3 THINGS TO RELEASE FOR A MORE VIBRANT LIFE

It seems fairly pointless to be flourishing at 50 and then sliding down the slippery slope into becoming a boring old woman by the time I'm 70. So, here's a few pitfalls I've noticed older women falling victim too, and ways to avoid them.

INTRO

When I chose "MORE" for my Word for 2019 I wanted to focus on becoming the best possible version of myself both now, and in the future as I age. It seems fairly pointless to be flourishing at 50 and then sliding down the slippery slope into becoming a boring old woman by the time I'm 70. So, here's a few pitfalls I've noticed older women falling victim too, and ways to avoid them.

1. AILMENT SHARING

How many times have you noticed older people's conversation revolving around their numerous health issues? Long winded stories about menopause and hot flashes, weight gain, bladder incontinence, dodgy knees, and hip replacements all get discussed in great detail - much to the horror of any young person within earshot. Nobody wants to know about their parents' bowel habits or their grandparents' digestive issues.

So, how do you avoid this if your body is falling to pieces and your doctor is becoming a close friend? My daughter-in-law suggested that the best solution is to save those conversations for your coffee dates with friends who have similar health issues. You can regale each other with the gory details of your colonoscopy and then leave yourself free to chat about other more interesting things with your fitter and healthier family and friends.
Midlife sharing - when dinner conversation revolves around our failing bodies!
a little Midlife dinner conversation via Hedger Humor
Another solution is to make sure you're living your healthiest life possible - eat less, move more, choose the foods that are good for you, rather than that extra slice of cake. Get outside in the fresh air and walk, go to the gym if you enjoy that, do Pilates, try Tai Chi - find something that you enjoy and make it a regular part of your life. Don't sit on the couch and eat yourself into an unhealthy and tedious lifestyle.

2. GRIEVANCE AIRING

This is a big one! Everyone knows the older lady who hasn't got a kind word to say about anybody. The old lady who sits in the background muttering about "the young people of today" or "the government" or whatever other grievance she can latch onto for the day. Being grumpy ages you - it draws your mouth down, it steals the light from your eyes, and it makes you really bad company. Other people avoid whingers like the plague - because people who moan and groan just suck the light right out of the room.

So how do you avoid this if you can't help but see the problems that surround you? Why not try shifting your focus? Stop reading those awful news stories for a while, stop listening to the doom and gloom commentators, look past the little annoyances around you and look up instead. Look at all the good people you have in your life, look at all the blessings you've been given, look for the nice things that are happening, open your eyes to human kindness - it's all around you.

There's an old hymn that goes "count your many blessings, name them one by one..." and there's so much truth in it. If you start looking at the good things in your life, the less lovely stuff fades away or is balanced out. Nobody's life is perfect, but it's full of perfect moments if you look for them. Take a moment every now and then to pause and find something positive to be thankful for - that tends to put our petty grievances into perspective doesn't it?

3. TOO MUCH CARING

It's a really good thing to care about others, but too much caring can be a big problem for Midlife women. Caring too much about the opinions of others is stifling, caring too much about how little attention we get from our families is disheartening, and caring too much about keeping everyone happy can come at the expense of your own happiness. Caring more than you should leads to unmet expectations and we all know that expectations lead to resentment and bitterness. Becoming the "poor me" old lady who can never be satisfied with her relationships is something we all need to avoid.

But, how do we navigate this when our lives seem to be getting smaller and our adult children have moved on, or our friends are living the highlight reel while we just seem to be plodding along, or our aging parents want our attention while we're busy with our own lives? How do we stop ourselves resenting the fact that we don't meet the expectations of others, and on the flip side, others don't meet our expectations? Maybe we need to curb those expectations down to a reasonable level and give some grace to ourselves and to others.

it's not that we stop caring - but that we understand what to care about

Let's figure out what really matters and focus on that. If you miss your family members, find ways to connect with them on their terms - Skype them, have a coffee date, pop in for a visit, send them an email - it's all connection and finding the right balance for everyone is the key. Stop comparing your life to what you're seeing others doing on Facebook or Instagram - social media is a killer of joy at times. Switch off, look away and start living your own life - find things you love to do and spend time doing them - you'll have less time to be worrying about what others are up to.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do any of these resonate with you? Do you know the older lady who is whinging in the background, or regaling you with her latest illness, or sitting sadly while the world passes her by? I don't know about you, but I don't want to be her - I want to be too busy living my life on my own terms, too busy to be fading into the background!



It seems fairly pointless to be flourishing at 50 and then sliding down the slippery slope into becoming a boring old woman by the time I'm 70. So, here's a few pitfalls I've noticed older women falling victim too, and ways to avoid them.

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It seems fairly pointless to be flourishing at 50 and then sliding down the slippery slope into becoming a boring old woman by the time I'm 70. So, here's a few pitfalls I've noticed older women falling victim too, and ways to avoid them.

