like OMG 30 is too many, but 15 things I know on my 30th Birthday just doesn’t really work. Also, I may have doubled up within a few points but obviously these are just extra important things I know. 

Also, I have read this post too many times and it’s now past my bedtime. If there are errors let me know and I will edit. I will also get Carla to edit tomorrow. Thanks in advance (hehehe).

I send you huge amounts of gratitude for taking the time to read this. I send you love. I send you light. Thank you.

Another thing before the 30 things, pretty sure I’ve learnt most of these things along with the other Merry… Carla. 

30 things I know on my 30th Birthday

ONE: Accept yourself just as you are right NOW. 

For some reason I never thought I was good enough, I always thought I needed to improve some aspect of my body, mind or personality… I wanted to change for other people.

I wanted to change to fit in. To feel accepted. To suit other people.

As soon as I accepted myself for exactly who I am, a whole weight was lifted. We’re living in a world obsessed with self-improvement but it needs to come from a personal drive. From a place of love and not fear.

Self-acceptance is self-love. And self-love creates infinite possibilities and invites all other love into your life.

I love myself… the quietest, simplest, most powerful revolution. Ever. ” Nayyirak Waheed.

TWO: Don’t follow your fears, follow your heart.

I feel like we follow our hearts as kids, then we grow up and think we have to live a certain way. There are a billion different reasons why we don’t follow our hearts and they can all pretty much be labelled as FEAR.

Fear of judgement, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection. Sometimes we just need to tell our brains to be quiet and listen to our hearts. I know I am following my heart when I feel a sense of contentment. This magical knowing that everything is ok. I feel a sense of flow and natural rhythm. A connection to everything around me. 

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist 

THREE: Friends come into our lives, sometimes they stay a lifetime, sometimes they stay a season.

It sounds so weird… why would I ever hang out with someone I don’t actually vibe with? Why would I hang out with people where I go in feeling amazing, then I leave feeling heavy?

Who bloody knows, but I did! I gave myself permission to not hang out with people I didn’t want to actually hang out with. I told myself it was ok to turn down invitations. This changed my life. It gave me space. Space for the people I love and space for myself.

FOUR: It’s ok that people don’t like you.

This used to feel like rejection but I actually see it as a good thing now. Good, because I’m not changing who I am to suit others. 

As soon as I stopped changing myself to please others I felt more me, I felt confident, I felt a sense of freedom. 

This is one thing my little sister (the other Merry, Carla) has really helped me with… since we were kids! Since she was born she’s never cared, she’s just been herself.

She wore knee high socks to school in kindy when everyone wore ankle socks. Our brother went around and pulled her socks down… and she’d go ahead and pull them right up. Anyway… I grew up seeing her get bullied for being her and it sucked but it made her who she is today. And without the magical spark of Carla, the world would just be less and Merrymakers would not be. Oh so grateful for my beautiful sissy. 

“The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself.” Rita Mae Brown.

FIVE: Quit the job you hate and follow your bliss.

I started this Merrymaking thing almost 5 years ago with Carla. We’ve been doing it full time for 3 1/2 years and this decision has brought so much joy to my life.

I’ve met amazing people, I’ve travelled and I get a sense of fulfilment from the work I do every day.

This advice isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve found the thing you love and there is a way to make money from it, I believe you owe it to YOU (and the world) to take a chance on YOURSELF.

What’s the best that can happen? If this is relative to you… go and listen to this podcast episode.

SIX: Gratitude is the game changer.

I got the ‘pleases and thank yous’ drilled into me as a kid (thanks, Mum and Dad, manners take you places in this world) but I never understood what gratitude was.

I started reading books by Dr Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay, watching Oprah on YouTube and they all kept banging on about gratitude. 

I began to write down what I was grateful for at the end of each day, to be honest, it felt like a waste of time at the start BUT after a while, I felt grateful for almost everything in my life.

My whole perspective on life changed. I became about a billion times happier… not from earning more money, not from losing weight, not from hanging out with the cool and beautiful people, not from external validation.

I got a billion times happier by simply noticing the abundance of good in my life I had right at THIS moment. I have no doubt this change in my attitude and energy attracted more magic into my life.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey

SEVEN: Get out of the wrong relationships… fast.

Easier said than done, yeah? I’ve had 2 relationships in my life, the first lasted about 6 years and the second almost 2 years.

Since I’m being honest with you (and myself) I knew they were not ‘right’ a lot sooner than they ended. But I learned so much from each and they were filled with great moments.

