Monday, 24 October 2016

Midlife Monday ~ Living Without Apology or Explanations

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

FITTING INTO BOXES

I shared a quote a little while ago about not shrinking myself anymore. I'm not sure if it's a generational issue, or a woman's issue or a personal issue, but I know a lot of us do our best to fit into the boxes other people create for us. There are a variety of reasons why we do it, the need to keep others happy, or to meet with their approval, to avoid causing upset or distress, to be liked or to be accepted. It has always been a driving force in my life and sometimes I think it harks back to being the oldest child, where responsibility and people pleasing come with the role.

Now that I've reached midlife I am finding that I can make decisions based on what suits me and what meshes with how I see my life unfolding. Some of those decisions bring out comments and even criticisms from others, but I'm learning to let those remarks roll over me and just get on with living the life I've chosen and I'm working out what matters to me (not to everyone else). I've finally realized that it is the problem of the person finding difficulties with me, rather than my problem - and that is quite liberating.


BLOGGING

Starting a blog has brought with it a range of comments from friends and family who just don't understand how much it fulfills me. I'm always conscious of how much my blogging overflows from here onto my personal facebook page, or into my conversations. When I mentioned to my mother about how many people comment on or view my blog, she replied  "there must be a lot of people out there with nothing much to do with their time." Hardly a compliment about something that I found to be so enriching in my life.

Other bloggers totally get the whole idea of putting your thoughts down and interacting with other people all over the world and sharing ideas and encouragement. A few of my friends "get it" but a lot of the people around me don't have any comprehension of how I can find this so rewarding. But I've come to see that I don't need to justify myself to my non-blogging friends or give my reasons - no, I can just smile and ignore the lack of understanding and get on with what I'm loving to do. 

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

LIVING IN THE "NOW"

I've also made big changes in how I look at my life now and with what the future holds. I've spent way too long worrying about how things will be when I retire or if work slows down, or if the economy goes bust, and all those financial concerns. Then one day I just thought to myself...."you know what? I don't care. I'm living for now and not for the distant future." That freed me up to live in the present and to enjoy what is going on in my life now, rather than worrying about the completely unknown future.

It has given me the courage to change jobs and work the amount of time I want to, rather than the amount of time I thought I needed to. It has meant not worrying about what is in my superannuation or retirement plan. I know that we've lived carefully enough and put aside enough that we won't be living under a bridge (hopefully!) so why waste the next ten years or more scrabbling in a job to try to put aside a few more thousand for a slightly cushier retirement? 

FREEDOM

Plenty of people don't understand that this is how I want to live my life. They are working like beavers and squirreling away everything they can (or spending it as fast as they earn it) and telling me that their plan is so much better than mine. I know which I prefer and I know how I want my life to unfold now. What would have worried me a few years ago now washes over me and those opinions and comments don't carry the same weight and heft that they used to.

It's so freeing to live my own life and take responsibility for my own decisions and to leave others to their own devices. When you don't worry so much about what others think you are open to so many more choices and the future looks sunny indeed!

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Midlife Monday - www.crestingthehill.com.au

Living life without apology or explanation - Steve Maraboli

21 comments:

  1. I applaud you. Perhaps it is good for me to be somewhat introverted - I am comfortable with my own decisions - the final responsibility for my life is mine. Shared this lovely post. I try to let criticism wash over me, and recede without wetting me (it doesn't always works that way, though.) Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm becoming more introverted as I get older Alana - it's a very pleasant way to exist - and much less draining on my mind and time! Thanks so much for sharing my post and for your encouragement x

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  2. Good for you! Some people get me and some people don't and it is the same for me. Life is too short not to enjoy it when we are physically and mentally able to have the fun we earned. That is my story!

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    1. And I love your story Haralee - if we spend all our time trying to fit in the box it deprives us of our stories and we all become carbon copies of each other - how boring is that??

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  3. So much yes to the word freedom. And I love that your way of living may not be another persons and you don't judge how their choosing to live either. The key to my freedom was realizing what I wanted.

