What 35 REALLY Feels Like (and how to deal)…

Today is my birthday!

I’m 35, I keep repeating in my head, waiting for a shift, a boom, a bolt of lightening as maturity and endless wisdom kick in. But so far? Nothin.

I don’t quite know how I feel yet. I don’t know if I’m totally freaking out or if I’m really as cool as I say I am about being officially in my mid-thirties.

One thing that always haunts me is the phrase, Age is just a number. I’ve never really understood the whole reassuring aspect of it. Age is a number, yes, but how long can I go saying I’m in my thirties but feeling like I’m still eighteen? Eventually, shouldn’t I feel like a grown-up?

It reminds me of when the news tells me it’s going to be 10 degrees but feels like 15. The next day it could be 10 degrees again but feel like 8. There could be a whole week of 10-degree weather where not one day actually feels like 10 degrees, so we lose our baseline and start to forget what 10 degrees is actually like!

Okay, I’ll fess up, these digressions and rantings are all just a facade – a cover up because I don’t know how old I feel and I don’t know how I feel about it. Man, birthdays have a ways of making us oddly contemplative, don’t they? I guess I’ll just leave it alone until I’m sure.

Any time I start to go on these tangents I know I’m just procrastinating or distracting myself from a mess of feelings that I need to untangle. To do this (you can steal this technique too for when you catch yourself avoiding the BIG questions) is to start with what small things you know for sure.

For me, what I do know today is that I am truly grateful for all of my family and friends that came out and celebrated with me last night (and the impromptu animal balloon-making contest that topped it all off). The best part of the night for me though was when I looked around the room and totally blissed out at seeing all of my favourite people in one place.

I also know that I’m humbled, grateful and extremely privileged to have lived thirty-five years. In that time I’ve been surrounded by love, enjoyed endless opportunity and I’ve been blessed with good health and well-being; I’m a pretty lucky duck and I know it.

Some may say that this technique helps you go back to basics but I’m seeing now that I don’t see any of these things as basic at all. Love, health, family and friends are perhaps good fundamentals of a great life, but they’re not basic. Their fully enlightening, supercharged presence in our lives is a supreme and ethereal gift.

Talk about birthday reflection…Woah.

And on that note..time for cake!… (and more avoidance until the real impact kicks in…)

 

If you’ve got  some reflecting you  need to do, we should chat in a FREE consultation session. I’ve done my  fair share of reflection and gotten off-track, so I’ve developed proven ways to help  anyone get down with their bad (and good) self.  My one to  one coaching is about how in our thirties especially we are learning  to identify our true feelings and emotions and only  taking  action that speaks to our personal value system (AKA, the stuff people are talking  about when they say, “Just be yourself!… as if it’s so easy!)

Get in touch at support@ashewoodward.com

Or find more info at ashewoodward.com/coaching

Cuba Libre – My Vacation from WIFI

My husband and I got back from our vacation in Cuba on Tuesday. It’s a beautiful, laid-back place and so nice to get away from a piece of Toronto winter. But let me tell ya, instead of feeling refreshed and re-energized, I’m still riding the Caribbean-style, laid-back train. Cuba’s residue is still with me – the warm sun, no cooking for myself and most especially NO WIFI.

That’s right, you heard me – no WIFI at the hotel. It sounded scary to me at first too. I thought, will I go crazy? Will I really be able to really shut my business’s doors for a full week?

Having no choice kind of makes the decision for you but it also turned out to be such a blessing. I let go of my phone and emails to let my mind go blank – almost to the point where I couldn’t care less when the hotel staff was less than forgiving of my Spanish skills or our bus was more than 40 minutes late.

I really haven’t been able to reach this state in a while since I’m sure we all feel is near impossible when life is going on a mile a minute with text messages and social media posts to get to.

Letting go in Cuba was an amazing reminder of what life before technology was like. People actually just sit around and talk! They draw maps or they physically walk with you to show you their favourite place to eat. There’s no Uber. There’s no Yelp. And no one on Instagram is going to LIKE my seafood dish except me.

Then one day while we were in beautiful Havana, we came up to a park. I knew something looked a little ‘off’ but I couldn’t quite pinpoint it until I stared, bewildered, just a little longer. Then I realized it- everyone was on their phone. Every single person in the park had his or her head down and wasn’t talking to anyone around. It was really creepy. Apparently this was one of the ‘hot spots’ in the city that are few and far between.

After days of being without any connection I felt sad at first for what could be a very social and lively park. I almost shook my head with judgement.

Luckily, I caught myself because I realized that I almost didn’t notice how this picture stood out among the rest of the city. I almost didn’t catch it because it’s so commonplace at home.

It was such a quick moment but it made me realize how much I depend on technology and maybe even have a bit of an addiction (or maybe a big one…). But it also made me realize how lucky I am to have Internet in my home and be able to do business online.

Interestingly though, after only having to live about four days at that point without Google, I judged these people in the hot spot who were just trying to enjoy being connected to the world at large like anyone else.

It’s a strange feeling. And I think it’s a debate we are all having with ourselves more often . On one hand, if you’re in your thirties, you probably remember land lines and pen pals. I remember watching the entire countdown on MTV just to see my favourite Michael Jackson video at number one.

Without YouTube, we had to sit through all the other music too, which sometimes took all afternoon. And then when I wanted more, I would put on my MJ album, but be bursting at the seams to dance harder, knowing I couldn’t because it would make the record skip.

