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Blog Short #179: 9 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger

Photo by MarioGuti, Courtesy of iStock Photo

I was listening to a podcast today by a successful entrepreneur and copywriting expert. She talked about starting her career in her 50s, and although she had some trepidation about doing that, she also found being older was an asset and gave her a leg up in her journey.

The podcast was an interview done by ​Amy Porterfield​, a very successful woman in her 40s who teaches people how to create successful online courses.

I bring all this up because I’m in my 70s and creating my first online course using Amy’s instructions and valuable knowledge.

As I listened to the podcast, I began thinking about the differences between being 40 and 70 and what I’ve learned in my 70s that I wish I had known in my 40s—and, better yet, in my 20s and 30s.

I’m going to share those ideas with you today. You can use them no matter how old you are or where you are in life right now.

1. Learning never stops unless you quit it.

I didn’t grow up with the internet, computers, or AI, and all the tech kids growing up today will take for granted because they’ve never been without it. Whether that’s good or bad, depending on your point of view, it is a divide that many older people resist.

However, if you keep an open mind and enjoy expanding your vision, you can continue learning and sharpen your brain in ways you never would have imagined.

Life is learning, so embrace it. I didn’t start writing until I was in my 50s, and over the last five years, I’ve greatly enjoyed learning some computer code, web design, graphic production, and course development. Right now, I’m delving into AI. I also read constantly and never tire of new ideas. I will continue to do that until I can no longer do it.

Learning enriches life and helps you evolve.

2. Experience and aging give you an upper edge.

If you see your life as an ongoing psychological, social, emotional, and intellectual process, you become wiser. Not only that, but less driven by ego-inspired emotions.

In my 20s, I mostly focused on trying to fit in, figuring out my identity, and looking toward a career. Those pursuits are all consuming at that age, as they need to be, but it’s very relieving not to have to put energy into becoming “someone” and instead just experiencing who you are without worrying what anyone else thinks about that. It leaves you open to using all you’ve learned to be a better person.

So, what’s the bottom line here?

Don’t try to be someone. You already are someone. Work at expressing your gifts rather than seeing them as something outside of you that you need obtain.

3. Everyone is insecure.

You might argue with that, but we all worry at some point about how we’re perceived, how we perform, and whether we fit in. It’s part of our DNA to think about those things.

As you get older, you recognize that even the most confident person has problems and insecurities. That helps you feel compassion for everyone, regardless of who or what they are.

You realize we’re all connected, and “what I do to you, I do to myself.”

That changes everything. It opens you up and helps you appreciate the kaleidoscope of variations and differences among us, including your own. You belong, as does everyone. Knowing that makes a difference in how you interact.

4. There is no “over the hill.”

I’ve never liked that phrase because it implies that, at a certain point, you should just stop trying and hang it up. Not so. That’s an attitude you can cop to, but it isn’t true.

Life is a series of ups and downs. You don’t go up in a straight line and then come down in a straight line.

If you make the most of what you have, you will evolve upwards, even though the path is wavy.

And, if we’re talking metaphysics, there’s always the possibility you have many lives. If that were true, then this one is just one episode.

Either way, life, as we know it, is a series of episodes, but when you tie them together and apply meaning to them, there’s fulfillment.

5. Relationships matter.

We’re social beings, and connection is a necessary part of our existence. It’s in our genes, and it’s important to embrace that.

When you think of all the things you contend with daily – your job, work, or career, homemaking, finances, and relationships – which is the most important?

For many, work takes precedence, and we put lots of energy into it. After all, you spend most of your waking hours working. You make goals, pursue them, track them, make new goals, change jobs, find new careers, get stuck in a job, and on and on and on.

Work is important, for sure, but not more important than relationships. Aging makes you very aware of that.

If you end up with a big bank account and no one to share it with, what’s the point?

Even if you like being alone, something is missing without close, intimate relationships. Make that a priority. Attend to them and nurture them.

6. Being is more important than doing.

Who you are, your character, your conscience, and how you treat people are by far more important than all your achievements and accomplishments.

What you do should express your character, and when that’s the case, you’re more successful because your actions align with what you value.

7. Being right isn’t so necessary.

When you find yourself in opposition to someone else’s point of view, it’s natural to want to plead your case and come out on top. That’s just part of having an ego, but the more secure you feel with yourself, the less ego gets in your way, and being right doesn’t matter so much. Being kind matters more.

You still hold to your values and beliefs, but don’t feel you must convince everyone else that you’re right. You might persist when you think there’s a danger involved to you or someone else, but for more minor things, you can be tolerant and not need to prove yourself in every conversation. It’s very relieving!

There’s a recognition that everyone’s moving along at their own pace, and you don’t need to push.

8. You are responsible for your emotions.

It took me a long time to get on board with this, but it’s true, and knowing it makes things easier in two critical ways.

  1. First, it helps to distinguish between someone stimulating a feeling in you by their behavior and the need to act on it. Things and people stimulate feelings in us all the time, but accepting and expressing them is on us. Knowing that helps you avoid suppressing your feelings while also allowing you to gain some space between feeling them and deciding how you want to respond. It’s so much easier than reacting to every little thing.
  2. The second is that it helps you decide when to set boundaries. If you’re involved with someone who consistently stimulates negative feelings or brings out the worst in you, it’s time to set limits, and sometimes permanently.

9. An “us and them” mentality is harmful.

“Us and them” denies the variations and many iterations of human life. It’s like looking through a prism, and instead of seeing all the colors as part of the variations of light dispersed through a single lens, you see each color as separate and fighting with the others for position.

When you appreciate those variations and differences, you can peacefully coexist and work together.

I sound like a “60s” flower child, I’m sure, but it’s not that simple. I’m not saying you should accept the unconscionable or immoral, but rather that we all have something to offer.

Accepting differences in temperament, talents, ideas, and gifts improves life. It’s a good thing we’re not all alike. We wouldn’t survive if that were the case.

A Final Note

Getting older and wiser means letting go of your ego and understanding that you don’t need to waste your time defining your territory. It’s relaxing into who you are and what you have to offer while being appreciative of everyone’s contributions.

That’s all for today!

Have a great week!

All my best,


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