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Ten Important Lessons I’ve Learned in Thirty Seven Years


By Emma Raho


This article was originally titled “Thirty Seven Things I’ve Learned in Thirty Seven Years” but I don’t think I’ve learned 37 things worth mentioning so I’m aiming for a more realistic 10 instead. 

I’ve come a long way since the self-loathing 16 year old version of myself who hated her wild red hair, skinny legs, and flat chest. While I have not morphed into the 6ft, bronzed, swishy haired goddess I always wanted to be, I have accepted and grown to love the 5ft 3, pale ginger gelfling I actually am. So while I’m definitely no life guru and continue to fuck up on a regular basis, here’s a quick compilation on some of the lessons I’ve learned so far.


1 Inspirational phrases and quotes mean nothing. “If you have a library and a garden you have everything you need” Cute narrative, and I appreciate the sentiment but let me know when ASB start taking leaves as mortgage payments and we’ll talk. Until that time, I need a pay cheque, gas, therapy, and wine. Unfortunately romantic notions have to eventually give way to real life, real responsibilities and real bullshit. 


2 Real actual ride or die friends are pretty rare. Liking someone, having heaps in common and hanging out, while fun, is not necessarily a solid friendship. Don’t be in a hurry to share everything with a brand new friend until genuine mutual trust and respect has developed. True friendships are like brewing kombucha – it can often take several attempts to get it right and you can’t have all the sweet stuff without some gritty bits. A real friend will show themselves as such by remaining by your side even when you’re at your lowest ebb. Hang onto these friends, they are your life force.


3 Regularly declutter in every sense. Your house, your wardrobe, the people you associate with, your social media… Anything you can think of. Weeding out physical clutter has the amazing effect of also creating space in your brain that will help you feel calmer and more in control. We live in a hectic world of mass consumerism, going against that grain is probably one of the biggest post modern acts of rebellion. 

4 There’s no such thing as a free pet. Doesn’t matter if it’s a cat, dog, guinea pig, turtle, or fish – pet supplies will always cost far more than the actual pet itself. Before you accept that “free” kitten on your local community FB page, or offer to rehome that cute puppy know that it’s likely going to cost you quite a lot in food, cattery/kennel fees, flea and worm treatments, and at the very least, one big fat vet bill from accident or illness on top of regular checkups and vaccinations. 


5 Don’t make big life decisions when you’re sad, lonely, depressed, horny, or in the first throes of love. It’s like going to the supermarket hungry – You’re gonna spend up large then regret everything. Life is a series of moments – love calms down, pain fades, everything changes. Yes you will eventually fall from the euphoric cloud of falling in love but by the same token you will find your way out of that knotty forest of anxiety and depression. Life often has a way of balancing itself out. Keep on keeping on. 


6 On a first date pay attention to the way they speak about others. Their family, their friends, and especially their ex (if they come up in conversation) If everyone in their life is awful and problematic according to them, look at the common denominator. The old saying “there are two sides to every story” is so very true. I really wish I’d paid more attention to this when I was younger, it would have saved me a lot of heartache. 


7 Your life is happening now. Don’t wait to get a new job, lose 10kg, find the partner of your dreams or any of that stuff. Drink it now, wear it now, do it now!   

8 Take responsibility when you screw up. Sometimes you’ve just got to throw your hands up, admit it, and ask for forgiveness. Don’t try and lessen it by blaming a third party or any other way of trying to justify what you have done. None of us are perfect or should expect others to be. However if you are a grown adult and have a general understanding of right and wrong and you willfully choose to do something you know you shouldn’t be doing, that’s on you irrespective of what may have prompted it. If you get sprung stealing, cheating, or any other kind of shady behaviour, trying to wiggle out of it just makes it worse. There comes a time when you have to admit what you’ve done and accept the consequences with good grace. 


9 Staying out of other people’s personal business is self preservation. I’m sure everyone reading this has found themselves embroiled in someone else’s relationship or friendship drama before either by choice or by implication. It’s easy to act on that when emotions are running high but if you do, you are 100% guaranteed to make it worse. If it doesn’t directly affect you, be there for your friend by offering comfort, support and a space to vent, but remember if it’s not your situation, it’s not your place to be judge and jury. Real life drama is always far more complex than it appears on the surface. If you feel like you’re being swept up in it all, try to take a step back from the situation before your own friendships, space, and mental health become affected. 


10 The best revenge is moving on. We’ve all heard the stories of prawns in the curtains or grass seed in the carpet and while we all have someone we’d love exact some petty revenge on it is just that: petty. In the long run, revenge does absolutely nothing to make you feel better and will more likely make you feel worse, especially if you decide to harm someone or destroy property and end up in trouble with the law. The best revenge you could possibly exact is to be the best version of yourself. I’m fabulous now bitch, bye.




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