HOW TO FIND JOY THROUGH ENGAGING WITH OTHERS

Increasing enjoyment in life can be as easy as engaging and connecting with others - at our own pace in our own time. #midlife #women #connection

ARE YOU ENGAGING WITH OTHER PEOPLE?

Becoming More in Midlife and finding joy every day begins with engaging with other people and actively participating in life. It's so easy to sit back and let life pass us by, to tell ourselves that we don't have anything worthwhile to offer, or that we can't be bothered interacting with other people. 

If you're anything like me, you might even feel like you're becoming more introverted as you get older and wonder what happened to the outgoing person you used to be. I think it's important to realize that we don't have to be raging extraverts to be able to enjoy engagement - it's about finding the right amount that energizes us without overloading our systems.

HOW MUCH ENGAGEMENT IS TOO MUCH?

I see Midlife women on social media who are living life at top speed. They are working, volunteering, babysitting grandchildren, socializing, exercising, and generally going full bore. I admire them.......but...... I don't feel the need to emulate them on every level. Forging on full speed ahead works for some people - others (like me) find the concept exhausting even to think about these days.

I've lived my 20's, 30's and 40's being a wife, mother, employee, church secretary, youth group leader, discussion group co-ordinator, family taxi driver, driving instructor, house keeper, and so many more roles. Now I'm living my 50's realizing that I don't have to be all those things anymore - I can pick and choose which ones I want to engage with and which ones I can leave to others.

GETTING THE BALANCE RIGHT

There's always the risk of letting your life become too small as the kids leave the nest and you cut back on your work days and other commitments. Sitting at home reading a book is lovely, but if it becomes all there is in life then you can be at risk of losing connection. It's lovely having a partner who you are happy to grow old with, but that person shouldn't have to be your everything.

We need family, we need friends, we need to get outside and away from sitting on our bottoms all day eating snacks and feeling like we've run out of things to do. We need to keep our world wide open, to find new things to engage with - the kids might be gone, we might have retired, we might notice our friendship circle is getting smaller. These can be good changes - or they can be excuses to stop growing - it's our choice as to whether we sit back or keep moving forward. 

love life, engage with it, give it all you've got - Maya Angelou #midlife #women #connection

KEEP ENGAGING

I think the secret is to find your "sweet spot" where you have time to yourself and time when you step outside and connect with others. Blogging makes it so easy to stay home and stay online, I've realized it can be a trap and that I need to have friends IRL too - people who are different to me and who challenge me and make me laugh. I need to close my laptop and open my mouth and chat and chillout.

Life is buzzing around us - staying engaged with it, learning new things, getting out and about - these are all so important and it's what keeps us interersting in our own right. The more we challenge ourselves to stay relevant and to keep growing, the more we enjoy this Midlife adventure. I love it when I find something new - something MORE - something that engages my heart and mind, it's when I feel truly alive.

Midlife is a time for soul-searching, self-awareness and creating the next chapter of life - Sandra Watson #midlife #women #connection

ENGAGEMENT LOOKS DIFFERENT FOR EACH OF US

One person's social engagement can be another person's worst nightmare. I know women who love long distance running with a group - the thought of that leaves me feeling faint! Others like parties or large gatherings of women (like The Red Hat Society) and others are more comfortable one on one over a cup of coffee or a walk around the neighbourhood. Some like craft groups, others like to go out dancing, there's blogging, or book clubs, or sporting clubs, the list is endless.

The secret is to know what engages your heart and mind. Forcing yourself to participate in something you don't enjoy isn't going to bring joy into your life. Maybe you need to give yourself a little push to get out there, but it needs to be something that piques your interest and encourages you to interact with other people. Don't sit at home waiting for life to happen to you - step outside, smell the roses, and meet up with friends (or make a few new ones). Life is short and we need to enjoy every moment of it.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

What engages your heart and mind? What do you enjoy? Where are your points of engagement? Midlife is such an exciting time to be alive and to be discovering what we really love to do and what makes our hearts sing. Discovering our bliss!


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Increasing enjoyment in life can be as easy as engaging and connecting with others - at our own pace in our own time.

