6 Life Lessons at 30

I turn 30 this month and it’s got me reflecting on the person I am today and how I got here. I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned along the way in hopes that maybe you won’t have to learn the hard way like I did. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. It’s not my spouse’s job to make me happy. Ever since having kids, we’ve spent more time at home with the girls and with each other. Before having kids, we would regularly go out and partake in hobbies that didn’t involve each other and that was really healthy for us. After having kids and being on maternity leave and largely alone (yes I was talking to my baby but she was a baby), I craved social interaction with adults. I relied heavily on my husband for that because he was always there. He has been so great through all this but I relied too much on him. I needed to find my own happiness and rediscover the things that I enjoy doing. For me, that’s painting, baking, exercising, and dance. I’ve spent the last year working on that and it’s felt so good.
  2. Pick your battles. This is key in parenting! Haha any parent of toddlers will tell you that toddlers are really good at driving you crazy. My husband and I have started to ask ourselves, “Is this the hill I want to die on?” to help us decide how we react to our girls fighting us on things. There’s no swift quick rule for easy decision making. We have to consider the context in terms of the type of day we’ve had, the energy we have, and whether it’s really a big deal or if we just wanted the girls to behave a certain way. This has also been helpful in terms of dealing with difficult people at work and also other family members (everyone has an awkward crazy aunt right?)
  3. It’s okay to say no. I’ve always been a people pleaser and I couldn’t stand it when someone was mad at me. For that reason, I’ve often kept my opinions to myself and internalized things that may have annoyed me. After having kids and getting constant unwanted and unwarranted parenting advice (sometimes from people who don’t even have kids!), I’ve learned to speak up for myself. There’s something about having kids, being sleep-deprived, and running purely on caffeine that gives you a take-no-shit attitude. I’ve learned to be more diplomatic and better at saying no to certain things. I wish I’d learned this earlier in life because the first time I realized I could say no to something, it led to some huge fights. It’s the same with anger right? It’s better to address it sooner than later and not to let it build up and fester inside of you.
  4. Quality over quantity. This has been especially true in terms of clothes and friends. For clothes, I went through a huge closet clean out after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and it was so liberating getting rid of clothes that I had been holding on to but didn’t enjoy or wear. I used to hold on to items of clothing because what if a very specific situation came up and I need to keep this top for that exact scenario?!
    For friends, this is about the number of friendships I can realistically maintain but also the time spent with them. I reminisce about the high school days where we could spend night after night hanging out, watching movies, and going for sushi. It’s a little harder to do that now, with a family and work, so my friends and I meet together less often. But when we do, we make it count.
  5. I am my mother’s daughter. I love my mom but I think some of us can relate to saying “When I’m a mom, I’m not going to be like my mother!” We’re only human and everyone has their flaws. My mother had hers and I vowed to my husband that I would not become her in those ways. I’d say 95% of the time, I’m in control of my parenting and my husband and I are doing it the way we believe is best. But then, shit happens, COVID-19 happens, and it’s a stressful time and I end up reverting back to how my mom parented me and I’m not proud. I lose my temper and I raise my voice with the girls and I instantly regret my actions when I see the look of fear in my daughter’s eyes. We all come with this baggage of how we were raised and that’s our default when we go to raise our own children. It takes a lot of effort and self-awareness to change but I desperately know I want to for my girls.
  6. Communication is key. Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg was a game changer. I highly recommend this book because it’s impactful in every aspect of life because communication is a part of our every day and it’s a part of every relationship we have. I don’t want to give any of it away but how it’s helped me to is to better communicate how I’m feeling and what I want. It’s interesting because the English language and how we use it today can easily lead to “violent” or confrontational communication and for some reason, English doesn’t allow us to fully communicate how we actually feel. If this at all seems cryptic, read the book and it’ll make so much more sense!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Advertisement

The Power of “Yet”

This post is inspired by this talk given by Carol Dweck about Developing a Growth Mindset. I highly recommend that you watch the short 9 minute talk because it’s applicable in many areas of life.

When I was a child and teenager, I excessively pressured myself to get good grades and excel in academics. I did well in high school but when I got into university, I had a rude awakening. For one thing, everyone was smart because everyone got into university. Secondly, the challenges crippled me in my first year.

