My daughter is one of the few family members or friends that actually read my blog (and here I was being all worried about what they'd think about my writing!) Because she knows what I like to write about, she sent me this quote and thought it suited my blog - and she was right.
Midlife has been a time of re-evaluation for me. I have looked hard at the person I was and what I thought was important and all the things I did in my life to keep all the balls I was juggling up in the air. What I saw was a woman who had assumed a persona that fitted in with what she thought other people wanted - and that wasn't necessarily who I truly was in my heart.
I feel like I dumbed myself down and made myself more "beige" to keep from causing ripples. I apologized more than I needed to and I tried really hard to not offend anyone or expect to have things my way. Those closest to me may not agree with that statement, but that's because my mask/garment was firmly in place and I don't think they knew who I truly was either.
It comes down to authenticity and being prepared to accept the fallout that occurs when I stop trying to fit myself into what I imagine others want me to be. I even had to correct that last sentence - I had written it in the third person (with 'you' and 'yourself' instead of 'me' and 'myself') because I am so used to not being brave enough to be open about who I really am and what I really want.
Being fearlessly authentic is my aim for midlife - to not apologize for being the woman I am. Being prepared to tread on some toes if needed. Being honest and open. Being confident enough to claim what's mine in time, friendships, love and all the other little aspects that make up my life. No more hiding behind my "fictitious self" and that doesn't mean that I have to be "loud and proud" - just that I take ownership of my needs and that I'm prepared to take up the gauntlet of what that might mean for the years to come.