It's all about finding ways we can enjoy life more - engaging with other people and actively participating in life is a great place to start.  #midlife #women #connection

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It's all about finding ways we can enjoy life more - engaging with other people and actively participating in life is a great place to start.  #midlife #women #connection

43 comments

  1. Thanks for your post Leanne. You’re right, of course we should engage with others. Though for lots, this is easier said than done. Sometimes it is easier to stay in our comfort zone. I’ll definitely take on board your suggestions/reminders. Regards Shaz

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    1. Hi Shaz - thanks so much for your kind words - and you're right that it's harder for some people - and it seems to get harder as we get older too. But it's also really important to make the effort, I find when I push myself a bit I'm always glad I did.

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  2. Hi Leanne! Some months ago I realised that I didn't socialise much, and even though I'm an introvert anyway, I'd reduced my social life to almost zero. If it wasn't for my husband's encouragement I wouldn't leave the house except to work. So, I'm making a concerted effort to socialise a bit more, because if I'm honest about it, I wasn't in a good place psychologically because of it. Blogging has actually saved me from 'losing' myself, and even though my new social life is mostly on line and not in real life (although I'm working on that too), it's giving me back some self worth, and helping me to feel a bit more human again. Life is complicated, isn't it?! Thank you for the post, it's really useful. I've pinned for you. Have a nice weekend! :-)

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    1. Hi Cheryl - I have the same tendency to stay home and going out becomes more effort than I can be bothered with. Blogging can make me feel like I'm connected, but we still need the IRL encounters and the instant reactions and engagements don't we? It's also healthy because we don't expect our husbands to be our sole source of connection. Glad you're making the effort to get out and about a bit more x

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  3. Thanks for this post. Glad to hear I’m not the only one.

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    1. No, we're all in this together aren't we? Thanks for stopping by :)

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  4. Hi Leanne, I laughed at the phrase about running out of things to do - as if that will ever happen!! I enjoyed reading your post, as always, and understand where you’re coming from. It is easy to let life pass us by but we don’t have to. I’m one who is into keeping busy, socialising and with lots of things like volunteering, book club etc but I can also just as easily enjoy a day at home reading a book on my own. It’s finding that sweet spot as you say. Some days I want lots of interaction and others none, it’s up to me to make it work. I’m actually pretty happy with my balance at the moment and am feeling in my prime. Thanks for another thought provoking read.

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    1. It's definitely about balance Deb - we can't be "on" every day or we'd be exhausted, but we can also run the risk of being too closed away and losing our connections because we have our nose in a book or glued to a screen every day. Retirement just means we have to be more intentional about getting out there and engaging - sounds like you've got it down to a fine art :)

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    2. You're right, it's all about balance. Some days I get the balance that works and other days I don't but that's just life :) I'm enjoying my retirement time and take every effort to engage. Sharing for #MLSTL

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  5. I'm usually pretty good at engaging online but it's been more of a one-way thing for the past 6mths in that, I've spent time on social media and know what others are doing but not necessarily chimed in because I've been feeling so negative about everything.

    And I must admit - though I love my house and where I live - living out of time makes socialising (in real life) a little more challenging. I'm slack at the best of times but when I have to think about 'going into town' to catch up with someone it's even more reason to say no.

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    1. Your IRL comment about having to make the effort to go out to catch up is exactly the same for me. I think "oh no, I have to get dressed and drive into town" and that adds a layer onto whether I can be bothered or not - it's easier just to stay home. Being online so much also masks lack of engagement IRL because we're reading stuff or commenting or FB'ing and that makes us feel like we're socializing - but it's cheating in a way isn't it? I'm still figuring out how to get the balance right.

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  6. Oh Leanne I think you might have been referring to me as the woman who has lots happening life! Whilst I enjoy all of that engagement I also enjoy my downtime and being alone. As you say finding the right balance is the key. We are all individuals with different needs and desires. I love my blogging friends with my BBB top of the list, my running friends and my friends in my family - my daughter and a couple of very special cousins and of course my BF who is my husband.

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    1. Sue I think you have the online/IRL balance down pat - you seem to have something going on lots of different levels. I've been a bit slack with engaging IRL and really need to get out and about more - especially if I'm not working now. It's so easy to sit at home and engage on line, a bit more of an effort to get dressed and go out. I'm working on it though because I want to stay interested and interesting (and that doesn't work so well if I'm at home in my pjs all day!)

