2019 taught me a lot about living well. Sometimes you have to reach a place where you wake up to the fact that you aren’t living the life you want before you can start living well. #newstart #lifelessons


2019 taught me a lot about living well. Sometimes you have to reach a place where you wake up to the fact that you aren’t living the life you want before you can start making changes to bring about a life that feels authentic and brings joy and contentment with it.

Last year I finally left an extremely toxic work environment, and I learned a few very important truths in the process of working through the fallout and progressing through to recovering myself again. They’re truths that we all know, but sometimes we let them gradually slide away when we’re slowly sinking into a situation that’s unexpected and stressful. So, I thought I’d share three lessons that I learned over the year it’s taken me to emerge and live life well again.


I’ve learned a lot about boundaries in the last couple of years – they’re vital to living a healthy life and for preventing ourselves from becoming too embroiled in the problems and upsets of others. Boundaries help us set healthy limits, they teach us what we’re responsible for and what isn’t ours to carry. I wish I’d had stronger boundaries in place before I encountered a situation where they were so desperately needed.

Discovering how to set boundaries meant that I had to understand that I can’t fix someone who doesn’t want to be fixed, that some people are so caught up in their misery (real or perceived) that it defines them and they want to draw you into their story. You can’t allow that to happen - if other people ignore your clearly stated boundaries, then they aren’t your friends, they aren’t respecting you and your need to function independently. You need to be brave and move on from those people – no matter how obligated you feel, or you’ll drown as they drag you down with them.


A large step in my recovery process was learning to forgive – not because the other person apologized, or tried to reconcile, or admitted their responsibility in the breakdown, but because I needed to get them out of my head. When we don’t allow forgiveness into our hearts, we give the other person too much power, and too much headspace. They become a cancer that eats away at our happiness - past hurts and injustices swirl around and come back to be relived over, and over again.

When you choose to forgive, it opens the way to move forward, you regain your heart and mind and it frees you from the darkness associated with that time or that person. To be able to look back now without rancour is such a relief, to know that I don’t hold a grudge but actually feel sorry for the other person and can let them go from my thoughts is an absolute blessing. I’m free to get on with living my best life without them being a part of it in any way, shape, or form.


The last lesson I’m still learning is to detach myself from the opinions of others. Very few people have any idea of the level of toxicity I was working under for those years, so they aren’t in a place to understand why I’d leave my job and choose to not jump back into the workforce. I’ve finally figured out that I don’t need to explain myself to other people, I can make my choices and live them with peace and contentment, free from trying to justify them to those who aren’t in my inner circle.

It’s taken me months to realize that I’m living a life that I could only have dreamed of in the previous decades of my working life. I’m free every day to do what I like, when I like, with whom I like – I have a life that is completely on my own terms, and I’ve earned every bit of it. The secret for me is to stop worrying if it’s okay to live such a gentle and pleasant life, to step back into my own world, and leave the rest of the world to get on with doing things their way, while I quietly get on with living my own life in a way that makes me truly happy.


So, how do I live well? I choose to live without stress, drama, upset, tears, and toxicity. When you take the burden of carrying other people’s responsibilities off your own shoulders, you feel the lightness. People comment that I look younger – I don’t have that strained look around my eyes anymore, I sleep well, I live at a gentler pace, I love every single day of my life now. I’m never waiting for the weekend, or for 5pm to roll around, I’m not walking on eggshells or tip toeing around someone else’s dramatics. I feel ten years younger than I did at this time last year. I smile all the time, I laugh without making sarcastic comments to lighten an unbearable load, and I am surrounded by people I love and choose to be with – life is very, very good indeed.

And what do I suggest for ageing well? My recommendation would be to make sure you have a life you enjoy, it won’t be perfect, but you should look forward to each new day. A few suggestions to begin with: if you love your job - stay there; if you hate your job – leave. If you want to do something new – get on and do it. If you want to stop doing something that’s no longer working for you – then make the change. Don’t keep treading water – life’s short and we need to make the most of the years we have ahead of us – that’s how I’m planning on ageing well.

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Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive