Life Advice You Can Actually Use from a Middle-Aged Woman

For those of you tired of young, white, privileged men dolling out life hacks.

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Yesterday, I read four different articles about how to hack my life in order to be more productive and make almost six figures in one year so I can live a happier life. All written by white dudes so young I think there is a Senate bill out there somewhere trying to protect their lives as embryos.

ICYMI, I can sum up every piece of advice I read in those articles — Be a smug douchebag.

It would be super easy to build my freelancing career up to six figures if I got rid of my mortgage and moved in with my parents for a year so I could focus solely on blog growth while eating crustless sandwiches for lunch that my mom brings me.

I can’t do that, though. Why? Because I’m a grown-ass woman.

I have t-shirts older than these “gurus.” No, for real. U2 Joshua Tree Tour, Sun Devil Stadium, 1987. And I don’t own it in a fake, ironic way like I bought it from Hot Topic.

Here’s the problem with these insipid life hack articles. They’re steeped in privilege. Go travel around for a year? Sure thing, Skippy. Sounds great. Most of us can’t do that or won’t do that.

Advice like this isn’t reasonable for most people who aren’t these guys. Why should you listen to me instead? An old AF white woman? It sure as hell isn’t because I growth hacked my life into success before turning 30.

It’s because I have failed spectacularly more times than I want to count. I’m talking failing with jazz hands and a fan kick finish. I have battle scars but, damn it, I’m still here. I’ve walked through the fire instead of sitting next to it roasting marshmallows with my Boy Scout troop.

You know what a life hack is? Duct tape. Slap a life hack on your life and it’s going to hold for a little while. Then it’s going to give. Whatever the newest, greatest hack is, it won’t last. Your life is too precious to duct tape it together.

There is no quick fix. Want proof?

The same guys who are selling you hacks right now told you to grow your audience by following everyone, everyone’s mothers, their mothers’ housecat, and the guy who made the cat litter the cat pees on.

We all know how that turned out. It was a great idea for 43 minutes.

Get a plan together. Make it long term. Forget about instant gratification. Success may take you two years. It may take you five. It doesn’t matter. No one is keeping score. The end result is the same.

Success is not a cake recipe. You can’t take all the things someone else did and replicate it and have the same result. What they did may inspire you but their story is not your story. You have to figure out your story.

Here’s what’s fun: your story may end up better.

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Photo by Victor Freitas via Pexels

If you’re Googling life hacks or trying to find success tips, you’re chasing something. I would be willing to bet that you have tried a lot of the “expert” tips.

I’d also be willing to bet you’re frustrated because you have not had success magically rained down upon you. It’s totally understandable. You’re not getting what you’re being sold.

I have a teenager. It’s super awesome if someone out there has figured out how to get their teenager to stop rolling their eyes and sighing loudly. I could try that. There’s a snowball’s chance in hell that it’s going to work. I have to figure out what works for my angsty human.

The same goes for what it is you want to have happen in your life that someone else had figured out. Next time you see someone selling you their crap get-famous/rich/hot/powerful-fast tips, I suggest rolling your eyes and sighing loudly.

Seriously. So you’re 27 years old and you want to hack your life to make six figures? For what reason?

Just about every damn article I see with success hacks focus on one thing: how to make piles of money. If your only motivation in life is to make six figures so you can buy stuff, I can’t help you.

We care about the money because we have been conditioned to care about things and status. How much more free would you be if you stop caring about that?

Question your motivation every chance you get. Chase a feeling. Stop chasing a title or a number. You want to live a fulfilled life of exploration through which you’re able to genuinely help people and make the world a better place. Fantastic.

That doesn’t take a six-figure salary. Create the feeling. Figure out how little you need to get there, not how much. Life isn’t complicated. Live it to the best of your ability and by your standards. Do yourself the favor of figuring out those standards. Forget the other noise. Cut yourself some slack. You’re doing fine.

Written by

Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, I won’t stop taking pictures of my drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre

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