I often wonder to myself about all the midlife women out there in the world who are waking up and wondering who they are, now that their children have left home, or they have retired, or they've moved house, or changed jobs, or lost friends or loved ones. Life moves on and nobody can stay in the same place - even if they want to.
Two years ago I was asking the "what now?" question and thinking that there wasn't much in the offering. I couldn't see past the long road of 'same old, same old' that stretched out in front of me. Then I had a couple of mini crises happen one after the other (you can read about them here and here) and they woke me up (although I thought they'd nearly killed me at the time!)
Perhaps we need to survive a crisis or two before we work out what our priorities are and what is worth holding on to and what can be left behind. Working through things brings clarity and direction and hones our focus as to what is really important in our lives.
I found out that my marriage was worth holding on to - almost losing it made me see that I could survive alone, but I preferred to work at holding us together. At the same time it helped me to see that I had value and could expect to be appreciated in return. There needed to be a fairer give and take - and that brought with it a new respect for each other and for the vows we made so many years ago.
I've lost and found friendships. I've had to re-define my relationship with our adult children now that they are married and the family dynamics changed. I've reduced the amount of hours I work and the career path I was on. I've seen my dad go into permanent care and my mum replace him with a younger lover. I've experienced and survived depression on multiple fronts. Life just keeps rolling along and I'm learning as I go.
The journey is only just beginning. We can't be scared, we can't hide, we can't wish ourselves back to being thirty again. We have to stand and face the challenges and that's what's exciting. There is so much more to see and do. So many things to try, and I know some will fail but so many more will succeed - I just need to keep moving forward because that's how we grow and find who we are becoming in this next chapter of life.