Midlife Musings on Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife Women

55 comments

  1. Hi Leanne, my MIL used to always complain about her ailments and if you had something wrong hers would be worse. Since moving to an aged care home with lots of activities to join in, I haven't heard her complain once! If we are busy and happy there is no time to complain as we are enjoying life. Thanks for the reminder and have a great week! It has been lovely catching up with my BBB IRL. Oh I sound like a millenial LOL:)

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    1. You nailed it Sue - "If we are busy and happy there is no time to complain as we are enjoying life" that's the secret isn't it? I feels so sorry for those who are sitting around with nothing to do but dwell on the sad or mad things of life. They need to start a blog and meet up with their BBBs! x

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    2. Yes there is certainly a positive side to Blogging that's for sure. It has been so wonderful spending time with you over the last week, although I would greedily have liked longer. We have another great linkup at #MLSTL and I've also shared your post on social media. Enjoy! xx

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  2. Yes! I hate #1. I am a runner. It seems like when I get together with my runner friends who are my age, the biggest topic of conversation is all of our ailments. Ugh! Let's find a better topic!

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    1. Knee problems are a big one with people I know - the amount who've had a knee or hip replacement (or need one) is often thrown into conversations!

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  3. All great things to avoid for sure. I have something to add that may not be very popular... don't go on and on about your grandchildren. Yes, you can brag a little, and yes you can show a picture or two, but, after that let's move on to different topics. I know too many women who, once they have grandchildren, appear to lose their identity beyond "so-and-sos grandmother."

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    1. You're so right Janis - I love my grandgirls.....but get bored really quickly when the conversation starts swirling around everyone's grandkids - show me a pic and then let's move on - same with pets!

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  4. Hi, Leanne - These ALL resonate with me. Especially the first two. Thank you for another thought-provoking post. They make a positive difference!

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    1. I'm so glad you're visiting while you're having a quiet time on your own blog Donna - I love that you are such a faithful friend - you would have loved our bloggers' lunch date today!

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  5. I have a different gripe. The women who say "I am so blessed" about everything. Your son is getting divorced again, but you are blessed he called you? Your husband is diagnosed with prostate cancer but you are blessed because it could be worse? Your daughter doesn't let you see your grandchildren alone but you are so blessed to have grandchildren! This PollyAnna, blessed BS just gets to me. Why not gripe my son has issues, I don't understand what my daughter is scared about me with the grands or I am worried about my husband? I don't really see couching everything as blessings to be a viable coping method.

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    1. Oh Haralee that is so true! Why aren't we allowed to admit that there is not-so-great stuff in our lives and maybe there isn't a silver lining atm? Yes, it might get better but at the time being it sucks - that's life and stop trying to gloss over it to make me feel better - maybe we should just come out and reply with that!

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  6. Oh so true Leanne! I get so sick of listening to ailment stories and grumbles and will go out of my way to move the conversation along or move myself away. In regards to grandchildren, I am very aware of how much one can go on as I'm a new grandma and most of my friends were there long before me! I have had to live through countless times looking at their photos and hearing their stories, so I try very hard to stop myself from sharing too much too often! Thanks agin for this thoughtful post, I've pinned it!

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    1. I'm a believer in one or two pics and a short anecdote being the absolute maximum Deb - and not every.time.you.see.me! Grandkids are cute but not cute enough that I want to do nothing but talk about them - I think I'd prefer dodgy hip chats instead!

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    2. Yes I know what you mean Leanne! We are way more than just being a grandma :) I enjoyed re-reading this and really appreciate #3 at the moment :) Sharing for #mlstl

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  7. Some great reminders Leanne. I live a fairly simple life without much drama but I appreciate the reminders which for me add up to being appreciative (without being too 'blessed' as Haralee mentions) and not too self-centered.

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    1. I think stopping to appreciate all that you have and looking for the good stuff helps to defer the moaning and groaning Janet. And I hate it when women try to one-up each other on who has the roughest ride - ie: whose medical condition is worst, or whose family is being the most difficult etc. Let's just live and be happy - and no drama for me either!

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  8. Another wise and clever post Leanne! As little aches and pains and strange thingy's start to happen to my middle-aged self, I am always aware (and keep in mind) of how annoying I've found it through my life listening to older people rattle off all their ailments and complain. There's a time and place for that. I try to keep my focus on what I have to be grateful for - eg two legs that can walk, two arms to help me with daily tasks, eyes that see, ears that hear, ok my nose doesn't smell! LOL Too much caring is one I need to be careful with. I can exhaust myself with caring and worrying. What you've written is a good reminder to me to be careful there!

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    1. I think a little ailment sharing amongst friends is more than ok Min - it's when you regale the family with your latest doctor's visit that it becomes too much. I'm also learning to turn the "care" button down a notch or two - it sucks you dry otherwise.

