42 things I know, now that I’m 42
I never read introductions to list blogs, so let’s just dive in. These are in the order they fell out of my head. Lucy’s top life learnings from 42 years on Earth. Ready, spaghetti, go.
1. You meet the best people on the internet
Some of my best friends were found in the unlikely playground of Twitter and Facebook. My closest friends are the ones who send me “Howzit?” PMs at 4am and they’re the ones I send “proof of life” DMs when I am in unusual situations.
2. Panel interviews bore me to snores
I rarely appear in panel interviews and I never attend them at conferences. They’re never as juicy or memorable because the audience can’t be taken on a journey like they can be with one, cracking keynote speaker. If the next thing on the agenda is a panel interview, I go and find a good margarita.
3. Look after your health like your life depends on it.
4. No one cares if you are miserable
Well not for long anyway. So you may as well choose to be happy and get on with it.
5. Do what makes you smile as much as you can.
This sounds obvious but for decades I didn’t do what makes me smile nearly enough. Now I ride horses, I do hoola hoop and I play the ukulele. All things that make me smile.
6. You only have so much energy to spend each day.
Don’t spend any of it on trivial crap or emotional drama. While you are at it, gently phase out of your life any drama queens. Gorn!
7. Spend your dosh on experiences instead of stuff.
I’m most content when everything I own fits in my car and I have my next overseas adventure in my sights.
8. Sometimes you have to ask the universe out loud for something you really desire.
I asked the universe for Oprah tickets and they made their way to me within about three hours!
9. Whingers are the worst.
Don’t be one. Don’t breed them.
10. Housework is a bore but it is evidence that you have a house so that’s a good thing, right?
Vacuum in the nude like Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl and clean that bastard with gladness. That’s how I make housework bearable.
11. Curiosity without judgement is an approach that has served me well.
I’ve used it to moderate online communities mostly. Judging people just turns you into a bitter old cow. Don’t judge.
12. Playing dead seems to be the best way out of murderous situations.
I don’t know this first hand but it seems to be your only chance if you are shot at.
13. Nothing divides humans like the term “vaccination”.
But “circumcision” comes a close second.
14. Kids suck the life out of you.
The parenting journey is the most monstrous challenge I have ever signed up for. I am only part way through and I am so proud of my three kids that my head might fall off. However, I had no idea how much it would change my life and how ineffective I would become in other ways when three kids were my responsibility. I also had no idea that for the most part, Mum is just a euphemism for Referee.
15. Breakfast TV is the biggest waste of time.
If you catch yourself watching Morning TV all the way through to its poor cousin, Day Time TV, then you have time on your hands and you might need a project. Or you are in hospital and then I suppose you’re off the hook. If you are looking for a project, come and volunteer with me at Sunrise Cambodia.
16. Nothing good happens between 2am and 5am.
Unless you are cuddled up in bed with your lover and then that’s the most wonderful time of day of all.
17. Don’t bother caring what people think.
The day I stopped caring what other people think of me was the day I really took off. Professionally and personally. But this is a work in progress. Sometimes I catch myself paying attention to other’s opinions of me. Then I remind myself not to care.
18. Sometimes you have to kiss ass.
It feels revolting, but there are times during my career where I have not schmoozed the honchos and it has cost me dearly.
19. Life is too short for boring hair.
So do your version of a pink mohawk.
20. Age does come with wisdom.
I wish I was only twenty because this list could be finished now and I could have a nap. But then I would have learned a lot less. When I was 20, I was dumb as a post with energy to burn. When I say ‘dumb’ I mean naive. But ‘naive as a post’ doesn’t sound as good.
21. Be a social lubricant.
My friend Jessica Duffy is the most amazing conversationalist. She includes people, carries the conversation, cracks jokes and is the life of the party without being the centre of attention. Be like Jessica.
22. Don’t let yourself be offended easily.
23. Collect good people.
I’ve met the coolest people on the internet but I have also met wonderful people in the weirdest ways and they have become long-term friends. Naomi was my acupuncturist. Caroline was the nutritionist on a health retreat. Jen and Gai were the owners of a B+B we stayed in. Shane and Bernard were on the speaker’s trail. Nick was my Uber driver. Wendy was a particularly tricky negotiation between a property developer and her estate. Stay in touch. Support their businesses. Cheer them on. When it all hits the fan, it’s the Naomis, Carolines, Jens and Gais, Nicks, Shanes, Bernards and Wendys who will sooth you. And they will make your life richer and more interesting.
