9 wake-up calls we often receive too late in life (a little manual for life)

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Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons. Often, we get wake-up calls when we least expect them, sometimes a little too late.

These wake-up calls are essentially life’s way of nudging us back on track. They are the sometimes harsh, but necessary reminders that we need to rethink, re-evaluate, and reconstruct our lives.

In this piece, I’ll share with you nine such wake-up calls. These are the ones we often receive too late in life, but I’m hoping to catch you in time.

Let’s think of this as a little manual for life. A guide to help you navigate those rocky paths and hopefully, help you avoid some potholes along the way.

Now, let’s dive right in and explore these nine life-altering wake-up calls.

1) Prioritizing work over relationships

We live in a world that glorifies the hustle. The grind is romanticized, and we are often led to believe that success in our careers is the ultimate measure of our worth.

Don’t get me wrong, work is important. It provides us with the means to live and can offer a sense of accomplishment and purpose. But when it starts to eclipse everything else, we might be heading towards a wake-up call.

I’ve noticed that many people often realize too late that they’ve spent so much time chasing professional success that they’ve neglected their personal relationships.

Look around. Your family, your friends, your loved ones – these are the people who add real value to your life. They provide support during tough times, share your joy during the good ones, and fill your life with love and warmth.

Balancing work and personal life is a crucial skill to master. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s the relationships you’ve nurtured that will bring you the most satisfaction.

Take a moment now to evaluate your priorities. Are you dedicating enough time to your relationships? Or are you letting work overshadow them? If it’s the latter, maybe it’s time for a change.

2) Ignoring health warnings

There’s a saying that goes, “Health is wealth,” and I’ve discovered the hard way just how true it is.

A couple of years ago, I was juggling multiple projects at work, pulling all-nighters, and surviving on a diet of fast food and coffee. I was so focused on meeting deadlines that I ignored the headaches, the constant fatigue, and the minor chest pains that were becoming increasingly frequent.

Until one day, my body decided enough was enough. I collapsed at work and woke up in a hospital bed. The doctor’s words were a wake-up call I hadn’t seen coming: “You’re suffering from severe stress and exhaustion. If you don’t slow down, you’re heading for a disaster.”

That experience taught me that neglecting your health isn’t worth any success or achievement. Today, I make it a point to maintain a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and prioritize sleep.

Your health is your most valuable asset. Don’t wait for a wake-up call like mine to start paying attention to it. Take care of your body; it’s the only place you have to live in.

3) Not saving for the future

It’s easy to get caught up in the present and forget about the future. After all, we’re often encouraged to “live in the moment”. But when it comes to finances, this mindset can lead to trouble.

According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, nearly half of American families have no retirement savings at all. This is a startling figure and a clear indication that many of us are overlooking the importance of saving for the future.

Saving might seem like a sacrifice today, but it’s an investment in your future. It provides security and flexibility, and it ensures that you’ll be equipped to handle whatever life throws at you down the road.

If you haven’t started putting money aside for your future, consider this your wake-up call. It’s never too early or too late to start saving. Your future self will thank you.

4) Not valuing time

Time is a non-renewable resource. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. Yet, we often squander it on things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

We spend hours scrolling through social media, binge-watching shows, or getting caught up in gossip. And before we know it, the day has slipped through our fingers.

The harsh reality is that we all have a limited amount of time in this world. It’s a wake-up call that hits many of us later in life when we realize that we’ve frittered away precious hours on inconsequential activities.

The key is to become more mindful of how you’re spending your time. Are you investing it in activities and relationships that enrich your life and bring you joy? Or are you simply killing time?

Every moment is a gift. Make sure you’re using it wisely.

5) Neglecting self-care

In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to put ourselves last. We take care of everyone and everything else, often at the expense of our own well-being. But neglecting self-care is a recipe for burnout.

Self-care isn’t just about spa days and bubble baths. It’s about taking time out of each day to check in with yourself, physically, emotionally, and mentally.

