Life is a constant cycle of ups and downs - it's up to us to choose the positives in every situation.


This year I chose "SYMPHONY" as my word of the year. I thought it was a wonderful way to sum up the idea of making the most of the years that lie ahead. Creating my Midlife Opus - and encouraging others to share their stories about making the second half of life great. Then on top of all of that came COVID-19 and all it brought in its wake.


I started blogging six years ago – I was in my early 50’s and feeling like life was a bit blah. I think it was dawning on me that I was hitting the second half of life and I needed to become more proactive in preventing a slide downhill into feeling invisible and irrelevant. Blogging introduced me to an amazing new world full of interesting women (and a few men) who wrote about living their lives with purpose and positivity – they were thriving and embracing getting older – I loved that, and hopefully now I’ve become one of them.

I also heard about the idea of choosing a Word of the Year rather than making a New Year’s resolution and it’s been something I’ve embraced every January for the past 5 years. Sometimes my #WOTY just leaps out and other times it can take a while to arrive. This year I struggled with finding a word that encapsulated what I was feeling – basically I wanted something that said “Life’s short – make the most of every moment” and finally at the last moment it dawned on me that the quote I’d been using as my desktop background summed up beautifully what I was trying to get at and it was encapsulated by the very last word – SYMPHONY.


The quote was by William Henry Channing and goes like this:

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, to all bravely await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony. 

To live content with small means. To seek elegance rather than luxury,  and refinement rather than fashion. To be worthy not respectable,  and wealthy not rich.

It articulated perfectly all that I’d been gradually moving towards over the last five years – a life of contentment and appreciation, needing less, slowing down, focusing on what brings joy, and living on my own terms rather than how I thought others wanted me to be.

I finished work last year and spent many months recovering from the toxic environment I’d been dealing with. I realized I didn’t want to work any longer, I was happy with what we had - living frugally had paid off and we were debt free with no desire to amass more “stuff”. What I wanted to focus my attention on was making the most of the time I have left – investing in relationships, sinking my roots in deep, becoming a wise woman with a deep soul, and just being at peace with myself and the world around me. The quote spoke to me on so many levels, and it’s become my Midlife Symphony - the perfect direction for 2020.


So far this year has had a lot of ups and downs, the low notes included a pandemic that came in and turned our lives upside down, we’ve seen rioting and politics rampaging across the globe, financial failings, greedy hoarding, and social media in-fighting - sometimes I think we all wonder what’s going on? But through it all, there are still so many high notes – I loved the community’s response to lockdown, teddies, rainbows, goodwill, singing, offers of help, government assistance, donations, appreciation of care workers, and so much more. People stepped up during the crisis and that makes my heart happy.

This quote from Albert Camus always reminds me that the world around us can be looking pretty grim, but we always have within us the ability to choose happiness.
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there's something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

In the midst of Winter I found there was within me an invincible Summer - Albert Camus #lifequote

I like to think that my Symphony is all about choosing Summer every day despite the turmoil around me, about finding joy and living my best life right now in a calm and measured fashion. It’s about being true to myself and authentic in everything, and of course, shining my light and bringing some sunshine into the lives of others.


When I started writing about how I wanted my Symphony to play out, I thought about all the other women out there who were also making the most of Midlife and I decided to invite anyone who was interested in sharing their story to write a guest post for me. In the six months that I hosted my Midlife Symphony guest series I had 15 guest posts (even one brave bloke put his hand up!) and they’ve added so much variety and interest to my blog this year.

I feel like we’re all part of this second half of life orchestra and the notes resonate more perfectly because of that. I hope for each one of us, Midlife is all about caring, sharing, and becoming our best selves, and ultimately we’ll leave a legacy that reflects our own unique Symphony because you really can’t ask for much more than that. 

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