They were purposeful relationships. Now, I’m grateful for the bad times and even the soul hurting heartbreak. And I 100% learned what I don’t want (now referred to as, red flags) and what I won’t accept in a future relationship. I also learned what I do want (green flashing, sparkling, magical flags).

Life is precious, I want to spend it with people who love and accept me just as I am. I want to live my truth surrounded by people who I adore and love.

Far out I have so much to write on this topic and it’s been sitting in draft for about 6 months. I’ll stop now and save it for that post. 

“Find someone who embraces your value, who doesn’t ask you to change, or be different or another human being. You’re the only version of you. You’re one of a kind and there is no one else with your combination of cells and heartbeats. You are art. And you are love.” Mark Groves.

I really love this quote, I’ve found myself on both sides. Wanting the other person to change and then trying to change to please the other. They both suck. Finding someone who you accept and who accepts you is the magic. 

EIGHT: Enjoy the small magical moments.

It’s the small moments that make up the days, that make up the weeks, that make up the years, that make up the life. 

If we miss these small magical moments we are pretty much missing out on life. The easiest way to bring this magic into every day is to look at everything in wonder. Look at everything as though it is a miracle. Because actually, it is all a big miracle.

Notice the beauty of it all.

The sunrise bringing us life, the ocean so powerful yet peaceful, the trees dancing in the wind, the sunbeams streaming through the clouds, the colour of your lover’s eyes, the magic of a smile, the healing from a hug, the sweetness of a single breath. 

Ohhhh life! 

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 

NINE: Try new stuff.

It’s so bloody easy to get stuck in the routine. I love routine then I hate routine.

So after 30 years, I’ve realised I need routine but I also need regular new stuff in my life and just space for magic.

Groundbreaking… I know. 

But acknowledging this truth has given me motivation. So now… I need to act on it!

I reckon spontaneity and trying new things comes super easy to some. If you’re on the other side right now, my tip… hang out with people who push you to try new things and just say YES. This works and it’s a whole lot of fun!

TEN: Having a shit tonne of money actually doesn’t equal happiness.

We live in a world where it’s super easy to get obsessed with making more money, working harder, hustling harder. The thing is, we can ALWAYS make more money.

I have a big desire to grow my business and I am excited to do the work BUT what I know for sure is that if I’m not content now… earning more will not make me happier. Also, this money obsession can lead to missing out on magical moments. What is life without magical moments?

I’ve actually seen people become sadder and more stressed after they earnt a large amount of money. Grateful for the lesson they have given me. 

“Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.” Will Smith

ELEVEN: Less stuff is better.

Dunno why it happened, but when I started eating real food, more good stuff, less processed crap, I also got less obsessed with stuff. I used to be that girl who had to have a new outfit every weekend, definitely not that girl anymore!

Living with less stuff feels like freedom. There’s less overwhelm and I care less about what people think of me. Especially about what I own/wear/drive etc.

I feel light… and following the light is how I like to live. 

A small disclosure: I’m not saying I am a minimalist (maybe failed minimalist) coz I still really love stuff, I just love less stuff, just stuff I need. And YES I need all the leggings.

TWELVE: Stop taking everything so personally.

Far out, I was the queen of taking EVERYTHING personally aka Miss Sensitive. 

Then I realised… not everything is about me. Maybe that person who offended me was actually having a bad day. Woah, I know, crazy. I don’t need to write anymore, this guy sums it up well.

“Don’t take anything personally, nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering” Miguel Ruiz (from The Four Agreements)

THIRTEEN: Hang out with people who are older or younger than you.

We can get so stuck in our own bubbles and one of the easiest ways to get unstuck is to go spend time with someone older or younger or simply in another life stage. Get insight into their lives, learn from them… yes you can (and will) learn from a 10-year-old.

One of my favourite things about 2017 was connecting with older women. I feel like I learned so much about life. I am forever grateful.

I don’t really like using the word older… I will call them wise women in my life. 

I also include my beautiful Mum in this wise women category. I’ve learnt so much from you Mum, about life, about being kind, about love, I don’t know where I’d be without you. I am so lucky to have you as my Mum.

FOURTEEN: Feeling everything deeply is ok… actually it’s magical.

I laugh easy, I cry easy, I get excited easy. When I open up my heart up to someone, whatever the relationship, I don’t half arse it, I will be your number one fan (lucky you hehe). 

I never liked this aspect of myself. I’ve probably spent most of my life trying to bottle up these feelings, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’.

