I’m turning 32 next month. I know, it’s kind of crazy. I don’t know how I feel about it, to be honest.
Sometime next month, I’ll probably do a list of things I’ve learned in my 32 years. It’s sure to be long, and rather weepy.
But I wanted to share with you today the biggest, most important thing I’ve learned in my 32 years.
You have got to be the boss of your own life.
It’s just that simple, and just that hard. If you’re a legal adult, whatever age that is where you live, you are totally responsible for your life.
When I first turned eighteen and moved out on my own, I was so not the boss of my own life. I let my mom pick out my first apartment. I listened to her when it came to raising my infant daughter. I let my ex walk all over me, and tell me how we were going to live our lives. I did what I was raised to do, and taught to do. I kept a home and took care of my daughter.
That all stopped when I realized something profound: I knew better than them, and I was still listening to them! They were running their own lives poorly, and I was letting them run mine, too. I stopped listening to them, then, and started listening to myself.
Over the years, I’ve realized that being the boss of my own life means so much more than just standing up for myself. It’s also about taking care of myself, the people who depend on me, and my future.
Taking care of yourself
Just in case this is the first PBW post you’ve ever read, I stand by one policy before any other. Fill your own cup first. Way too often, I see people who look after others neglect themselves. I’m someone with mild depression, in a home with a husband and child with serious depression. Sometimes I feel selfish when I say I’m feeling depressed because they’re way worse.
That’s dumb. Just because they’re worse doesn’t mean I’m not bad. It’s like having a cold when everyone else in the house is down with the flu. I sometimes need to remember that I can get worse.
Even if you’re not dealing with emotional issues, you still need to take care of yourself first.
Now, maybe that’s not you. Maybe you’re one of those people who are being taken care of. I’ve known full adults who don’t make their own doctor’s appointments, for instance. Really, that’s not acceptable. If you’re living on your own, you should be doing all of the following things.
- Paying your bills. Or, at least participating in making a budget with your partner.
- Making your doctor’s appointments.
- Cooking your own meals, or at least take turns with someone you live with to cook meals.
- Sew a seam, and sew a button on.
- Shop for clothing that is comfortable, fits you well and is a good color for you.
Even if you have a partner that does some of these things for you, you need to learn to do them for yourself. Because there’s no guarantee they’ll be there forever. And you don’t want to be the forty-three-year-old eating macaroni and cheese and microwaved hot dogs because you never learned how to cook.
Taking care of your surroundings
Taking care of my home is something I’ve struggled with a lot over the years. I never really learned how to take care of my home until recently. I talk about the FlyLady all the time, and it’s for a good reason. The biggest lesson I learned from her was that my home is my own, and I don’t have to keep it to my mother’s standards.
I have my level of clean, and it’s okay. I’m happy to keep my home to my level of clean, which is comfortable for me and my family.
My husband and I have also learned to make minor repairs around the house. If we don’t know how to do something, we learn how to do it. I’m not saying we can rewire a house. But we did replace all the pipes under our sink.
Knowing how to do small repairs means we’re more comfortable owning our own home. It means that if something breaks now, while we’re renters, we can take ownership of the situation. Rather than having to call our landlady and asking her to please have someone come by, when it’s convenient, we can call and tell her there was an issue, and we fixed it. That’s a far better conversation to have on both sides.
Taking care of our surroundings has also meant having a real and honest conversation about owning a home. Most American’s consider homeownership to be a worthy goal for everyone. A piece of property can be something worthwhile. Something you can pass down to your kids. And renting is like throwing money away, right?
Wrong. Sometimes it makes more sense to buy a house than rent. Sometimes it really doesn’t. We’re still, honestly, on the fence. It can be financially draining if you’re not careful. I’m not a financial advisor, so I can’t go into too much detail responsibly. What I can say is make the decision based on what’s best for your family and lifestyle. Don’t buy a house because you think that’s what people are supposed to do.
Taking care of your future
That brings us nicely into our next topic. As soon as you’re on your own, you need to be thinking about your own future.
I know that for some of my readers my age or younger, retirement seems like a lifetime away. And you’re right, it is. But a lifetime isn’t as long as you think it is.
I advise using the Dave Ramsey baby steps. Get your emergency fund, your debt paid down, and make sure you’re never in a situation where you have to depend on others to take care of you in your old age.
Of course, it’ll be a lot easier to save for the future if you know what you really want from your life. I mean, what you really want?
Personally, I want to quit my day job after my kid moves out of the house. I want to write full time, supporting myself and my husband. We want to buy an RV, live in it, and travel everywhere. That’s my life’s goal. I’m not there yet. But as the boss of my own life, I’m going to get there.
Finally, if you’re going to be the boss of your own life, you need to get comfortable asking questions. I learned quickly that no one is going to show up with the answers to everything you’re wondering. No one was going to teach me how to self-publish my book if I didn’t go out and ask the question.
We aren’t taught everything we need to know in school, and our parents don’t always get around to it. But there’s never been a better time to learn things. Ask Google, check Wikipedia, watch a YouTube video. Learn about whatever it is you need to know. Because knowing what you’re doing, and not having to rely on someone else to do things for you, is what gives you the real power to be the boss of your life.
In Devon’s world, magical work is as common as turning a pot or fletching an arrow. What isn’t common is a man with thread magic. When Devon finds that he is a seer, weaving prophetic tapestries, his family tries to keep it a secret.
But the family can’t hide Devon’s visions after he predicts a devastating plague in the dragon lands of Coveline. He travels there to help the dragon queen save her people.
Meanwhile, Devon’s sister Lenore joins the Church of Singular Light. As Lenore learns to serve, and falls in love with her city, she discovers a dark underbelly to the church.
Lenore fights for her city, and Devon rushes to find a cure to the plague, while an unseen enemy raises an army to destroy Septa from within. Click here to get it now.