EMBRACING A LIFE OTHERS DON'T UNDERSTAND

Making a life choice that's different from the accepted "norm" can be quite challenging. To allow the contentment of your new life choice to settle in, here's three concepts you will need to embrace. #midlife #lifechanges

WHEN YOU MAKE A DIFFERENT LIFESTYLE CHOICE

Choosing how to create a Midlife SYMPHONY where the second half of life is better than you could ever have expected can often include making challenging life choices that are different from the majority of those around you, and different from the accepted "norm". If you go against the flow and choose a lifestyle that suits you, but is out of the realm of what others expected of you, then you might need to embrace a few new concepts. You don't need to explain your choices to anyone, but there will still be many who don't understand why you'd step out of the mainstream and head off down a quiet little life tributary.

When you pull out of the expected course, and start paddling your canoe in a different direction, it's a good idea to be confident in your "why" and to know that it's right for you - maybe not for others, but definitely right for you. For your heart to be centred and to allow the contentment of your new life choice to settle in, here's three concepts you will need to embrace.

1. EMBRACE YOUR NEW LIFESTYLE CHOICE

If you've chosen to go down a different path to those around you then you need to be prepared to have your choice questioned. That doesn't mean that the choice is wrong or needs to be reconsidered, it just means that others are going to want to know why you'd want something that's out of their comfort zone. When you've lived a certain way for decades, then made a big change, there will be ripples that spread out around you that attract the notice and judgement of others.

If you've been brave enough to pursue what brings you joy, then you're going to be brave enough to answer your critics. Often you're doing something that others secretly envy or want to experience for themselves. When I chose to retire early there were lots of factors that had come into play, it took several months for the dust to settle and for me to see that this has been the best possible choice for me - and I'm embracing it with absolute joy and gratitude. When you come from a positive place, then the questions and judgements have a lot less impact on continuing along your new path.


Steve Maraboli — 'This is my life... my story... my book. I will no longer let anyone else write it; nor will I apologize for the edits I make. #inspirationalquotes

2. EMBRACE BEING DIFFERENT

Making a major life change and pursuing a course that others haven't chosen to embark on will bring all those questioners out in droves. Society wants us to conform, to live lives that are easy to understand, and that mimic what's considered to be the "norm". Choosing a new normal and being different rocks the boat, the people around us want to know why we're choosing to give up work or leave the old life we led behind us - especially if they're still entrenched in the working world.

I find that questions are a good thing, they allow me to engage in conversations and to be more certain of my choices. When someone asks how I can afford to be home, it gives me the opportunity to talk about being a good steward of our finances over the years. When I get asked if I'm worried about being bored, it allows me to talk about all the interesting things I have in my life now to replace the 9-5 grind. In fact, the more questions that come my way, the more I realize that I've made the best possible choice for my life. I feel a little bit of sadness for those still caught in the mindset of work/work/work because they look to me like hamsters on a wheel while I'm cruising through with a stress-free happy smile on my face.

My truth will still exist, without your belief in me. Stacie Martin #inspirationalquotes

3. EMBRACE A LIFE OTHERS DON'T UNDERSTAND

I think a lot of people don't understand our choices because there's an element of bravery involved. We've been brave enough to step out of the expected and into the unknown. We're doing things with our lives that others haven't found the courage, or time, or capacity to be able to test the waters in for themselves. They make judgements, predict poor outcomes, give reasons for their own choices, or just look bemused by it all. That's okay. They have their lives to live and we have ours. I'm happy to be surrounded by people who are still working - if they're happy, then I'm happy - I figure they just haven't reached the same place in life as me yet.

Sometimes I question myself because I'm living a life that is so unbelievably pleasant and I wonder if I deserve to be so happy and to find it all so easy. It seems a little unfair that I get to embrace this wonderful stage of life while others are still setting their alarms and heading off to the work-a-day week. But, then I take a breath and remind myself that it's all about choice - I chose early retirement over returning to the workforce and I get happier with that choice every day. Others don't have to understand that, and maybe they never will until they're retired too. Their understanding doesn't impact my choices - I can separate myself from trying to explain myself to others and just let everything be as it is.

It's not your responsibility to want the life others want for you. Colin Wright #lifequotes

LIVE AND LET LIVE

I think it all boils down to doing what feels right for us as individuals. Maybe it's time we stopped trying to figure each other out, or expecting others to conform to the same life choices as the ones we make. Perhaps we could just be kind and encouraging towards each other's life decisions, offer acceptance, and cheer each other on.

Personally, I don't mind if you want to work until they take you out in a box, but for me - I've done my time in the coal mines and I intend to enjoy every moment I now have in the sunshine. I'm getting so much better at allowing other people's opinions to wash over me and not feel the need to justify my choices - I'll just embrace the differences and smile as I see where this new path is taking me.

Let go of who you think you should be and embrace who you are. Brene Brown #midlifequotes

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you living a life others don't understand? Have you made choices that your friends have questioned? Are you managing to withhold judgement when your friends make choices that don't conform to your understanding of how life works? Are you learning to live and let live?



