Thirty is the new Fifty

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Thirty is the new Fifty
Photo by Bernard Goldbach

Today I found out that a good friend of mind had a heart attack. It’s scary when you’re in your fifties and you get struck by one, but what if you’re thirty-one like she is? It’s downright frightening.

I called her to tell her that she was in my thoughts and that I would pray for her and repeated what I been telling her for months – “please hun you have got to slow down and learn to take it easy!”
You see, the thing with my good friend – let’s call her Amanda – is that she is the kind of woman who represents this modern I-can-do-anything supermom. She, like many of us, wants to have it all. A big house. A holiday house for the weekends. A happy family. A good stable full time job. A nice car. Maybe even two cars. A nice boat. And a side business as well… and the list goes on. The only thing that nobody tells you is that juggling all of these is hard work! And along with this hard work is something the modern world knows a lot about – it’s stress.
Stress is not an adversary. Sometimes it can positively impact your life and you know this when it helps to serve you in a helpful way. It can help motivate you to complete deadlines. It can help you to direct your energy into finishing various projects such as planning a party or preparing dinner for the family.
However stress can also negatively impact your life and you know when it is not helpful when it lowers your energy reserves and you feel zapped of energy. This is how I know my girl friend was being affected by stress in a negative way. She was feeling run down a lot and was having trouble sleeping. Consequently, this lack of sleep and overall tiredness reduced her immune system and thus she would get sick more often. Every so often she was either suffering from a headache or she had a cold.
I noticed this when she would give me a run down of her plans for the week – working, cooking dinner, preparing a party, working on a project for her side business. The woman was making me tired just hearing about all the things she needed to get done! I always asked her to make sure she scheduled some down time and she needed to learn to relax and learn that it was okay to have some time for herself.

Now months of not paying attention to the warning signs of her body, she’s had a heart attack and just been released from hospital. She was finally forced to slow down and forced to take some rest. I learnt this hard lesson myself several years ago. I was living the fast life, working hard and playing hard. I suffered what I think was my own version of a nervous breakdown (low energy, no fun to be around, crying over spilled milk, relationship issues, and generally just burnt out). I was given some time off work and when I came back, I quit. To the astonishment and wonder of all of those around me, I let go of the one thing that I thought gave me my identity and happiness. My job.

That was the start of my spiritual journey – realising that being part of the rat race wasn’t for me. It is an illusion. And I am better off now, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually (maybe not as wealthy financially, but I am still living somewhat comfortably). I know my friend will pull through this episode wiser and more prepared to look at living a simpler life.
I know I did – and I have never looked back.

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