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    2. I hear you Leanne but just remember you have had a major change in your life and you need to take care of you first. I agree though catching up with friends for a coffee or run (as I do with the Saturday Sisters) gives you so much. I love at the beginning and end of each run, we embrace and say hello and goodbye. I don't have many IRL friends but the ones I have are very special. I also love our connection through blogging and am proud to have you as my BBB. Another popular week at #MLSTL and I'm sharing on social media. Have a great week, my friend. xx

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  7. Hi, Leanne - Knowing what engages our hearts and minds, finding balance, and being willing to try (some) new things are incredibly important. Yesterday, I had two friends who tried to drag my off for an evening of dancing (seriously, not my thing!). Finally, I told them that I would go if they would both join me for Hot Yoga at 6:30 a.m. The conversation ended right there! :)

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    1. That made me laugh Donna - I have to admit that neither appeals to me (especially the 6.30am start for yoga!) You are always doing something interesting with your days and I love the variety you include - and you are often out and about and I think that's so important if we want to live an interesting life. I'm so inspired by my Midlife blogging buddies - they keep me accountable!

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  8. Hi Leanne - Doing what we enjoy, finding balance, and being willing to try something new are all important for a satisfying life and positive aging. I call my approach 'half and half' as I have some activities that I do alone, some I do with other people. I also leave my days at least half unstructured so I can do what I like at my own pace and allow for spontaneity. #MLSTL

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    1. I think half and half sounds just about perfect Natalie. I'm not as social as I used to be and I find time at home is just so restful. But on the other hand if I sit at home all day every day I become really boring and disengaged - not a healthy way to live!

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  9. I know I need to push myself to get out of the house and interact with people. I am an introvert, and I am truly happy at home. However I also enjoy time with people, especially if I can control how much time and when. I am more interesting when I get out into the world and out of my little bubble. It is a mater of finding the right balance. I often don't get the balance right.

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    1. I'm with you Michele - I'm loving being at home more and more these days - but when I get out and have a coffee or go to a class, I find that I'm re-energized and that I really did need to interact. You're also right about controlling the time factor - some people can drain you dry in a short period of time - less exposure to that variety of person is essential for my poor brain!

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  10. I agree, Leanne, it's all about finding balance, and as you point out, that balance is different for each of us. I like engaging with people, but if I have too much on the calendar, I start stressing out. I need down time in between my socializing. I also appreciate that you noted pushing yourself to start an activity may be uncomfortable, but it should be enjoyable once you get into it, or maybe it's time to find a new activity. Thanks for another great post. #MLSTL

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    1. I've just started a new "gentle gym" class yesterday Christie - and I think I talked myself in and out of going at least a dozen times! Then I realized I could give it a try and walk away if I didn't like it. Fortunately it looks like it will be a fun outing and I can tick some more movement off my list for the week :) Balance, balance, balance are my keywords this year!

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  11. Hi Leanne,
    I agree that it is about the balance, and the finding the "sweet spot" of enough engagement to keep us busy and interested, and enough "downtime" to relax and rejuvenate. I laugh now at my fear that I would not be engaged enough after I retired from teaching. Ha. I literally have to slow myself down. And the blogging certainly keeps me on my toes.
    Everyone's needs are different so everyone's balance is at a different point.
    Shared from #MLSTL

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    1. I think the "different strokes for different folks" mantra holds true with this one - balance is different for all of us - some can handle a lot more on their plates than others. I'm finding I love being home, but I still need to get out and engage to keep me integrated with the world and to stay relevant. Sitting at home in my pjs might be nice, but it's not good for my mental health if that's the only thing I'm doing.

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  12. It's funny how we can tend to become a little more introverted and reclusive as we get older. I know I have. I love time alone but sometimes I overdo it and I can get quite lonely. I engage & interact with people a lot but mostly online and probably not quite enough IRL, on a regular basis anyway, apart from my 3 x weekly pilates lessons. However too much 'actual' social engagement leaves me depleted of energy so it's a matter of getting that balance right. As for what I enjoy - well I love to be productive & creative, obviously I love blogging and all that entails. I love a lunch or coffee out with girlfriends - throw in a movie or a musical and I'm happy as a pig in mud! I love nature and going to places I haven't been before - which reminds me - I need a weekend getaway somewhere and soon!! xo

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    1. Blogging has been a godsend for me Min - the opportunity to engage without having to go outside! But it can also be a trap where hours speed by and I've done nothing but sit on my butt and type and read. Getting out of the house for a walk or a coffee helps get the balance back - my IRL friends are great at giving me a laugh and that banter that is missing when you're online. Spontaneous conversation is such a joy (in moderation!)