24. Look after your spine.
Your mum was right when she said sit up straight.
25. Never lend money with the expectation of repayment.
Give it as a gift and if it’s ever repaid then that’s a bonus. People are weird about giving money to friends. I have found it to be the most generous relief you can give someone suffering from financial stress – one of the worst stresses of all. Give it and never think of it again.
26. Instead of doing random acts of kindness, look for people who really need the kindness.
Don’t anonymously buy a coffee for the guy in the queue behind you. He’s probably a futures trader earning half a million bucks a year. Go and sit with the homeless dude with no legs and ask him what he really needs. I once offered a ticket to the Beach Boys to a homeless guy in a wheelchair. He said he’d sell it and buy a burger. So I bought him a burger instead and gave the ticket to a lonely man sitting by himself at the pub across the road from the concert. And I had two of the best conversations I’d had all year. I see the wheelchair guy in Bondi from time to time and he calls me Burger Woman. Funny boy.
27. Decide what to wear the night before.
Lay it on the chair by your bed. Undies and all. Then you can enjoy the extra 15 minutes in bed in the morning. Or make like Mark Zuckerberg and wear the same grey T shirt and jeans every day of your life.
28. Find experts and learn from them constantly.
So much knowledge is given away for free. Find the best in the game and glean their genius. That is how I learned how to wrangle social media.
29. No one gets things done by 3pm like the mother of school aged kids.
If you are in the position to hire people, consider a back to work mum or dad who can get the work load of a full timer done before school pick up. I developed what I called a “Family Friendly” contract which included a week off during every school holidays and the whole of January off too. This gave parents a way to work that still gives them time to be with their kids and that investment in them and their family came back to me as their boss, ten fold.
30. Don’t gossip and don’t tolerate it from others.
It’s one of the only things that makes me cranky. Gossip is the most worthless way to use your mouth or keyboard. And if you are on my team and you waste time, energy and goodwill on gossip, I will crack the shits.
31. Aim for the absolute top of the pops and then come down gradually if you have to.
I wanted well known men to interview for my first book. I wanted a surfer who was a dad so I asked Mark Ochillupo. He said yes! Then I wanted a boxer so I asked Danny Green and he said yes! Then I wanted some eye candy actor talent so I asked Simon Baker and he said no. That was a major let down because I would have flown to LA to interview him. Maybe next time. If you don’t ask you definitely won’t get a yes. Which leads me to my next learning…
32. No is not a terminal condition.
It is usually just no for now. I’ve turned lots of nos into YEAH BABYs by staying in touch and asking again when the time is right. You can read that from a professional view point or for your love life. You decide.
33. Pushing a human out your vagina is really hard work.
You need someone by your side who can handle it. You can do it. It’s your partner who needs to get prepared.
34. Don’t allow yourself to be tied down.
The best thing I ever did was sell a house I felt was tying me down to one place. It was a beautiful home but it didn’t nourish my brain or my heart. Freedom feels wonderful.
35. Nurture a strong wolf whistle.
It comes in very handy, for example, finding my 76-year-old mum on the other side of DJs. She pops up like a meerkat every time.
36. Embrace spontaneity.
Routine is the backbone of awesome but spontaneity sometimes steals the show. Some of my most memorable experiences have not been planned. Some of my biggest regrets have been hesitating and missing a fleeting chance.
37. If world-class was easy, everyone would be doing it.
I didn’t make that one up. I’m quoting a rah-rah-you-can-do-it motivator named Robin Sharma. World class is the only way to go. The mediocre section is all full up.
38. Nasty words are like weapons of mass destruction.
When you hurl them, they’re launched, a rain of bullets hurtling towards another person. I have learned the hard way to never say anything I need forgiveness for. Ever.
39. Anyone who says they have no regrets is lying.
I regret the motorcycle accident I had in my first year out of high school. Never have I lost a scar contest and never can I wear a skirt. I regret the drama that accident put my poor family through, big time. I have stacks of regrets, I just don’t let them bother me any more.
40. Never, ever sniff around those who are married or in long term relationships.
They’re off the market. Go play with the singles and keep your mits out of families. Simple.
41. Don’t spend any time trying to work out what someone else is thinking.
You will never work it out and you’re much better off doing some pelvic floor exercises or weeding the garden or going for a surf.
There’s so much more to learn. I’m just a sponge, more or less half way through this adventure. If you want to read more about the lessons I’ve learnt, check out my memoir, Get the Girls Out.