Charting a Course through Midlife: A Personal Voyage of Transformation and Growth
Before turning 40 I thought that it was important to have it all together by this age.
Health, Career, relationships, financials, friendships.
I thought I had to fit into what society had taught me, that turning 40 was the beginning of a sort of “crumbling”
I recently got 49, and I have to say, the last 10 years….what a ride.
What I learned in these 9 years, is much more worth to me than the first 40 years of my life.
Next year I am turning 50, and I can tell you, that my birthday will be under the motto “this is just the beginning.”
I am healthier than ever, more energetic than ever (thanks to having learned how to handle my perimenopausal symptoms interfering with my career and resilience) more driven than ever, and most of all, more fulfilled than ever.
And “why is this?” might you ask yourselves…
Because now I know who I am, what I want, and most of all, what brings me joy and satisfaction.
Now I know that my future self is around the corner…
In these 9 years:
- I got clear on the fact that I wanted to work on my own
- I wanted to help people be more fulfilled in their life and work
- I learned how to set clear boundaries with my family
- I got rid of toxic people in my life, and cultivated new connections.
- I learned how to navigate the daily struggles of being my own boss
- I found out about the vastity of online marketing
- I got ripped off by several people I thought I could trust
- I learned how to balance my relationship with my work
- I learned how to trust in myself, deeply
- I learned how to navigate uncertainty
- Most importantly I learned how to take care of myself, my health, my body, my mental health.
I quit, I built, I harvested, I cried, (a lot and learned to accept that crying is healthy) and I laughed a TON.
Much more than I did in my first 40 years of life.
It has been extremely tough too, in these 9 years.
Watching one’s parents aging and getting weak is the saddest thing to assist.
Realising that you become the parent of your parent as you age is not a pleasant discovery.
Seeing that your body needs extra portions of sleep is not always fun.
Realising that working out is what gives you the most energy and that to get this energy you have to put lots of time and commitment to it, is hard.
Staying true to oneself, by choosing to do only work you love is not always easy peasy.
Learning how to handle friendship with people who you have outgrown and with whom you do not know what to talk about anymore, is not the funniest thing to do.
I am nowhere at all where I thought I was going to be at this st*age, but still, what I know now, is that all the conditioning we get around how we “have to meet” deadlines by a certain age, are only constrictions and made up BS.
The self discovery and the journey in themselves, are what makes this stage of our lives intense and interesting.
It is what you decide to make out of it, that will crack the code or also not.
If you find yourself stuck in all the must haves and limitations that we got conditioned to believe, then I want to offer you to revise them.
The rules we live by are most often unwritten, and all stored in our subconscious. They come from societal conditioning.
- Rules like: by your 40’s you should already have decided what you want to do for the rest of your life.
- You should already have cumulated enough money to start thinking of retirement
- You should at least have 2 children
- You should own a home.
- You should start seeing yourself as “older”.
- You should acept to become weaker as you start growing “old”.
I call a very loud BS on all of these rules.
We live in a culture where appearance, whether physical, financial, or status, is revered.
And within that culture exists a subculture of judgment where being critical of others seems like the national hobby.
Through the popular media, we also are bombarded by messages that we aren’t good enough, others are better than us, we can never be as good as others, or we can if we want to.
Because of these persistent messages of being watched, judged, and compared, it isn’t a stretch for us regular folk to feel like we are under the same scrutiny and under the same judgmental eye.
It’s so easy to think that everyone is watching and critiquing our every move causing us to feel self-conscious.
Self-consciousness isn’t a bad thing. In, fact, probably, it has been hard wired and enculturated into us as we have evolved as a species and a society. Self-consciousness helps ensure that we act in socially appropriate ways for fear of disapproval and rejection from society.
At the same time, self-consciousness can go well beyond keeping our behavior within socially acceptable norms. It can become a source of tremendous angst and unhappiness.
Self-consciousness can create a pre-occupation with how we appear to others, what others think of us, and, often, can lead to low-self-esteem, social anxiety, and an inhibition of behavior that we fear others might judge to be less than desirable.
Self-consciousness can prevent people from being who they are, expressing what they are thinking and feeling, doing what they want to do, and all because they are afraid of what other people will think or say about them.
Most people are trying to get through their daily lives with a modicum of meaning, fulfillment, and joy. As such, they are focused predominantly on meeting their own needs. The only concern most people have for you is their own misguided self-consciousness about what you are thinking about them!
Reality is that you and only you are the worst and the meanest judge of yourself, ever.
People are not going to judge you, they will be inspired by you if you do not complain about your age being a problem.
People are going to see you as a positive model, if you dare to go after a renewed purpose, if you seek out more fulfillment, and have the courage to follow your heart.
The time is now- staying small and quiet is over.
Let’s take up space and be ok with it. Let’s get rid of what we do not want anymore and be fine.
Let’s ask for more and have our experience show it’s worth. Let’s speak our truth and set clear boundaries. Let’s get respected and delighted. Let’s go after what we want to do and be, sure of ourselves and trustful in our abilities to do so.
Let’s learn how to look at our past experiences, like an asset, rather than a liability.
This is midlife people, it’s the time to learn about ourselves, the time to adjust the course, the time to go for what we want, and the time to “grow up* and take over the reins of our existences.
Nowadays I know that the first 40 years before midlife are just a preparation for the next 40 or if I am lucky 50, years to come.
It’ like a new adolescence, but this time, it’s added with wisdom.
Loads of wisdom, if you have been keeping attention to what was going on in your first approx. 40 years of your life.
I leave you with a beautiful quote by Brené Brown (if you don’t know her, go and check her out, she has a show on Netflix that I love, and has written several wonderful books)
“I think midlife is when the Universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I’m not screwing around. It’s time.
All this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.
Your armour is preventing you from growing into your gifts.
I understand that you needed these protections when you were small.
I understand that you believed your armour could help you secure all the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.
Time is growing short.
There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging.
Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart.
It’s time to show up and be seen.”