Monday, 9 January 2017

Midlife Monday ~ What did 2016 Teach Me?

Midlife Monday ~ three lessons 2016 taught me

GOODBYE 2016

Well, another whole year has flown by and now we're into 2017 already. Part of me wonders where 2016 went. It seems like only a few weeks have gone by since I launched into 2016 and that's not the case at all, it's been and gone and slipped into history. The question I've been asking myself lately is what did I learn from the year that was?


LESSON 1

My first big lesson relates to work. 2015 saw me leave my long term job where I felt I was moldering away into brain death, and starting a whole new career trajectory. I assumed this leap of faith was the last one I'd take. What I discovered in 2016 was the fact that there are always new opportunities if we're open to them. One thing can lead to another and you can be in a whole new place in a heartbeat.

I thought I was settled into my new job, but out of the blue, a better offer came along - I did the "Millennial thing" and jumped ship. Today's young people are happy to try new jobs as they come up, and I found that I could embrace that viewpoint too. So (for now) I've ended up in a job that ticks virtually every box I was looking for work-wise for the foreseeable future (stay tuned because nothing is written in concrete!)


LESSON 2

The second lesson I learned from 2016 is not to envy others. I didn't think I had a problem in this area, but I realized I made assumptions about people based on the exterior facade they projected (I think we all do that at times). Last year I got to know a woman acquaintance in a much deeper way - only to find that her life was nowhere near as glossy as she projected.  Her marriage was a mess, her self-esteem was in tatters, she was struggling big time with her empty nest, and her life was generally a disaster.

Just because people appear superficially happy on the surface (or on Facebook) doesn't mean that is the truth of their life. We all struggle at times and nobody is immune to the upheavals life can throw at us. Money doesn't insulate us from pain, status doesn't guarantee a perfect life, being married for a long time doesn't guarantee happiness and harmony. Life is a work in progress and we're all doing our best as we ride the roller coaster.

the days go slowly but the years go fast

LESSON 3

Time and tide wait for no woman (slight paraphrase here). Life doesn't stand still, it moves forward - sometimes faster than we like, and we need to move with it or be left behind. Our first grandbaby was born in April 2016 and she is such an example of how quickly things change. Within 9 months she has gone from a tiny newborn infant to a mobile, smiling, eating, laughing, growing little human in her own right. I very quickly realized I needed to make time for her or I'd miss the little milestones along the way. 

Our children may be grown and flown, but their lives are constantly evolving and changing and I need to keep up with the changes - I need to make the effort to drive up to see them (they live a couple of hours from our home in the country). If I sit around and I wait for them to visit or to remember to fit us into their lives then I'm going to be the one missing out. "Home" for them isn't our house and town anymore - they've moved on and I need to keep up.


MOVING FORWARD

These are just a few of the lessons 2016 has taught me. I'd love to know what epiphanies others have had over the year that has been, and gone, and slipped away. Midlife is not a time of stagnation, it is perhaps a gentler time in some ways, but we still need to stay on our toes or we'll be left by the wayside wondering where everyone has gone.

Midlife Monday ~ three lessons 2016 taught me
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30 comments:

  1. Wow, a lot of tough lessons in 2016. Never take an election for granted, be afraid of the known liar because you don't know who will fall for it. And be prepared for your wishes to come true. I wished for more time to be able to write and now my company is downsizing me in March. I am ready and excited (or scared....they feel the same, right?) but I feel so bad for the other people who were affected.

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    1. I am so in awe of people like you Jennifer - who take a negative, grab it with both hands and turn it into a positive! I'm looking forward to seeing where 2017 takes you x

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  2. White frankly it feels as though 2016 chewed me up and spit me out. But but but I am choosing to view that as the fact there's unbelievable potential for 2017 to eclipse last year. Because seriously :-) how on earth could it not? I love and appreciate your consistent transparency here

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    1. Thanks so much Carla and I'm so sorry 2016 wasn't a friend to you. I think you have enough positive vibes going out into the universe for 2017 that it can't help but be a great year - all that intentional living will pay off :)

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  3. Lesson 2 hit me a bit. One of mine is grown and flown. No grandkids yet, but the months and months tick away without making time for a visit to see him. I spent so much time caring for kids while they were growing up, I'm busy caring for me now. That leaves less room for visiting. I need to be more intentional this year. Great points.

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    1. I'm a bit the same Lois - I feel like they should be visiting me, but at the same time I don't want to become a distant figure that is lucky to get a birthday phone call once a year. So ultimately it means I need to put in more effort and it pays off because it keeps the relationship "current" and that helps with keeping communication lines open.

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  4. Bravo to you for changing jobs to what you want! I have made a SKYPE schedule. It hasn't worked out perfectly but it is on the calendar and we try!

