3 KEY CHANGES FOR FINDING BALANCE

Three key changes that led to a balanced life with a fulfilling career in a new country, and a sense of peaceful acceptance.

INTRO

Today I have the next guest in my MIDLIFE SYMPHONY series where I've asked others to share what they're doing to make the second half of life the best half of life. Anne (from Anne's Happy Cluesis sharing today about a change in career that led to a change in the country she lives in and the lifestyle she leads. Midlife has finally brought her some balance.


A WAKE-UP CALL … AND FINALLY FINDING BALANCE

It’s funny how our minds know things before we do. Have you had those phases in your life when you suddenly realise you’ve drifted into so-called bad habits? You’re arriving at work later and later and the number of hours spent in front of Netflix seems to be increasing. And when you should be working, you’re googling about every other subject under the sun? Anything to avoid what you should really be doing. Good old escapism.

But no, life is meant to be lived.

THE REALISATION

Some years ago I came back from another 3 week work trip. When I saw the reactions in my dogs both at seeing me and at being home, I knew something had to change. My dogs literally sniffed every cushion and every pillow in a frantic run just to make sure it was all there. Then they went round the house and did it all again.

It was like watching a crazy bee who can’t decide which flower to go for. And suddenly, I realised that’s what I must look like rushing from one thing to another.

I was doing crazy hours and, after that trip, I realised that I needed to find balance. I could feel the burn-out looming round the corner. I also didn’t want to be one of those people who retires and then fades into the background because they don’t know what to with themselves. And so I decided to retire from ‘the norm’ … and to claim my life back.

Anne and her dogs

MAKING THE SHIFT

I originally moved to Asia about 10 years ago to escape. Now I decided to move to find my balance. I needed to get out of a life and a city that revolved around work and money and 'being young’.

Enough with being told that my best years are over … who gets to decide that? I do!

So I moved to a quiet island in Thailand. I was craving nature.

I know I make it sound easy but I had a wonderful coach at the time. It also took me about 2 years to shift my mindset and to move away from expectations. My coach helped me work out my passions and values and to connect with the world differently.

For me, it wasn't so much about the move as about finding internal healing and fulfilment in what I do and through that, finding balance. The move worked for me financially and mentally but I believe the main key changes I made are accessible to anyone, anywhere. 

Anne with her dog on a Thailand beach

MY 3 KEY CHANGES FOR FINDING BALANCE

1. Mindfulness

Building up a daily practice allowed me to learn to let go of constantly ‘doing’ and to appreciate simply ‘being’. This was revolutionary for me and allowed me to shift my mindset. I started appreciating nature more and connecting to the feeling of being alive and content. No longer do I measure myself against how many hours work I do but about how I approach life.

2. Finding My Passion & Volunteering

Through my own self-discovery, I finally realised that I could use my past and my story to help others. I hadn’t realised how much I love understanding how we think and using that knowledge to help others. It’s such a magical thing when you see someone that you’ve helped have an ‘aha’ moment about their life. I’d found my passion…

… and of course there’s my love of animals and I currently volunteer at a local dog and cat shelter. There’s nothing quite like volunteer work to give you perspective on life. And death. When you’re surrounded by sick animals every day, you tend to develop a certain awe and humility about life.

You try to make life count by doing things you feel are important as measured by your own personal values, no one else’s.

3. No More Little Miss Perfect

I always used to try to fix everyone and everything. I took on all that responsibility and I was essentially a highly strung ball of stress. It wasn’t fun for anyone around me, let alone myself. Through mindfulness and meditation I learnt to take a step back and accept people as they are, including myself. I can apologise for my mistakes but I don’t have to take on theirs anymore. It’s such a relief.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m not perfect but that’s part of being human. My aim is to keep learning about myself and about this world with self-compassion and curiosity. Not surprisingly, I’m finding that more fun and fulfilling than constantly berating myself. But we can all do it. With a calmer and more balanced approach, I now truly believe the best years of my life are yet to come.

So get out there, don’t apologise for being yourself, find your passion and enjoy the moment! 


Three key changes that led to a balanced life with a fulfilling career in a new country, and a sense of peaceful acceptance.

Three key changes that led to a balanced life with a fulfilling career in a new country, and a sense of peaceful acceptance.
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26 comments

  1. I need help figuring out my passion, I think. Pretty sure it has something to do with children. But not sure what. In the meantime, perfectionism and 'doing' keep me hustling but not in a good, rewarding way. I appreciate this thought-provoking post.

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    1. Hi! Thank you very much for your thoughts and comment. We all need help to find our passion sometimes ... it's not easy in the world of instant gratification that we live in. I battled with perfectionism for a long time also! The "On Purpose Person" by Kevin W. McCarthy is a good place to start if you want a book. It goes through exercises to help you understand your values and passions so you can work out your purpose. I hope it helps :)

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    2. Leslie I know exactly what you mean about finding a passion or purpose as life transitions into the next phase. I think we finally find time for ourselves and then need to figure out what we're going to do with it - or it just fritters away. I'm in the process of being kinder to myself (no more perfectionism or people pleasing) and also finding what the next stage of life looks like for me too.

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  2. Hi, Anne - It's a pleasure to meet you here. I completely agree that the back of our minds (and our dogs) know things about us before we realize them ourselves.
    Thank you, Leanne - for another great post in this series.