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  9. All good reminders to NOT be those old people. At least men get to blame it on loss of testosterone. We have no excuses, just good choices!

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    1. I think menopause gets blamed for a lot too Suzanne - probably rightly so, but we don't need to go on ad infinitum - just a quick whinge to a like minded sufferer and onto more pleasant topics please!

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  10. I hear you on these but am also fortunate enough to have lived through a wide range of life experiences (I am 70 this year, just so you know!!!) and prefer sharing them with any one who seems interested. I have never been a joiner until this past year where I decided to do so to expand my social interactions. Unfortunately in two of these settings the people were very limited in their ranges of conversations and topics and I sat and listened with feigned interest. I keep on top of so much each day as without that I would be boring MYSELF.
    Denyse #MLSTL

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    1. I think that's the key Denyse - having variety in your life and not letting one particular issue (illness, grandchildren, travel, pets or whatever) become your sole focus and topic of conversation - it eventually bores everyone around you.

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  11. Good points that resonate with me, Leanne! Thank you for another thoughtful post. #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Natalie - so glad you enjoyed them - each time I write about stuff like this, it's a strong reminder to practice what I preach!

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  12. I really believe in speaking things into existence and that complaining about something only makes the situation worse. Also everyone's life gets tough and people can not take on their junk and yours too.

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    1. I'm of that opinion too Erica - I think what you focus on becomes more real and more important to you - so why not turn your attention to the good, and the kind, and the positive? We all need more of that in our lives - lets speak light into the world!

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  13. I really enjoyed your gentle nudges in this post. These all ring true for me Leanne, and I have to admit to nodding along and thinking : Aiee, must remember not to do that! I think the caring issue really resonated with me. Coming to Australia as just a small nuclear family has made my expectations of family slightly skewed and terribly important. I need to get out more and get busier, dwell less and be more active too. Onwards :) Shared on SM.

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    1. I'm the same with my family Jo - I wanted to give my kids the family life I missed out on, but for some reason that boomerangs back to creating expectations that they will want the same level of interaction etc - they're busy and I need to be busy too - then I have things more in balance and keep the "neediness" at bay - very important!

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  14. I think when women get together, we naturally over share! When I'm with my windsurf crew, we complain about the lack of wind, or something else. But we do get the positive things about leisure. Your post is a great reminder of living life to the fullest and focusing on the positive! Shared via #MLSTL!

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    1. I think oversharing with people who "get it" is fine Terri - we're there to support each other - it's when we overshare or over whinge to people who don't want to hear it that we begin to alienate others - especially those younger than us! But also being someone who can be relied on to see the positives is such a great image to have :)

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  15. Great post - insightful since we often don't think about that - but it's true. Lol.. I'm 60 this year and I think of my ailments inside myself (thankfully) but will take on board you mentioning it - since I don't re-call anyone doing that! I saw your post from Esme's Link up so thought I'd have a read. The other 2 are just as good - balance is needed in so many things.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Deborah - I'm glad you enjoyed my posts :) And I think keeping stuff to ourselves is a good idea, but also having friends who we can share with when we need to is vital too. Finding the balance is the key - talk about our concerns and then move on to talking about the joys and blessings we have is good too.

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  16. Hi Leanne I hear those whinging complaining people so often and I have no tolerance for it. I've moved on from many friends who continually focus on he negative. Life is too short. Great post #MLSTL Will share

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    1. I deal with it all the time Jennifer and it wears me down. We all have less-than-perfect stuff in our lives but we don't have to dwell on it and spill it out all over everyone we meet. I'm tired of hearing the same story over and over - life is indeed short!

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  17. With husband as sick as he is it seems my world and all conversations revolve around this. In the rare moment I get away I try to talk about other things, hard but doable.

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    1. It's so important to have people to be able to share with and download on Victoria - carrying the burden alone can be too much. But also having friends you can laugh with and be "normal" with is really important too - I hope you have both xx

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  18. Leanne, Interesting post. I know at times, it's been hard for me to find a topic of conversation with people. Health can often be a link, a connecting point...everyone's feeling a twinge now and again. So if health, complaining, and grandkids are off limits to talk about....do you recommend politics or the weather? (that's a bit of a joke).