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    1. I think you have to give things a go Haralee and tweak them along the way. If we sit back and wait for things to happen to us then we just collect cobwebs and wonder where the time has gone. Fingers crossed for the Skype!

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  5. Lessons are never easy. But your positive spin ensures that the results from those lessons will build and lift you. Well done! And thank you for sharing them so the rest of us can also benefit!

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    1. Thanks Diane - sometimes it's easy to put your head down and suck it up, but you miss out on so much. I want to be able to tackle my problems and knock them over rather than repeating them over and over again.

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  6. Hi Leanne!This post is full of great information and many of your lessons were similar to mine. From Terri Webster Schrandt.

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    1. Thanks Terri - I think we all go through similar learning curves at this stage of life don't we? A lot of it is not taking what we have for granted.

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  7. Oh oh not to envy others. That is a constant battle for me. I was just writing today about how I wish I could celebrate other people's successes whole heartedly instead of seeing them as a sign of my failures. It is a life's work. You seem to have gotten a great jumpstart on it.

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    1. It's a trap we all fall into Anna - and I have to keep reminding myself that the "wrapper isn't the reality" and what we see is definitely not the whole picture. If I keep that in mind it makes seeing all the successes and upbeat fb posts easier to handle!

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  8. Thanks for sharing. A thought-provoking post. You've prompted me to think of the lessons I've learned in 2016, Hmmm....

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    1. There are always lessons aren't there Shirley? I think if we learn from them then it makes the tough times easier to look back on. I hope I grow from it all and don't repeat the same cycle over and over each year.

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  9. 2016 showed me that flipsides always exist. While politically I found the year to be disillusioning and despair-inducing; my daughter was married and we had the most wonderful, perfect, absolutely uplifting family joining celebration ever. Shift focus and there is always something wonderful to see.

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    1. That is perfectly put Nancy - there is always the good, the bad, and the ugly - it's what we choose to focus on and where we put our investment of time and energy that gives us our world view. I'd rather be the glass half full person and appreciate life rather than being sad or envious all the time.

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  10. I learned to take some time for myself and play. I learned yoga and Mindfulness. As I see my adult kids moving ahead with their lives, I feel it's time for me. Yay!

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    1. It is DEFINITELY time for you - and time to decide what is important and to invest some quality back into our own lives. Then it's time to invest in others. It's all about balance isn't it?

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  11. You had a wonderful 2016 Leanne even though it flew by. I love all of your lessons especially about not expecting the children to visit - they grow and have their own lives, which is what we wanted for them so we shouldn't feel left out now they have other responsibilities. Wishing you a wonderful 2017 at a pace that you can enjoy every moment.

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    1. Thanks so much Sue - life is forever changing isn't it? We can choose to seek out the happy times and do our best to make the less than perfect times still be okay in the end. That's what my aim for 2017 is :)

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  12. Congratulations on finding the (so far) ideal job! That is a rare thing. Time certainly does pass much too quickly and it seems to get faster, the older I get! Life is short, so we should make the most of it, for sure. My year didn't start out so well - seriously ill for several weeks, but it was much better by the time spring rolled around. Wishing you all the best for 2017!

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    1. Thanks Debbie - it's awful when you're sick and when it's cold outside and you're cooped up inside feeling awful. I wish you a speedy recovery and some sunshine to walk those gorgeous dogs of yours in.

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  13. Congrats on the new job, Leanne. Glad to know that you are settling in well. Many times the picture photos one upload in Facebook might not be even close to reality. But then we are not going to put up a bad photo or memory of ours in to a public forum, are we? My newbaby is 3 months old now. Time is flying for sure. :)

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    1. Wow - 3 months already - that has just zoomed past Vinitha! Time is all relative isn't it. A moment can seem to last forever and a year can go in the blink of an eye. My little granddaughter is 8 months old and she is changing every day!

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  14. I love the idea that our lives are always changing and revolving. I often see opportunity and have only recently learned that I can jump in when and where I choose too. Life has taught me that we don't have to stay stuck in the old, we can move on and grow and improve things in our lives.

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    1. That's so true. I thought midlife would be really boring and "same old, same old" but it's so much better and deeper than that. I'm learning new things all the time and new experiences are always around the corner. It's how we choose to look at life and what we reach out and embrace that makes all the difference x

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  15. Happy 2017 to a wonderful year ahead

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  16. 2016 Was an EPIC year ad 2017 IS an EPIC year, I see it as a gift for me to get the things I didnt get right last year done properly and learn new lessons along the way. So I definitely embrace both the year gone and the year I am in today. Thanks for sharing at the Pit Stop

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