10 startling realizations I had before 40

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to own way fewer things? 

Imagine for a moment what that might mean to you... maybe fewer clothes, fewer games and magazines, fewer devices and chargers, less beauty products, fewer batteries and light bulbs... maybe it would be a smaller home or fewer cars, or maybe no car? I could go on, but you get the point.  

A few years ago, my husband and I came to a powerful realization, that there was more to life than paying monthly bills that created stress in order to have a lot of nice things that we barely used.  

We had new toys sitting on shelves that were getting dusty, that had never been played with. We had books and magazines that would sit for weeks without being read.  Our cupboards were always jam packed with food and other items that sat for months without being consumed. We had clothes that never got worn.

So, with a growing family in tow, we decided to sell up and downsize. We gave up our large forever home and at least half of our worldly possessions in exchange for a smaller amount of space and a simpler life.  

Like any big change, it was challenging at first, but bit by bit it has became easier to the point where we love the increased ease and (ironically) space! it creates in our lives. There is a distinct freedom, an unburdening and a great lightness that comes along with it.

I've often wondered where our need for more comes from and why more is often perceived as better? I imagine the answers to these questions vary greatly for all of us. 

Certainly the idea of downsizing and having less comes with baggage.

It suggests going backwards, regressing, shrinking. We often hear the word used in the context of a recession, and people losing their jobs. It's frequently used in the context of seniors and retirement, suggesting that there is a right time to downsize when we're no longer able to maintain things or in need of as much space. 

We come to a realization late in life, when we become more aware of our own mortality, about the things that matter most to us and are important to us. Up until that point, many of us work long tireless hours, in jobs we are not passionate about, to earn more money, to pay larger bills, to buy things we don't need.

This kind of realization is a like an awakening from a long deep sleep.

Being aware of our mortality can lead to an awakening to the true beauty and uniqueness of each moment. We become more keenly aware of the miracle of an ordinary day. We see all that life is and what a gift we've been given.  We begin to stir and shift in ourselves. We feel a connection to nature and all of life around us. Life becomes magical and unknowing.   

If you knew your time was limited on earth, or you recognized your own mortality sooner in life, would you make any changes? Would you do things differently?

One of my mentors said to me (let's just say recently!) by the time you turn 40, if you're not thinking about death (and the truly short span of life that you have to live on this planet) at least once a day, you may just miss out on this great adventure we call life.

I thank my lucky stars that before I turned 40 I came to some powerful and wakeful realizations about life and what really matters.  I'm full of gratitude to be living a life with more awareness, more acceptance, more curiosity and more energy and passion for life!

These 10 realizations have made me more confident with who I am and where I am in life. Perhaps they will resonate with you? 

1# Being a hyper-busy, multi-tasking doer, does not lead to greater success in life.

2# Working night and day because you have too many bills to pay is futile. 

3# The more space we have, the more we fill it with things we don't need.

4# Nothing can be done about yesterday or tomorrow, but we can live for today.

5# Life is not a relay race. The faster we run, the less we achieve.

6# Striving for more money to buy more things, does not equal more happiness.

7# Our emotional, physical and spiritual health should be our no. 1 priority.

8# Slowing down and taking time to do nothing makes us better humans. 

9# Turning towards adversity and pain is the best way to get through them.

10# We already have everything we need to be happy, right here and now.

The truth is, I love knowing that every day is a brand new opportunity to wake up to what we have. To see how lucky we truly are.

I remember the moment when I had this realization too: 

When we do things because we love to do them, and not because we feel we need to do them, suddenly there's a shift. We become stronger, more resilient and better people. And when that happens, all those around us benefit and feel the positive impact. Imagine the possibilities of creating that positive impact everyday in your work and life.

What do you think about some of these realizations? What realizations have you had that have changed life for the better? I'd love to know.

(Image Copyright: Ditty_about_summer/Shutterstock)