Ahhh, the good ol’ days.

There are the memories and there are the things I’m glad are in the past. I’m grateful for technology but I’m also grateful for vacations from it so I can get some perspective.

For me right now, I think I’m still trying to hang on to a little more of my disconnected life. Cuba reminded me so much of life before technology and social media ruled my time. And while I have no interest in going backwards or cutting out social media out completely I am making a commitment to be more aware of when I choose to have my head down.

Are you having this debate? Are you condemning technology on one hand but addicted to its conveniences on the other?

I’d say, before condemning technology, see what your experience as a thirtysomething can bring to it. For example, online dating may seem unnatural, so how can you add some good old fashioned charm to the conversation or make her feel like you can transport her to a simpler time? Go with the flowers or the mixed tape (or playlist), call instead of text, know where you’re going so you don’t need GPS.

What are your beliefs about social media? Does it make us more or less social? Does it make  YOU more or less social? When are other times you could make a phone call instead of sending a text or email?

OR, when could you send a personal email instead of resending a meme?

I’d love to get a personal email for you about your thoughts and questions. Contrary to what I said about technology, I AM ready to get to work with new clients, starting next week.

If you’re ready to get your priorities straight and start being the success you’ve always wanted to be, get in touch today! We’ll chat about where you’d like to go this next year and create an action plan to get you there whether it’s in your career, dating or spiritual life.

Let’s chat today – support@ashewoodward.com

For more info visit ashewoodward.com

Create Negativity for a Beautiful Life?

 

As some of us are gearing up for the holiday season, we are all pretty busy but also looking forward to maybe a little downtime before the new year.

I hope you’re finding time for reflection and thinking big for yourself in this next phase. Personally, 2016 was a building year for me – I met a lot of awesome people, made a bunch of new friends, and learned a heck of a lot about myself and business in general.

I’m soooo ready to take what I’ve learned and create some fantastic stuff in 2017 (and I can’t wait to share it all with you-soon!)

But right now, I too am in busy busy mode: wrapping gifts and wrapping up with clients for the year (see what I did there, lol!).

However, I’ve also left an nice meaty, chewy chunk of space, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to just… BE.

And, man, it’s hard to turn off sometimes. It’s become a world where it feels like if you’re not online, you’re off your rocker.

But I’m gonna try, cuz I need some space.

Maybe for you it’s not about a social media fast – maybe it’s something like going on a complain fast, or just taking some alone time for taking up a new hobby, just to challenge your brain in a different way.

The idea is that you’re creating some negative space, just like a painting.

For those of us who aren’t artists, it’s probably been a long time since we’ve heard any art theory terminology. So, just as a refresher…

Negative space is the non-painted or non-object area of a piece of art. It should always be taken into account when observing a piece because it can be as interesting as the piece itself or the painted portion itself. In other words, it’s not as negative as it sounds – it’s actually a really good, and really important part of creation.

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And, of course, I’m gonna say that it’s the same in life.

The part where you’re being creative, planning your strategies for success, taking action, celebrating achievements, raising kids, paying bills etc. is all the positive space – the obvious stuff that everyone sees.

In life, using your negative space is more like creating something other than your main ambitions to colour and fill in your life, all the way to the edges.

It’s the life you lead maybe when no one is watching and the life that you’re doing and not getting paid for. It might be some of the best stuff, actually.

So where in your life have you left space for the best stuff?

Where is the breathing room and the space to just BE?

Where have you created a beautiful space that makes you feel even more amazing?

This can be anything you conceive it to be, from your environment and the people you choose to keep around you, to the space you leave on your calendar for ‘movie and a pizza’ night.

Because, while it’s great to have a full calendar, it’s also important to leave some space to allow what you’ve created to stand on its own and be remarkable.

Without downtime and a step back at what you’ve done, it’s hard to see what amazingness you’re doing.

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And while it may seem important to ‘get out there’ and surround yourself with lots of people until you find ‘the one,’ or ‘the perfect client,’ it’s also important to be surrounded by great people that light you up.

That’s the job of the negative space – to highlight the positive.
(And, yes, that works for a lot of other areas in life too – cool, huh?)

So this year, when you’re reflecting on your 2016 and looking into 2017, ask yourself where can you see room to beautify your negative space and make it as interesting as the positive.

Where can you surround yourself with more love and beauty, more relaxation?

Where can you weed out some bad notches that never seem to bring out the best in you?

I’d love to know more about how you’re clearing your space and surrounding yourself with the more interesting and beautiful in this upcoming year. So leave a comment below or on the Facebook page.

And speaking of which…

I will be leaving some negative space between now and the New Year to refresh and recharge. I will still be keeping in touch with a weekly post and you can find me on Facebook and Twitter but the blog will resume in January 2017.

Thank you so much for reading this year, thirtysomeone. I love and appreciate all of your support and I’m honoured to be part of your crazy-amazing journey through your thirties.

Now, let’s cheers to this year and get ready for even bigger and better things in 2017.

Cheers!

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As always, you can find out more about me and what I do at ashewoodward.com. And to help you make solid goals for 2017, got to ashewoodward.com/downloadables to get your copy of The Thirtysomething’s Guide to Successful Goalmaking. It’s YOUR guide to a great year ahead.

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🙂