LISTS of what to do; what not to do; how to live; how not to live. They’re everywhere.


We’ve all stuffed up somewhere in our lives, but the best part about growing up? Knowing not to look back. Here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way …

Love has to be fitted into your life: we can’t live on self-love alone so whether it’s your family, friends, partner or kids. Find time for all of them.

There is never a ‘right’ time to ‘plan’ for a baby so don’t put it off just because ‘you got that promotion’ or ‘I want to travel’. Let nature take its course and everything, even having a baby, will fit in around it. Promise

Have an opinion. It may polarise people but sure beats sitting on the fence. And don’t think you NEED to agree with everyone as there is nothing better than a measured and well-researched opinion.

Talking of ‘stuff’, try, try, try to get rid of all of that ‘stuff’ that is hemming you in. A cull of your bits at home can be a slow process but it will be well worth it. My cull, by the way, is still an ongoing process.

 Be open to reinventing your work life. It gives you a whole new purpose and makes you remain relevant.

Continue to learn, listen and be inquisitive about new things. I love my younger colleagues: they teach me and I (hopefully) teach them a little thing here and there.

Breathe in and out. By mindful Learn. Listen. Love. 

Live now. Mindfulness is a tool I’m using more and more by not planning too far ahead. Sure, we’re all bombarded with devices, social media platforms, life’s commitments and a constant thud of technology but try to live in this very moment.

Your job doesn’t define you as a person. Sure, being successful in a chosen field gives you confidence, stability and money to live. But once you step out of that role, it’s your real friends and family who will always be there.

Walk around in the person’s shoes before you judge. To Kill A Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch nailed it when he said to his daughter, Scout, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’’

We’ve all been guilty of ‘having a go’ without thinking of the consequences, and as I get older I am so much more aware of those consequences.

Learn to say no. You can’t be everything to everyone.

Hate: what an absolute waste of time and emotion. We all see what jealousy, bitterness and resentment does to people and it ain’t pretty. Be happy for the success of others.

Ask (nicely) for help, support or whatever: how many times do we assume people know what we need but we never vocalise it.

Family. Love ‘em! Even if you don’t see them as much as you would like, who is it I always call when times are tough? My unwavering mum.

A husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, mum, dad, or whoever — is not your financial plan. Create your own destiny: being hungry makes you try that bit harder.

Use the past (complete with its mistakes and misadventures) to change the stuff you do in your future. I always try to look on what I’ve done — good and bad — as a way to do things better next time.

There is no need to conform to what is ‘in fashion’: wear what you feel good in even if the colour, the length or the cut isn’t quite ‘now’. Honestly, in the long run, no-one really cares.

Surround yourself with people you really like … OK, it’s a cliche, but life really is too short to have people in your life who mock you, try to bring you down, bitch or bully you.

Oh, and try, try, try to clear your bills each month … for risk of personal debt accumulating and accumulating. I’ve been there; we’ve all been there. Don’t let money — or the lack of it — be the root of any happiness. Try to take lessons in being frugal.

Try to save a deposit for a little piece of real estate. When you finally reach retirement age you’ll have a small slice of security. And try to chuck a few bucks away in superannuation: even 10 bucks a week will do.

Remember to breathe. Deep and hard. Smell the roses. And relax. Melissa Hoyer


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