It’s about eating nutritious meals, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and taking breaks when you need them. It’s about setting boundaries and learning to say no when you’re overwhelmed.

The wake-up call comes when our bodies and minds start to protest against the constant neglect. Fatigue, stress, anxiety… these are all signs that we need to start caring for ourselves better.

Don’t wait for burnout to hit. Start prioritizing self-care today. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.

6) Holding onto grudges

Life is incredibly short, yet we often waste precious time and energy holding onto grudges. We allow past hurts to cloud our present, forgetting that forgiveness isn’t about the other person; it’s about freeing ourselves from the burden of resentment.

Holding onto anger and resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It consumes you, robbing you of joy and peace.

The wake-up call often comes when we realize that the person we’ve been hurting the most through our refusal to forgive is ourselves.

Forgiveness is not about forgetting or condoning the actions of others. It’s about choosing to release yourself from the pain and bitterness.

Letting go of grudges gives you the freedom to live in the present and experience life more fully. So, if you’re holding onto a grudge, consider this your wake-up call. Let go and live.

7) Chasing perfection

For a long time, I was trapped in the pursuit of perfection. Whether it was at work, in my relationships, or even in my hobbies, I felt a constant pressure to be flawless.

I spent countless hours refining projects, endlessly replaying conversations in my head, and comparing myself to others. It was exhausting and unfulfilling.

The wake-up call came when I realized that perfection is an illusion. It’s unattainable and the pursuit of it only leads to frustration and disappointment.

Instead of chasing perfection, I’ve learned to embrace my flaws and appreciate my uniqueness. I’ve learned that making mistakes is not a sign of weakness, but an opportunity for growth.

Perfection might seem like a worthy goal, but it’s the quirks, the mistakes, and the lessons learned that make life interesting. So remember, it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s human.

8) Living according to others’ expectations

We all want to fit in, to be accepted. And sometimes, in the pursuit of acceptance, we start living according to others’ expectations rather than our own.

We choose careers that don’t fulfill us, maintain relationships that don’t enrich us, and make decisions based on what we think will please others.

The wake-up call here is realizing that this is your life. You are the one who has to live it, not anyone else.

Living according to others’ expectations is like wearing a mask. It might protect you from criticism or rejection, but it also prevents you from being authentic and happy.

Take off the mask. Embrace who you are and what you want from life. Let your decisions be guided by your own desires and values, not the expectations of others. After all, it’s your life. Live it on your own terms.

9) Neglecting to appreciate the present moment

Life moves fast. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and before you know it, years have passed. In our rush to get to the next thing, we often forget to appreciate the present moment.

But the beauty of life lies in the here and now. It’s in the laughter of a loved one, the taste of a good meal, the warmth of the sun on your face. It’s in those small, mundane moments that we often take for granted.

The wake-up call comes when we realize that these moments are fleeting. That they’re not coming back. And that we’ve been so focused on chasing the future that we’ve missed out on the present.

Slow down. Take a deep breath. Look around and appreciate what you have right now. Because this moment, right here and right now, is your life. Don’t let it slip away unnoticed.

Embracing the wake-up calls

Life is a beautiful, complex journey filled with ups and downs. It’s in these twists and turns that we often encounter wake-up calls, nudging us towards growth and self-discovery.

These wake-up calls are not just alarm bells; they are opportunities. Opportunities to reprioritize our lives, to reconnect with our inner selves, and to appreciate the finite and precious nature of time.

As American author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia once said, “Change is the end result of all true learning.” These wake-up calls are chances for true learning, chances to change and evolve.

So, as you navigate your life journey, remember to embrace these wake-up calls. Listen to what they’re trying to tell you. Reflect on them. Act on them.

Because ultimately, it’s these wake-up calls that shape us, that make us who we are. They are our teachers, guiding us towards a more fulfilling and meaningful life. So let’s not wait for them to come too late. Let’s seize them now, in the present moment, where life truly unfolds.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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