In just three days, I’ll be celebrating an important day – my 25th birthday. For me, birthdays have never been about presents. They’ve been about making our loved ones feel special, cared for and appreciated. In addition to this, I feel that birthdays are a good chance to reflect back on how far we’ve come in life and where our life is heading.
The idea of birthdays reminds me of a humorous news article that I came across the other day. It discussed age and maturity, and posed the question: “When do you know that you’re a grown up?”. Although the writer poked fun at what it was like to be older and responsible, the sentiment of the article was quite clear. You generally knew you were a grown up when you were making responsible decisions.
I feel as though I ‘grew’ up a long time ago, even before becoming a mother to three children. I was never the sort of teenager that partied hard; I wanted to live life with purpose. I wasn’t interested in smoking, drinking or dating a great number of boys. I wanted to discuss current affairs, converse with school teachers rather than my friends, and spend time in the library. I always felt out of place with my peer group because simply put, I held different values to them.
Even after meeting my husband at 17 and starting a family quite early, my responsible and sensible nature stayed in tact. I didn’t yearn for another life. I was happy to stay at home, to care for my children and to always put their needs before mine. It didn’t take much thought on my behalf because I knew I was doing the right thing.
I know I’ve grown up because I’m no longer someone who’s fragile and helpless. I’m no longer someone who feels compelled to run to someone else for assistance. I stand on my own two feet. I tackle problems head on. I’m someone who thinks long and hard about the present, as well as the future.
As a mother and wife, I know I have to think about all the important issues, even if it saddens me to think about them.
I know it’s important to think about…
- how I would cope emotionally and financially if my husband were to pass away before I did.
- who would look after our children, if something were to happen to both of us.
- life insurance, funeral plans, writing a will, the future of my family’s health.
I think about all these issues, because I know that turning a blind eye wouldn’t do me or my family any good.
The importance of health
That’s a big part of the reason why I chose to re-evaluate my physical health four years ago, going on to lose 24kg all on my own! (equal to 53 pounds.)
For those living in Australia, you probably know the current state of our health. Australia is still one of the top five most obese nations.
Here’s an infographic by RunStopShop, which illustrates why we Australians need to regain control of our health and our children’s health.
Source: Run Stop Shop
Our financial future
Just like with our health, we need to look at other issues that matter.
Although I am happily married myself, I know that divorce is a sad truth for many people.
For those who are considering divorce or are in the process of it, here is something worth thinking about.
Suncorp, one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest banks and the largest general insurance group, have recently produced a report which showed the importance of considering superannuation as part of your divorce settlement. Not taking super into account could add an incredible 10 years onto your working life!
The majority of happily married Australians expect to retire in their mid to late 60s, while divorcees expect to work well past 75, preventing them from getting the most out of their golden age.
Here’s an infographic from Suncorp.
The Hidden Super Cost of Divorce – An infographic by the team at Suncorp
Growing up isn’t such a bad thing
Sometimes being an adult can be a drag: bills to pay, housework to complete, sacrifices and decisions to be made.
But growing up and being responsible doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.
To me, growing up is about gaining control of your life. It’s about learning to be an individual, about securing a better future for yourself. It’s about being wise enough to make the important decisions.
Above all else, it’s choosing not to ignore the issues that matter. It’s worrying about the future, even if the present appears to be so ‘certain’.
I know that sometimes it’s scary to make these big decisions. But do you know what I think is even scarier?
Overlooking an issue, then letting it become a bigger problem.
So be responsible, be sensible and be mindful.
Don’t get caught up in worrying solely on the present. Have a good think about the future too.