Making a life choice that's different from the accepted "norm" can be quite challenging. To allow the contentment of your new life choice to settle in, here's three concepts you will need to embrace. #midlife #lifechanges
Making a life choice that's different from the accepted "norm" can be quite challenging. To allow the contentment of your new life choice to settle in, here's three concepts you will need to embrace. #midlife #lifechanges

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Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive
when you're not the person other people imagine or expect you to be, that's their problem - not yours. #lifequotes

36 comments

  1. Hi, Leanne - Quite awhile ago, I heard a quote from Judy Ford. "Your opinion of me is none of my business." It took awhile to sink in for me, but when it did, there was no turning back! :D

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    1. I really like that Donna - and it's so true isn't it? Ignoring what isn't relevant to us and just getting on with what feels right is definitely the secret to a great life.

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  2. You are right, Leanne. It's our life, and others don't need to be convinced about our choices.
    Yes, one needs to be brave to go on a new and different path. But if one is confident about the purpose, then I think it's half the battle won.
    Thank you, for another inspirational post.

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    1. I think so too Pradeep - allowing ourselves to be swayed by the gallery means we don't trust our own judgement enough. Midlife has helped me trust my own decisions more and to be able to do what feels right for me, rather than what's expected as "the norm" and it's a great way to live.

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  3. From reading your earlier posts on why you decided to retire early and leave a negative work environment, it is so inspiring to read how you now know it was the best possible choice. Making that decision took courage and I love how you have now found your joy. I wonder how many folks will choose retirement early once we navigate out of this current situation we are all experiencing.

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    1. That's an interesting question Christine, and one I've been wondering about myself. If a job is gone and there's a crowd fighting for the jobs that are left, is it a better choice to cut your losses and walk away? I'd hate to be competing for a job in the market that will be the new norm when this pandemic eventually winds down. I'm just so relieved that I followed my heart and stepped away before this happened.

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  4. YES! Once you reach a certain age (for me, 40), you honestly don't care what others think anymore. THAT, alone, is so liberating - and the life I've been living since 40 is SO much better than the path I was on before that!!!

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    1. Exactly Flossie! I think when we begin to trust our own feelings and what our heart/gut is trying to tell us, then we start feeling more in tune with who we actually are. When things fall into place and it feels right,then I'm now brave enough to ignore what others might expect and just forge my own path - it's a good feeling isn't it?

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  5. We were talking about something similar this morning on the way back from the beach, about how so many people couldn't understand our decision to sell up in Sydney and move "it doesn't make financial sense", "once you get out of this market you'll never get back in," "let's talk about the elephant in the room - you should be investing in more property and consolidating rather than down-sizing," "why are you letting Grant retire early?" Our life, our choices... and as for "letting" him retire early, I have my husband back again. Best. Decision.

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    1. That's what it comes down to in the end isn't it Jo? Getting your life back. I just couldn't face throwing myself back in the lions' den yet again - money is a great motivator, but ultimately it can't buy that deep down sense of contentment. A lot of people have questioned my decision too, but it just feels right and I'm happy to discuss it (and even defend it) but I'll never be swayed to the "keeping up with the Jones" way of thinking - life's too short!

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  6. Yes I took myself out of the game and retired at 55. I am a wife, a writer, a mother a Grandma but the best bit Is I am finaly me. Funnily enough its my sisters that have been the worst. That hurts because it just does. I am Ellen Best from SIPB https://ellenbest24.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Ellen - lovely to meet you and I'm off to check out your blog. I found that several people in my extended family looked askance at me too. They gave me the impression that they thought I was copping out or lazy - and it's neither of those things. I think when you reach a sweet spot in life, it's too precious to give up - especially when it's the peanut gallery doing the questioning! I like being "me" too :)

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  7. I love to prove people wrong. When people are saying negative things to me, it makes me more determined to succeed. I was constantly told that I would just put the weight back on, when I was starting on my weightloss journey. A year later, I haven't regained it and I'm so pleased they were wrong! It's a message I've brought my kids up with too: "You be you. Don't listen to anybody else, just stick to your guns, because what you're doing is right for you". Thanks for this very thought provoking article Leanne

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    1. Hi Christina - I wish my parents had built that confidence into me as a young person. It would have made adulthood so much easier! Having the confidence to follow our own hearts is something that a lot of us don't find until Midlife, but once it's in place, we are beacons to others - the critics and the cheerleaders. I'm ignoring the critics and joining in with the cheers - and as you say, success is our best answer.

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  8. I love your new found sense of happiness in your lifestyle Leanne and commend you on sharing this joy so honestly. Although I was 'forced' into early retirement against my will I too am now happy with how things have turned out. It took me a while to accept it but now 3+ years later life is good. I rarely get questions from people, they can see how I am living my life and many are quite envious if anything! Have pinned for #mlstl

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    1. Hi Deb - I think when we get pushed into a change of life (rather than choosing it ourselves) we are more susceptible to the peanut gallery and their opinions. I've found that as I've settled into this new way of living, I'm more adept at allowing the opinions of others to be white noise while I just get on with enjoying the fruit of my labours.

