It happened last week. My 28th birthday. The big 3-0 is officially just around the river bend, but do you know what? I’m OK with it. I wouldn’t ever want to wish my life away, but everyone keeps telling me that your 30s are your best years, and I can totally understand why that might be. I mean, you’re likely to have more disposable income, you might be married and have started a family at this point, you’ve hopefully settled into a career that you love (but if not yet, don’t worry!) but most importantly, the majority will be lucky enough to have secured an amazing community around them. Your “ride or dies”. The ones you’ve cried uncontrollably on until you had no more tears left, and laughed so hard with you spat Diet Coke out your nose.
You know who these people are. As soon as you read that sentence, their faces popped into your head. You might’ve even cracked a little smile, remembering a funny story that will never cease to make you crease with laughter. These are your tribe, and you couldn’t (nor would you want to) imagine your life without them. These are exactly the people who are meant to be in your life, and you in theirs. Your squad, however many of them there are, are exactly who you should be investing your time in.
“They are your “ride or dies”. The ones you’ve cried uncontrollably on until you had no more tears left, and laughed so hard with you spat Diet Coke out your nose.”
We have a tendency however to take these people for granted. We’ve gotten so used to them being present, we’ve kind of stopped making as much of an effort anymore. Note how I’m using the term “we”, as I for one can definitely hold my hands up and say that I’m not the best at keeping in touch with people. I am quite busy and can find that the days just run away from me, but then I’ll suddenly realise that I haven’t spoken to one of my closest friends for well over a week. Truth is, we’re all busy. It takes less than a minute to send someone a text to ask them how they are, or even better, arrange a coffee date to ask them in person. I’m trying to improve on this. It might be worth asking yourself when you last called someone up to see how they are.
Life can sometimes swallow us up, and I hate to break it to you if you’re younger than me, but it doesn’t really let up as you get older. Hours fly faster, days become more hectic and weekends come round again as soon as you’ve finished your Monday morning skinny, double shot, extra frothy macchiato. Make a conscious effort every weekend to see at least one of these people you thought of when you began reading this post. Life is really not about feeling like you do nothing beside work, it’s about spending quality time with those who want to spend it with you also. Pick up the phone, and make a brunch date with someone for this week or weekend. Try and make a habit out of it every week, even if it’s just popping over for a cuppa. Invest your time, you have more of it than you think.
“It takes less than a minute to send someone a text to ask them how they are, or even better, arrange a coffee date to ask them in person”
On the flip side, there are some people that will walk into your life whom you should definitely not invest your time in. You know who these people are as well, but you’re maybe just a little less inclined to identify them. The players, the users, the ones who only talk to you when they need something. I’m sure a few faces have popped into your head. In short, if someone does not make you feel good when you are around them, you need to cut them from your life. Whoever does not serve you, does not deserve you. You should never come away from an interaction with someone feeling drained, slightly debilitated, patronised or unsettled. These are the people who do not belong in your life, and you should not waste any more energy on them.
Imagine you’re stood in front of a vending machine. It contains your absolute favourite chocolate bar that you’ve been craving for ages, it’s exactly what you want! You’re excited as you pull change out of your purse and start pumping coins through the slot… Only to have them spat back out at you. You stand for a second slightly confused, and massively disappointed. You pick the coins up from the dirty floor, and pump them back in again. And again. And again. On each attempt you’re no closer to getting what you want, but you keep trying. At some point it’s going to have to accept you right? Just one last go. No. People around you are staring. You’re looking a bit desperate, and you’re highly embarrassed. You still want the chocolate bar, more than ever actually, but you’ve come to the realisation that you’re not going to get it.
“There are some people that will walk into your life whom you should definitely not invest your time in. You know who these people are as well, but you’re maybe just a little less inclined to identify them”
Moral of the story; don’t put more into someone than you’re getting out. Don’t let someone spit your invested time and effort back in your face. Know who your tribe are, and know who are the broken vending machines. Your time and your “spare change” are very precious. Understand where you should be investing, and what the return on that investment will be. Last time I checked, you didn’t need a degree in economics to work that out.