All my blogging over last week or so about the joys of the empty nest has reminded me of how much I'm loving this stage of life. For me, Midlife has been a time of finding myself - discovering who I really am under all the different hats I've been wearing over the years (wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, employee etc). It has been a real time of waking up - opening my eyes to all that has gone before and all that is yet to come. Now is the time to live in the moment, seize the day, grab life with both hands - because Midlife Rocks!
I have a Pinterest Board called "Free to be Me" and it's where I collect pictures of lovely things that are just about me and midlife (there seems to be a lot of coffee, cats and pink!) They serve no other purpose other than me thinking "I really like that" and it's a reflection of how I feel about a lot of things now days. I can like something because it interests me and I don't have to think about how it affects anyone else, I don't have to keep putting my likes or needs at the end of the list - now I can start putting myself further up the food chain - and that's amazing!
WHAT I AM AND AM NOT
It doesn't mean I have to be out hitting the shops or trying to keep up with the Joneses, it just means I have time to actually figure out who I am and what I really like. I can allow myself the luxury of dreaming about things and choosing whether I want to do them or not. It means I can open my heart and see what has been hidden deep down and start bringing it up into the sunshine - and I'm loving that.
I know I'm not the world's warmest, fuzziest, touchie-feeliest person around, I know I get cheesed off about things sometimes and I don't suffer fools gladly. I know I can be impatient and a little too task oriented. But I also know that I am a loyal friend, I will laugh with you and support you, I am reliable and trustworthy, I have so much still to offer and to learn. This is the time of life where I can develop and work on some of the areas that could do with a bit of polishing up - but to also cut myself a bit of slack and say that I'm doing fine and I'm a good person - sometimes I'm even great!
|I Am ~ from Zen to Zany|
Midlife has been such an eye-opener for me. I had so many assumptions about who I was, I thought I was on the downhill ride into being old and boring, I thought I was trapped in the job I was doing because I was too old to move on, I thought my marriage was doing fine, I thought I could trust all my friends...... I had NO IDEA! So many of these things have been turned on their head over the last few years - and, although it's been painful at times, it has been the greatest sloughing off of old and unnecessary parts of my life, and the replacement of those dead areas with new thoughts, experiences and relationships - it's been a chance to really thrive.
A friend said to me the other day "I just don't know how to get self-worth, I look at you Leanne and I don't know how you do it." My reply was "You should have seen me three years ago." So much has happened in the last few years, so many ups and downs and twists and turns. You don't grow by staying in the same place, the Bible says "you don't put new wine in an old wineskin". I had to shed my old skin (and it can be painful) to find the new me - I had to be brave enough to risk leaving my job, risk losing my marriage, risk losing an old friend or two......but ohhhh it's been worth every moment of pain to get to where I am now.
So in answer to my friend's question about self worth - you don't get it by staying stuck in the same place - spinning your wheels just sinks your further into the mud. You have to make the decision to move forward and take action. Life is what you make it, Midlife is definitely what you make it. There is no settling into boring middle age going on around here, I'm living it and loving it, and I look at my 74 year old mother with her young lover, her Red Hat Society, her friends and her social life and as far as I can see, Midlife is just the beginning!