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  13. I'm not so good at the balance. I get a little manic and exhaust myself. I do like quiet time alone though, I just need to make sure I say 'No' or don't over book myself. #MLSTL

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    1. I wonder if blogging has made being home alone easier for me Lydia. I'm not an introvert in the true sense of the word, but I do enjoy being home and engaging online - it seems easier these days than getting out and being involved. Sometimes I need to give myself a bit of a push - especially seeing I'm not working atm.

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  14. It's so easy sometimes to just put your head down each day and do what needs to be done without trying to connect socially with others. Especially true when just moving to a new area. One would think that new neighbors would be easy to connect with, but not so much. But our new community does different events so I'll be going to a few of those to try to get to know people.

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    1. I think the automatic garage door took away a lot of neighbourliness Jennifer (along with less mail to collect!) We drive in and don't get out of our cars, don't go to the mailbox as much and stay inside a lot more. Walking has helped me connect with the neighbourhood - and I imagine community events would be good icebreakers too.

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  15. I sure think I connected with a LOT of people in my working life in schools and universities over almost 40 years. I missed the social aspects a lot initially and realised my friend-base was in work. Nevertheless I keep up some connections on line and now with some coffee catch ups. This year I decided I would wait and see if those I met up with last year might initiate something .....and I would still be waiting (and missing my much needed connections) if I had not make the first move. So, some of us are initiators and I am one of those. Denyse #MLSTL

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    1. I know what you mean about socializing and work Denyse - the less I work, the less I engage with old colleagues - a bit like fellow mums from when our kids were little - life moves on and the friendships fade away. I've decided to be an initiator with the friends I want to keep - although most of the few I have left will get in contact if I've been off grid for a while.

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  16. I agree that finding the balance that is unique for each of us is key to truly enjoying midlife and beyond. I can get so immersed in my online work that I forget about interacting with others, so I make sure to check in with the family, grand kids and friends and make some memories with them!

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    1. The joys of online connection have been so surprising for me Candi - especially through blogging (and Facebook updates) but they do tend to draw us away from making an effort to engage IRL. I've had to make conscious choices to close my laptop and get out more - I need the face to face interactions and chatting that typing doesn't quite cover!

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  17. I am not as engaged at this time in my life as I would like but I am like you and there is a fine line between too little and too much. I am blessed in the fact I have formed new friendships since retiring and between all of my groups of friends plus my family I can have a nice combination of doing or not.

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    1. You're in a bit of a bubble atm Victoria - you need to be so focused on your husband and his health and that can disconnect your from more frivolous activities. I'm sure you'll be back at the pool with those girlfriends soon and enjoying a laugh and all the interactions that you loved a year or so ago x

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  18. My husband frequently says he doesn't have enough male friends to just hang out with. As a nurse I am constantly talking to patients, family and other nurses. Its really hard for me to get out there..

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    1. My husband says the same thing - he's not into beer and football or golf, so he finds it difficult engaging with any male on an intellectual level - he says it's always so superficial. I've just stopped work so I'm challenging myself to try to get out and about and keep interacting with people now I don't have that in a job.

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  19. I'm a very selective socialiser and I easily get peopled out. After a 5 day festival for Rowan's 70th the thought of just being at home is so attractive right now. I find it a balancing act in a relationship where I am an introvert and Rowan an extrovert.
    Pinned

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    1. My husband is the introvert and I find that his preferences are becoming mine as I get older. Socializing on any grand scale does my head in these days - parties give me a headache! I'm trying to keep the engagement up on a smaller scale so that I don't get completely out of touch while I'm not working.

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  20. Another special post that encourages and inspires. My favorite part is:
    The secret is to know what engages your heart and mind. Forcing yourself to participate in something you don't enjoy isn't going to bring joy into your life.
    Sharing for MLSTL

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  21. Leanne... so much YES to this post!
    I suffer greatly from comparisonistis. I constantly compare my efforts with others. And consequently, I never measure up. I don't spend as much time with my grandchildren as others. I don't volunteer as much as some. I don't blog on a daily basis.

    Learning the balance that works for me is key to a joyful midlife and beyond.

    I will pin this awesome post to my #mlstl board for further encouragement and inspiration!

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  22. Love this post Leanne. You are so right that everyone needs to find their own way of engaging with life!

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