I bottled them up because… I got sick of being told, “you’re just ultra-sensitive”. I got over people commenting on my crazy laugh at school (got sent out of class a couple times for that laugh haha). Even just last year someone told me to stop being so excited over such little things. 

Now I think urgghhhhh stuff that. My feelings are my magical power and I will let them sparkle out of me like sunshine through the clouds. The feelings are what life is about.  

FIFTEEN: Human connection is actual magic. 

I know I’ve taken it for granted but now I value it so (SO SO SO SO) much.

Whether it be friendship, a random conversation, a smile, or an intimate relationship, they each offer magic and bring so much to our lives. 

I treasure the spark of light that may come with meeting a new person. And if there is a spark, it’s the perfect guide to find a deeper connection.

“Human connection is the most vital aspect of our existence, without the sweet touch of another being we are lonely stars in an empty space waiting to shine gloriously” Joe Straynge.

SIXTEEN: You won’t love your body until you love your body. 

Sounds weird, but it totally makes sense (Thanks to Dave Nixon for that saying). How many times have you tried a dress on and the first thing you say is something like “urghhh I hate my arms” or “ewww you can see my belly”. I’ve had enough of this hate and self-loathe thing. I’ve had enough of comparing. I’ve had enough of thinking I am not good enough for whatever crazy reason.

I reckon I’ve spent about a third of my life hating my body. I’ve spent thousands of hours counting calories/thinking about food/regretting food choices/counting down the treadmill timer/dieting/binging/vomiting etc. etc.

I’VE HAD ENOUGH! 

It’s time to think about all the magic we miss out on when we let these behaviours and thoughts rule our lives. 

It’s time to love yourself now. And if this seems impossible, just know that I went from hating to loving myself. If I can do it, you can do it. It will take time, but the time is gonna pass anyway. 

SEVENTEEN: One day, you will die. 

Our time is not infinite. Not a nice truth but definitely THE truth.

Acknowledging this creates a life with depth. Becuase… if our time is not infinite why do we:

  • work in jobs we hate?
  • countdown to the weekend every single week (literally counting down our days till we die!)?
  • stay in relationships we don’t want to be in?
  • hang out with people who don’t bring joy?
  • wait too long to say I love you?
  • spend way too much time watching TV/scrolling?
  • ignore our dreams and true desires?
  • take the people we love for granted (remember their time is not infinite either, they will die)?

You get it. 

EIGHTEEN: Nothing is permanent, the good stuff and the bad stuff.

Life is filled with ups and downs, ebbs and flows, dark and light. And nothing is forever, see above point. Thanks to one of my beautiful friends, Dr Rach Wyndham, for bringing this lesson to me (one of so many).

I feel like the idea, that nothing is forever, makes for a juicy life of content. It allows us to feel the highs even bigger and it gives us permission to feel the lows so we can heal through them, knowing that the darkness is not forever.

“Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”  W. Somerset Maugham 

NINETEEN: Open your heart.

When we open our hearts we notice the magic and infinite love that is always around us.

When I first broke my heart I closed my heart, to protect it in a way, maybe to heal it. I closed my heart and life was less.

I know, now, to live with a closed heart is not really living at all.

TWENTY: 99.9% of the time everything is ok.

How many times have you stressed about something that never happened? We go through all this stress, worry and we let it impact every other aspect of our life… for nothing. Becuase the bad thing that we made up in our heads never ever happened.

Carla and I learnt this with our business. Something ‘bad’ would happen, like a launch, didn’t go as planned and we’d be freaking out feeling like failures, stressed about money, worried about everything. One day our Dad just goes “girls, you know it’s going to be ok, it’s always ok”. We were like woah, Dad you’re right! 

And the fact is that maybe it won’t be ok… but we go through the motions, whatever darkness there is to make it ok. 

TWENTY ONE: You are allowed to say no.

I used to be a massive people pleaser, I felt like I had to say yes to everyone who asked anything of me. I’d say yes, when I really wanted to say no, then I’d resent the person and the thing I said yes to doing. And this feeling of resent could last from 10 minutes to 10 months! Urghhh. 

Now, I say no, feel kinda bad for 5 minutes maybe a little awkward (people pleasing is hard to get out of the system) but then I feel lighter. Plus, saying no leaves space for magic.

TWENTY TWO: If you can’t find happiness within, you will never find it. 

Becuase everything can change in an instant. If our happiness is solely linked to external people and things, be prepared for it to come crashing down. Wow, how doom and gloom… but it’s the truth (coz points 18 and 19).