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  9. Hi Leanne, Great to hear you're embracing your lifestyle choice and feeling happy about it. I've been going on a path that's different from my peers and societal norms for a long time. When I was younger, it wasn't easy to be different. By mid-life, the people in my social circle got used to me being me and they see that I've been doing more than fine so no more questions :) #MLSTL

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    1. Being strong enough to go against the flow early in life has definitely set you up for the second half Natalie. I was much more of a conformist and living up to the expectations others had for me. Now I'm much braver than I used to be and it's paying off - I love my new way of life and it might seem like a surprise choice to others, but for me it feels like a really good fit.

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  10. One of the benefits of mid life, realising you should live for you not others. Lovely post

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    1. Exactly! 50+ years of living the life that I was expected to live, and dancing to everyone else's drumbeat - and now (finally!) I can do my own thing in my own time and relax. Midlife is the best life!

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  11. Hi Leanne, your happiness comes through in your words. I also love that I am exactly where I want to be in life. But I’m also very happy that I don’t care at all what others think of my choices in life.

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    1. What I love about blogging Jennifer is that I see all these Midlife women making different choices, but all loving where they're headed and going along with confidence. It's so different to how I used to be. I love that others might be forging new frontiers, but it's also okay for others (like me) to enjoy stepping back a little and going with the flow.

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  12. Great reflective post Leanne. I admit in my early days of 'full' retirement I did the comparison thing too much as I did not 'measure' up to traditional retirements (from now I understand is long ago!) of owning a house, having a good income and playing social games of cards/golf and travelling OS. Not us. My parents retired like this but it was 1983. I like retirement now as I have accepted there are so many variations and mine is but one. I hope you continue with the same enthusiasm for your life choices now. Denyse #mlstl

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    1. Hi Denyse - we won't be doing a lot of those things either - we don't have a large super fund or multiple investments, but we have more than enough for our needs. Contentment has a lot going for it, accepting that you have enough and that your life is full makes all the difference. It's such a great way to tune out the naysayers - happiness defeats even the loudest voices.

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  13. Hi Leanne, I just have one little thing to say - yes, you deserve to be happy. Enjoy it! :-) x

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    1. Thanks so much Cheryl - I feel like it's my time in the sun. I love that I can be content with enough - not necessarily as much as others have, but for us it's more than enough for me to be able to kiss off working with difficult people and their drama.

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  14. I have never cared what other people do, once it doesn't scare the horses or interfere with anyone else! Why should we worry about the small stuff? Unfortunately I'm in no position to give up working for others just yet, to pay the bills and all the rest, but I could be doing worse! #MLSTL

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    1. Enda I think men are better at tuning out the voices in the background and are brought up to be more confident in their choices. For a lot of women in their 50's and older, it's been a long hard path to reach a point where they're confident to say - "my life and my choices". It's a great place to be in and I'm so grateful to have arrived at a point where life is so good.

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  15. All good points, Leanne. I have a sister that likes to go, go, go! Sometimes she's eating dinner at 8 or 9:00 at night! Me, I like having something of a routine and a 6:00 dinner. To each her own! #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Christie - I still see you as a go-getter - so your sister must be a dynamo and a half (I wonder what was in the drinking water when your mum was pregnant?) But you're so right - each to their own and maybe instead of questioning the choices of others, we should respect their decisions (especially at our age!) and all just keep cheering each other on.

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  16. Great post, Leanne. Contentment is the key, isn't it? I've always been on my own path, since birth practically! #BloggersPitStop

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    1. It took me a long time to be brave enough to tread my own path Jean - so now I'm happy to continue forging ahead - and it's a lovely place to be in now days!

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  17. Hi Leanne I love the quote from Donna's comment 'Your opinion of me is none of my business'. It is so hard to not be concerned about what others think. I do believe though that because of the midlife blogging community and BBB's like yourself, I am finding it easier to follow my own path and not be concerned if others don't 'get it'. We deserve our own happiness and finding that in our own way. Thanks for always sharing your wisdom and gently reminding us all that it is okay to be ourselves. Thanks for co-hosting #MLSTL and sharing on SM. xx

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    1. Hi Sue - you're so right about the blogging community - having the support of women who I've come to know and respect (yes - you!) helps me hold true to what feels right for me. I'm so much less inclined these days to toe the line of doing what's expected - and feel a lot braver and more able to follow what feels right to me.

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  18. My husband and I chose to retire early. We haven’t encountered anyone questioning our choices. Envy perhaps. In any case you’re right. Each person needs to do what’s right for themselves, and not concern themselves with what other people think.

    Michelle
    http://mybijoulifeonline.com

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    1. Hi Michelle - you must have a lot of friends who are open to others making different lifestyle choices to theirs. Nobody I know says much that is critical, but they certainly seem a little bemused that I'm 10 years ahead of my original retirement plan. Sometimes it even surprises me, but now I'm here I wouldn't change it for the world and it's nice to not feel the need to explain it to others.

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