Tuesday, 1 March 2016

loving the journey

#midlife blog ~ crestingthehill.com.au

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.

So many women lament the empty nest, or think that the best part of life has passed them by. So many are asking "what's left for me now?" and the answer to that question is a resounding "oh there is so much more to come!" Midlife is the beginning of a whole new chapter, Part 1 is closed and Part 2 is just beginning. The story still has a long way to go before it finishes unfolding.

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.

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#midlife blog ~ crestingthehill.com.au

25 comments:

  1. There is SO MUCH MORE to look forward to Leanne you are right! I love being my age and I think it is great that others feel as excited about this phase of life as I do. Thanks for reminding us that yes THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

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    1. I think finding so many positive, like minded women who are relishing this stage of life is really refreshing Sue - I love that we are rediscovering ourselves!

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  2. I agree there is so much more. But maybe we need to get to that scary place, that crisis, before we can truly be open to the changes that will help us to grow in a way that we never imagined before?

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    1. I think surviving a few scary things makes us braver Jennifer, we are more open to seeing where life is going to take us because we know we can handle it.

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  3. Lots to look forward to as you say! Your positive attitude will keep things moving forward in a new but good way. Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks Shari - it's so nice to find this stage of life refreshing instead of dull and colourless :)

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  4. I'm so glad I read this post, today I've felt so alone with poorly kids at home I felt so trapped. But your post reminds me I'm not alone and there is so much more to everything today is just a moment really. I've just got to ride the ups and downs! Thanks for sharing :) #abitofeverything

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    1. a pleasure - I think we forget sometimes that there are good and bad parts to life - sometimes the not so great times have their value in our journey too.

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  5. I feel like I am just coming out of a coma or something! I have missed so much these last couple of months and I have definitely missed you! Your mom and a younger lover? Oh hell! Things must always become difficult don't they. I'm sorry I know how that must feel. I love this though. I tell my friends this all of the time. They are actually in mourning over it and I understand that too. I was terrified when my baby left home, but wow there is just so much more to come just like you said. If we're lucky it's a long messy novel with lots of chapters. I say write with your pen and paper!

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    1. Hi Rena - you have been rather quiet - I think it's all the stuff you're doing with your new blog that is absorbing your time. Life is certainly messy but I guess that's what makes it interesting! I could do a whole post on mum and her friend with benefits and I might later down the track (it is mind blowing!)

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  6. A crisis definitely does bring what's important into sharp focus.

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    1. and I think it helps you to realize that you can get through just about anything and it definitely builds character!

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  7. You have taken a positive stand on this, well done. I like the idea of realising where your priorities are. My only daughter leaves to go away to university this autumn and I am wondering what my purpose is now. As you say, chapter two is beginning.

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    1. It's a whole new world when your children leave - but it means you have time for taking a good look at yourself and often you realize that there are changes that need to be made.

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  8. What I like about this Leanne, is how you point out that life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful. You are very strong to have weathered so much with such a good attitude, and it is probably your good attitude that gives you strength! Your words often pop into my head as I am contemplating the upcoming changes in my own life - and I am so happy to have found you in the blogosphere! (Like Rena, I've been a bit "comatose" here - but hoping to make a full recovery this month!)

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    1. you have been rather quiet Susan - nice to see you back! I think we all have ups and downs in life but I'm slowly realizing that taking them in your stride and not letting them get you down is the way to move ahead with a smile :)

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  9. Leanne, although I'm not ready to let my kids go, I think I'll find things to fill my time when they've left the nest. I have a few years left thankfully, before I have to really figure this out. But Bruce and I spend a lot of time alone now as the kids are older and have their own things to do. When I got sick I had to kind of figure out a whole new life because I couldn't do the things I used to, so a lot of the evaluating processes I've already been through. It wasn't fun but I'm learning Who I am and what I want to be when I grow up. Lol I used to surround myself with people and I think I was hiding. Now that it's just us, as a family, I have more time to really decide who I am. Although I still love my friends and extended family, most days I really enjoy being by myself or just my kids and my husband. Perhaps it's getting through those crisises that you mentioned above, it changes how you think about life, doesn't it?

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    1. It certainly shapes how you want to go forward with life Nikki - and what is really important to you - what you are prepared to fight for. It also lets you know what you can let go of and have peace about. I think a major upheaval (sickness, divorce, empty nest etc) is often the catalyst for change and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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    2. Leanne, remind me when it's over, okay? LOL

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    3. Leanne, remind me when it's over, okay? LOL

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  10. Loved reading this! As a new mother, I sometimes daydream about a time when my life will be my own again and I'll have energy for myself and my husband. I guess I hadn't really thought there might be any identity adjustment required, although I've certainly heard of empty nest syndrome. I love your youthful and positive approach to the latest chapter in your life, wishing you every success and happiness through it :)

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    1. Thanks so much Robyn - sometimes I wonder where the years have gone. Kids leaving are part of life and there has to be a readjustment because you find yourself with so much more headspace and time. It can make or break a relationship depending on how much you want to invest in each other.

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  11. You are so wise and brave Leanne. I'm glad your challenges inspired you rather than broke you down.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie

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  12. Awww *HUGS* you're so amazing! I was so inspired by this post, and especially by the last paragraph, and this line: "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."

    Thank you for sharing your amazingness at #FridayFrivolity, and I'm so glad you're in a happier place now!! Pinning and tweeting. :)

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  13. I love this post. You are really a very inspiring person. I often worry about the future but not at the moment because I still have young kids but I hope I will have a bit of your positive attitude and yes, look forward to more things to try and grow more as a person. #abitofeverything

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