I graduated from high school with the intention of becoming a doctor. I thought this was achievable because I had done so well in high school and I anticipated university would be much of the same. I was definitely naïve to think that but no one had told me differently. Reflecting on it now, a little more than 10 years out of high school, I’ve had a bit of an epiphany?

When I was going through school, I can’t recall any teacher ever approaching classes and assessments with a growth mindset. It was the traditional pass or fail and I, luckily (or unluckily?), only knew and experienced the pass category. Because I did well at school, I never got to experience failing a test so I didn’t know what to do with myself when I failed my first ever midterm in university. As Carol put it in her talk, I was devastated because my core intelligence had been tested and I had failed miserably. At the time, I freaked out. I didn’t have a growth mindset at the time but I’d like to think that I’ve grown a lot since then and if I were to go back to university now I wouldn’t have been so devastated by my first “fail”.

Back then, my first fail felt like the ultimate failure. It felt like some odd confirmation that I indeed was stupid and wouldn’t be able to tough it out in sciences and to become a doctor. It “confirmed” all the insecurities I had been feeling in that first semester of university. Sadly, I let it guide me decision-making for the remainder of my undergraduate degree.

Now, I don’t regret studying business and the path I’ve been on. I believe that everything happens for a reason and it’s strangely satisfying to reflect on something I did 10 years ago with the knowledge I have now. 20/20 hindsight am I right?  I may have done the exact same things if I had a growth mindset at the time but maybe I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself.

I can’t recall when I started developing my growth mindset but I’m glad I did. I hope to instill it in my daughters at an early age as well so that they realize it’s not the end result that counts so much. It’s the effort they put in and their attitude towards it. I don’t want them to feel stupid because they didn’t do well on a single test. I believe we can learn to be better learners and my daughters will be able to do whatever they put their minds to. My daughters are still under the age of 5 but how my husband and I are trying to instill a growth mindset now is by praising them wisely. We praise them for their process in solving a problem. We praise them for trying again and again. We encourage them to find alternatives. We let them make mistakes.

I will also keep this in mind as I get into training and development. Just because I’ll be working with adults, doesn’t mean they won’t be sensitive or be affected by this sort of stuff.  If you have any resources or articles that are along these lines please share them below because I’d love to look into it more! Thanks for stopping by and reading. 🙂

Some Practical Considerations

I can’t believe I’m nearing the end of my second course in the VCC eLearning/Online Instruction Certificate Program. It’s been a whirlwind, a bit of a struggle, but also very enriching. I’m truly looking forward to the final course, EDUC 4152, because I’ll get to build a module or two of this course I’ve been envisioning in my head for my work place. Although I do love reading lots and lots of research papers (wink wink nudge nudge), I’m really excited for the practical part of creating something with everything I’ve learnt.

With that being said, I did get a taste of the process in EDUC 4151 when we had to plan out a course and plan out one module. It got me thinking that there’s a lot to consider when planning a course and here are my top 3 in terms of being practical:

  1. Balance of time, resources, and quality. It’s easy to say that my course will consist of a series of videos but that means I’ll have to record and edit those videos too. I want my videos to be engaging so I couldn’t simply plop myself in front of my camera and babble away. I have novice video editing skills but to make something more engaging, I may need to learn new software or resourcefully achieve the same effect with my current skill set. It’s going to be a balancing act plus a possible learning curve.
  2. Know the audience. Just like in face to face teaching, your delivery and organization should be tailored to the students/audience. For my audience, they may not require the videos to be high production level quality. Rather, they want simple and easy to follow instructions and explanations. I’ll also have to keep in mind how they’ll likely be viewing the course, whether it’s on a desktop, phone, or tablet because that’ll impact how much I’ll want to zoom in in the videos.
  3. Maintain alignment. Sometimes it’s tempting to get swept up in new apps or trying to make something look cool or pretty. I’ll have to remind myself to keep coming back to the learning objectives and ensuring the content, activities, and assessments help meet the learning objectives. Doing a quick S.E.C.T.I.O.N.S. analysis will be beneficial as well.

While these 3 will be the main ones on my mind in EDUC 4152, there is one more that I will most definitely consider when I’m working and that is creating/following quality guidelines. It’ll be a good way to review a course/module and ensure all the boxes have been checked.