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    1. I'm a great believer in discussing the whole kit and kaboodle Pat - throw in the dodgy hip (mine) the bladder infections (a friend), show a pic or two of the grandbabies or your latest trip, discuss the weather, have a laugh, be sarcastic - mix it up and it's perfect. When we can't talk about anything other than a particular topic is when we become the friend I want to avoid becoming! And I knew you were joking :)

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  19. HI Leanne, I really identify with #3 these days. Two kids in college and one still at home. I'm trying to find balance between my family's needs and my own. It used to be easier when they were small and I was younger and thought I had all the time in the world. Still working on finding that balance. Thanks for sharing! #MLSTL

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    1. I struggled so much with getting the balance right in caring about my adult kids Leah - they need a lot less interaction than I do. I would be jealous of friends who had their kids still at home, or wanting to facetime every day. Now I've (kind of) sorted out how much my kids want from me and I try to fill the rest of the time with other interesting things so I have something to talk about when they remember to tune in :)

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  20. Hi Leanne,
    I watched all of these things with my mother as she aged, and also cared for my dad. I swore to myself that I would not do that, not become that. I even charged Dan with the job of saying "don't act like your mother." Now, I love my mother, I just did not like the turn she took as she aged and want to avoid it myself if I can.

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    1. I look at my mother and my mother-in-law and compare their attitudes all the time. I love them both, but my mum is definitely living a life that others want to engage with because she's choosing to be proactive. My MIL is alone a lot and I think that's sad, but can't be changed if she doesn't want to be more positive herself.

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  21. All of this rings true, Leanne. I remember as a young woman listening to older people talk about their ailments and swearing I would never be "that" person. Once in a while I catch myself, and then I make a joke about it. But the truth is I have worked hard to maintain my health, and so far have been lucky in that area, so I don't have a lot to complain about. I also heard about a study that said people who talk a lot about their ailments actually report being in worse pain. I think it goes back to what you said about focusing on the good things in our lives. And there is so much that is wonderful. #MLSTL

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    1. I try to be the same Christie - there are times when you're dealing with a health issue and it becomes part of your conversation - but it's when it starts to define who you are as a person that it becomes a concern. I think you mention it if needed but then move on to other topics that friends and family are happy to engage with.

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  22. Oh boy Leanne you really hit a nerve with this one. I can talk about health issues all day if you let me but you are absolutely right the younger folks don't want to hear about it at all, even if we pass it along as advice. About your second point, I stopped watching the news about 8 years ago exactly for that reason. It was so depressing and I found myself complaining all the time. That was not who I wanted to be. Now about your third point, well I really don't care anymore except what my children think. That is all. Everyone else can take me or leave me. Have a great day!!

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    1. I just posted a "take me or leave me" quote to my FB page Mary because I've reached that stage of life too. I really can't keep dumbing myself down for other people - and it's about being a positive example these days - so less doom and gloom, less FB highlight reels, less "poor me" and more joy!

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  23. Leanne, this is a fabulous post! My parents never sat around moaning about their health issues, but so many people do. And I remember an elderly couple who were very popular with people of all ages, and they told us that not talking about their health all the time was the reason. People young enough to be their grandchildren would visit them and have a wonderful time and actually want to come back--because this couple didn't make it all about them and their troubles. We will always try to emulate them.

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    1. The whole health thing can be such a trap Jean - it becomes more of an issue as our bodies start to decline, but we don't have to discuss every minute detail with every person we come in contact with - most don't care, and the ones who do only want a brief overview - not the nitty gritty!

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  24. I agree with you Leanne. I do not want to be one of those old ladies who keeps company with so many negative thoughts or behaviors. It was inspiring to read in your post about how to avoid becoming one of those old ladies.

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    1. It's so easy to slide into the negativity and "poor me" syndrome Christina - I think we actually need to fight it and deliberately work at maintaining a positive outlook as we get older (and our bodies and minds get crankier).

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  25. Never complain is a good one. Nobody wants to hear somebody complaining all the time.

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  26. I can attest to the wisdom of what you've written here Leanne! In my 70s now and experiencing the inevitable onset of some age-related conditions, no matter how much you exercise, eat well and think positive, and still choosing to release these 3 things for more vibrant living. When I rise above them and involve myself in things I love like blogging/writing, art journaling/sketching and being out in nature, the negatives are minimized. I just read a great article by Mary Pipher ~ The Joy of Being a Woman in her 70s.
    Sharing this on FB and Twitter for #MLSTL
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/opinion/sunday/women-older-happiness.html?fbclid=IwAR22oRin6O1hCcwzt8f2dIg6PIl5aMSbiJ-ScxGZAFNNR311l6qnoUbrTWU

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  27. Wise words, Leanne! Thanks for the reminder.

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  28. Some very interesting comments on your interesting post. I think any of those subjects are ok, I am sure that your point is overdoing and constant negatives. The best thing we did was to stop watching morning TV, for us it just started the day with bad news that we did not need. I am not good at small talk so sometimes I talk about health or the weather LOL. Anyway, we need to feature this good reminder to think about the emphasis of our conversations.
    Kathleen
    Blogger's Pit Stop

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  29. Well as an IBD patient I completely get the digestive conversations, LOL! I save those for my husband (who has a warped sense of humor anyway) or FB IBD support groups. Only thing is I'm on a very restricted diet because of it so the subject does come up when I can't eat what everyone else is. But I never get graphic about it.

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