If you’re thinking oooops literally all my happiness is connected to stuff outside of me don’t you worry, coz I used to be 100% like this and now I’m not.

Easy doable stuff that helped me find happiness within:

  • yoga and pilates.
  • more time in nature.
  • deeper breathing.
  • listening to Oprah podcasts (ie. discovering and learning more about my spirituality), they are 30 minutes long. Yes, you do have time.
  • doing something creative.
TWENTY THREE: life should be a playful adventure and not a problem to solve.

Firstly, how is a 30 year old supposed to act? Good question, I have no idea. But somewhere along the way I feel like we get this false idea that we need to act a certain way when we turn a certain age. I also think we get this idea we have to take everything so seriously.

I don’t like it, it’s kinda boring. 

Every year I feel about 10 years older in life lessons but more than ever I feel this sense of adventure and playfulness. Like I can look at the sky in wonder and literally all my problems are solved.

So, I guess really, my message is to act how you wanna act. But also, give yourself permission to make life playful… even if you’re the serious type.

TWENTY FOUR: without your health you have nothing.

One body, one mind, one soul. look after your health! It’s not just about diet and exercise it’s mental health and it’s spiritual health. All areas need time, energy and focus.

Even if you just have 15 minutes a day to dedicate to health. DO IT NOW. Do not wait until you get sick. Do not wait until it’s too late. Please. 

TWENTY FIVE: kindness wins.

When you choose to be kind, life gets better. More good comes your way because what you put out there, you get right back. While you’re at it. Choose to be kind to YOU. Ok?

I swear it’s easier to be kind than not anyway! 

This is another lesson I can thank my Mum and Dad for. They are the best examples of kindness.

TWENTY SIX: never stop learning.

Once school is over it’s easy to go along with the motions and just stop learning new stuff. But the best thing about learning new stuff after school is that you actually get to study stuff you’re interested in.

My preference is self-paced learning, listening to podcasts, watching docos and reading books. It doesn’t always need to be a formal course.

Just be sure to take action towards your goals. You don’t need to learn all the things before you take action, you’ll probably learn more from your personal experience. 

“Once you stop learning you start dying” Albert Einstein.

TWENTY SEVEN: forgive others fast.

Keeping grudges is like putting yourself in a cage, locking the door but having the key in your pocket. Holding onto this anger, annoyance and sadness is only hurting you.

Forgiving this person… is not for them. It’s for you.

TWENTY EIGHT: speak and live your truth (in alignment to your heart).

This was a big focus for me for the majority of my 2017. I realised I had not been living my truth, I’d not been living in alignment to my heart.

I went on a mission to listen to my heart, get in tune with my truth. Anything that takes me away from my truth is not my path I know this now and it feels so good, it feels so right.

I just want the truth. I want real. I am over the fakeness. We’re in this world where it’s so easy to fake it. I see people posting Instagram photos showing one thing and living another. I don’t like it. I give you my truth, you give me your truth. Magic. 

TWENTY NINE: be the star of your life.

Society focuses so much attention on the lives of other people so it’s very easy to focus all our own energy on other peoples lives. Whether it’s celebrities, Insta-famous people or even constantly thinking about and talking about people you know.

Don’t get me wrong, I scroll on Instagram, I notice other people’s lives and yes at times talk about others BUT I am aware of how much time I spend doing this. 

The less energy I focus on other people, the more energy I can focus on my own life and become the star of my own life.

THIRTY: all you have is now. 

Living in the future and the past is a pretty damn good way to be miserable. And a great way to miss out on all magic of life. Coz really life only exists now, at this very moment. 

Going over and over and over the past does not create joy NOW. And constantly thinking and worrying about the future is the best way to become a pretty anxious person… without joy NOW. 

I write this down and it all seems pretty simple, but it’s so easy to not live right now, right at this moment. It’s hard becuase at times, the worry is a freaking huge worry. I find the best way to change this is to count your blessings. 

Here’s a super common example: Financial worry, regrets from the past, anxiety about future income.

Stop, think of 3 things you’re grateful for NOW, like… your breath, food on your plate, clean water you drink, your people to kiss and hug, the sunshine, your health, your freedom of choice, the internet. OMG so many.

And boom you’ve changed your thoughts from life sucking to life loving.

And boom, you will smile and feel better.

And boom your vibes will attract good vibes.

I’ve seen it, it works. Don’t believe me… just give it a go. What’s the best that can happen?

“Life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and the now.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

Always merrymaking,

Emma 

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