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    1. Hi - good to meet you too! Thank you also for your comments and yes, our dogs always know everything :)

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    2. Hi Donna - I think our pets often have a much simpler view of life - and when we get rid of all the distractions we often find our answers staring us in the face - Anne certainly did :)

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  3. This is SO RELATABLE! I love how you mindfully made decisions and took actions to be more present in your life. (It makes such a huge difference in our happiness.) I think your dogs are probably really glad too! Thank you, Anne. And thank you Leanne for gathering and sharing these wonderful midlife stories!
    ~Lisa

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    1. Hi Lisa, Thank you so much for your thoughts! Mindfulness really has made such a positive impact on me, it's been incredible. You're so right that my dogs are really glad too. Actually, they're both rescues and one was previously badly abused so she hated leaving the house before. She was terrified and would just about make it round the block. Now, she's a completely different dog. She's adventurous, always ready to go out and be in the front, constantly hunting round the garden. It's been an amazing transformation for all of us ;)

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    2. Hi Lisa - I get inspired by each and every one of my guests - particularly the ones (like Anne) who've made huge changes in their lives (such courage!) and it's paid off big time for them. I just need to be a bit braver at times when challenges present themselves - it'd make for very interesting blogging!

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  4. Good to meet you Anne (thanks Leanne)! Whilst I haven't moved to another country like you have I can very much relate to the changes you have made. I actually did reach burn out and then realised that some serious life changes needed to happen starting with leaving the workplace I was in. I learnt about mindfulness and gratitude and loosening up on my people pleasing perfectionistic ways. I've also done a bit of volunteer work - fostering kittens for the RSPCA (another animal lover here). Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts with us! xo

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    1. Hi Min - we share very similar stories and sometimes I think we have to go through a huge life upheaval to make us stop and take stock of how far we've allowed ourselves to drift into a lifestyle that's not good for us mentally or emotionally. Once you get past the fallout, life smooths out again and becomes very pleasant doesn't it?

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  5. Hi! Thank you so much for your lovely comments. It's always great to meet another animal lover. It's wonderful hearing your story also and it's interesting how many of us get to burn out (or just before). I'm happy to hear that you found mindfulness, gratitude and volunteer work though. It definitely helped me realise how much more to life there was. It's a beautiful journey - thanks again x

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  6. Hi Anne, great to read some of your story here at Leanne's blog, it's always good to meet others who have made changes and grown into the person they want to be. I admire this attitude and resilience.

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    1. Hi Deb, Thank you so much for your comment! It's very true that it's so great to meet others who have made changes or at least are working through them. Sometimes I feel such empathy for those who will never see the need for change as it hurts them more in the long run. So, it makes me so happy to be part of this community and to be able to all share together :)

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    2. Hi Deb - I loved Anne's story - it's so easy to keep playing safe - even if it's making us miserable. Being brave enough to make so many changes (in career and location) shows how inspiring she is doesn't it?

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  7. Hi Anne, it is nice to meet you here at Leanne's place. It sounds as if your leap of faith ten years ago has lead you to a peaceful place. I'll hop over to your blog and read more about your journey. Stay curious and life will evolve as it should.

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    1. Hi Suzanne - I was so pleased to connect with Anne and to read her blog posts on what she's doing now and the changes that brought her to that place - life is ever evolving and when we move with it, it's so rewarding.

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  8. Hi Suzanne, it's lovely to meet you too and thank you for your kind words. It's very true that we should stay curious and life will evolve... I sometimes think of it like watching a film. I also find curiosity makes things so much easier because it usually means we're not wishing for things to be different. Thanks again for your thoughts. p.s. I also enjoyed browsing your blog. And what great photos!

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  9. Hi Leanne and Anne. I really enjoyed this and agree wholeheartedly with your message Anne. Life is all about finding ourselves and becoming who we are meant to be. When you really slow the pace of life, the peace you gain allows you to find yourself. Regards, Christina

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    1. Hi Christina, Thank you so much for your comment! It's so true that it's about slowing down. It's really helped me find peace but also more meaning in life which has been so wonderful.

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  10. It’s lovely to meet you here Ann. I agree with your tips for finding balance even though I’m still struggling to bring balNce into my life. I’m working on it and getting there slowly

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    1. Hi Jennifer, it's lovely to meet you too. It definitely isn't easy everyday and it takes time and patience but it's worth it. I'm very lucky to have 2 rescue dogs to help me though ;) They always remind me to stay in the present. Good luck for you also.

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  11. Great to read another fascinating post in the series Leanne. Anne spoke to many of us I see by the comments! Knowing about others stories is always helpful to understand our own lives.



    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek #199. Next week, the optional prompt is Food. Hope to see you there. Denyse,.

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  12. Thanks Denyse and thanks for reading :D

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  13. Hello Anne. Great to meet you you. "Finding my passion and volunteering". That's where I first discovered my sense of feeling truly valuable and completely at peace with myself as a human. Work is not our worth. But what we give back to our community certainly can be. xoxo

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  14. Hello Leanne, it's great to meet you too and thank you for your thoughts. And yes, you're right, volunteering is great in so many ways. I love it. Thanks again x

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Thanks so much for your comment - it's where the connection begins.
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