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45 Things I Know at 45...

2023 felt like a mammoth year as we settled into our new life in the US and moved house (for the third time in 12 months). The start of 2024 not only saw me turn 45 but also taking a breather from all the paperwork that involves moving countries, schools, and jobs and settle into a routine. While 45 is definitely heading towards middle age (gulp!), I enjoy not caring as much about the small stuff and (hopefully!) being a little wiser. So January seemed the perfect month to reflect on some of the best lessons I’ve learnt across all areas of life and I’m sharing 45 of them here in case any resonate with you.

On Life

  1. Better to regret something you do, than regret not doing it.

  2. Never fire off an angry email - sleep on it.

  3. Always have a good hairdresser, tailor, and aesthetician in your little black book.

  4. Get quiet and learn to trust yourself - no one knows you better than you.

  5. Invest in yourself, mentally, physically, and emotionally - you are worth it.

  6. If you’re not naturally optimistic (like me), surround yourself with optimistic people - they make life more enjoyable.

  7. You don’t have to finish the book/film/TV series/podcast if you’re not enjoying it.

  8. Avoid burning bridges.

On Parenting

  1. Parenting a child forces you to learn about yourself all over again.

  2. The time really does fly - make the most of it.

  3. Once you have a child, you understand your own parents on a whole new level.

  4. If you want to know the truth, ask a kid.

  5. Worrying about your child doesn’t help, it just steals the joy from the present moment.

  6. Nobody really knows what they’re doing when it comes to parenting - choose your sources of information carefully and allow space for your own instincts.

  7. Before having children, spend as much time talking with your partner about parenting styles as you do choosing a name.

On Writing

  1. The busier your life is, the less likely you are to procrastinate during your writing session.

  2. The magic is in the editing.

  3. Always negotiate more time than you think you’ll need to deliver your work.

  4. Writing is like talking therapy - you never know what will come out until you start.

  5. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love to receive a hand-written letter.

  6. Knowing the ending of your book can save you a lot of time.

  7. Write for 5 minutes or 5 hours, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re consistent.

  8. There is no hurry. Many authors are successful later in life and that’s because they’ve had valuable experience to draw upon for their work.

On Living Abroad

  1. If you want to grow and challenge yourself, live overseas for at least a year.

  2. You will enjoy living abroad more if you make it a priority to get out and meet people.

  3. Know the laws and cultural expectations of the place you are moving to.

  4. Pack as many tea-bags as you can into your suitcase.

  5. Expect it to take a least a year to settle into a new country.

  6. If it’s your first time moving abroad, choose a country where you speak the language - it will make you feel less isolated.

  7. You will feel homesick…but you’ll also have the most memorable time of your life.

  8. Moving abroad as a single person is very different to moving as a family - choose your timing carefully.

On Health

  1. A solo weekend in a hotel with room service and a pile of books to read will do wonders for your well-being.

  2. The older you get, the harder it gets to move - mobility exercises are not just for recovering from an injury.

  3. Sometimes, you just need a duvet day.

  4. Good health can often be about removing things from your life rather than adding to it.

  5. Prevention is better than cure.

  6. Walking is a seriously under-rated form of exercise.

On Relationships

  1. Marry someone who is willing to fight for you.

  2. Good relationships don’t just happen - you have to make the time.

  3. The loss of a good friendship can be painful - take the time to grieve properly.

  4. Networking is a skill that can (and should be) learned. It will pay dividends.

  5. The most important relationship is the one with yourself.

  6. If your friend sets up a business, support them in whichever way you can, whether that’s buying from them or recommending them - it will mean more than you know.

  7. Our ability to empathize is declining at an alarming rate - don’t be part of that statistic.

  8. As much I love social media, nothing beats a face-to-face interaction.

What would you put on your list?

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I'm Karen, a best-selling novelist who left her corporate life to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Since then, I've written everything from travel articles to web copy before winning a novel writing competition which led to a 3-book deal. 


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