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    1. That is the key Carla - looking to what your needs are and what gives you fulfillment and contentment - and doesn't hurt anyone in the process. Then just getting on and living it to the fullest!

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  4. It really is liberating to not care what other people think of us. I learned that a long time ago and now it's pretty internalized, with a few fallbacks every so often if someone I really care about misunderstands.
    Carol
    http://carolcassara.com/friendship-renewed/

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    1. I can't believe I lived for so long trying to be what I thought others expected me to be Carol. Now I just enjoy doing what is right for me and hopefully not treading on too many toes in the process!

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  5. Good for you! So much of my life was spent trying to please those people who had an opinion on everything I did. Yeah. I just got tired...

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    1. Me too Diane - but that tiredness becomes the wake-up call to saying 'enough is enough' and being brave enough to just get on with what feels right - then life gets to be so much easier :)

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  6. Yes, other bloggers/writers do get the value of writing it all out! Living without boxes -- yours or those imposed on you by others -- is freeiing, you are right! As always, I love how you think!

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    1. Thanks so much Ruth - and you're right - we all just "get it" when it comes to blogging don't we? I can't believe I'm the only person in my circles who does it - they're all missing out!

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  7. I have experienced many of the same things. I don't think my mother (may she rest in peace) ever understood why I was compelled to write 3 books on menopause and why I would choose to blog about it each week for the past 8 years. After all, why would anyone talk about such personal things in public??? I believe very strongly, that when we share we help others and ourselves! I loved what you said about the freedom you feel to be you.I have felt that as well. I am totally comfortable with me now, too! It is wonderful! Thanks for sharing your very helpful thoughts and realizations with the rest of us! I LOVE to read them!

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    1. Thanks so much Ellen! I often wonder what we'd do if people didn't share their thoughts and what they've learned. How would we have the resources we need - all your posts on menopause that are so open and direct are much more helpful than pussy-footing around "personal things" - three cheers for blogging!

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  8. Oh Leanne, you've hit on so many issues we bloggers face. I also get the "Why do you do this?" reaction about blogging. But I could no more walk away from my blog than from a beautiful garden I've planted. Be proud of what you've created. Its unique and beautiful. I can't imagine doing anything else.

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    1. I've started thinking about what it would be like to stop blogging Laurie - it's a strange thought about walking away from that garden and letting it go back to weeds. It's something I'm mulling over a lot at the time being.

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  9. Totally agree with you Leanne - most of my family and friends just smile that little smile of 'oh well whatever keeps her happy' but they don't really understand why I blog. It is nice to know others get that reaction too! Living without boxes is not always easy for me but thanks again for the inspiration. Shared on ST60 FB page.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing this Sue - I think it's something we're all learning - our generation did a great job of fitting into the expectations of others, and now we're popping out of our boxes all over the place and I'm not sure people quite know what to do with all these empowered midlifers! :)

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  10. All of this is spot on. It's a shame it takes so many of us so long to realize that it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks about what we're doing.

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    1. Exactly Lois - I don't think people think about us anywhere near as much as we think they do (and if they are then they need to get a life too!)

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  11. I am in the same camp you are. And the older I get, the less I care what others think about how I live my life and the decisions I make. I even have less of a filter, though I'm convinced that a filter of some kind is vital. (My dad has no filter. It's a problem.) As a child of the fifties, sixties, and early seventies, I have watched how our lives as a society have changed--and for the better, if you ask me, particularly for women. I never would have imagined myself living alone or without a partner, but I've been getting used to it for about seven years or so, and as a result, I do more things by myself and for myself than I ever did before. The decisions are mine, for better or for worse. I'm not afraid of saying no or handling conflict either--I never was, in truth; but the ease of it comes from years of demanding my independence and being recognized as an equal in our still-patriarchal society. I think I'm getting off on a tangent. Suffice to say, I agree with you!

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