ADVICE FROM A SUPERMODEL ON REASSESSING LIFE

When you're doing some soul searching, advice can come from many different sources - this is what I learnt from a super model's Instagram post.

REASSESSING AND MOVING FORWARD

It was my birthday last week and it's my last one in my 50's. I feel like it's bringing up some thoughts on how I want to prepare myself for the decade ahead when I enter my sixties next year. I've been doing a bit of reading, thinking, and drilling down deeper, and I'm planning on  2021 being the year I devote to discovering how to live life on my own terms - and finally getting rid of the underlying (and soul destroying) need to earn the approval of others.

Because this has been on my mind a lot over the last few weeks, I see little snippets of inspiration all over the place. One surprising source of wisdom that caught my eye came from a model and influencer. Those of you who read my blog would know that I'm not a fan of the whole social media "look at me and my perfect life" scenario, so I'm not on Instagram and I don't follow anyone who projects a shiny image likely to send me off down the compare and despair path. But this time it was different.

ADVICE FROM A SUPERMODEL

Megan Gale is an Australian model and influencer who also has her own skincare business (as many model/influencers tend to) and she shared a very honest Instagram post last month. She was talking about her decision to shut down her business and to spend more time with her partner and family. Keeping her business solvent during the pandemic had been extremely stressful due to issues with suppliers, and she also lost her brother to suicide during that time. The combination was enough to make her reassess her priorities in regard to the value of her time and how she was spending it.

Megan Gale - Instagram Post 28.09.2020
Megan Gale via her IG post

Megan talked about her distress over working with people who consistently let her down and how that impacted her - it reminded me so much of the difficulties I'd faced in my own workplace before I finally left. It was quite a long video post and during it she made a few very thoughtful comments that I'd like to share.

I trusted the wrong people. Boy did I trust the wrong people, I have never seen or experienced such a level of unprofessionalism, lack of integrity, lack of  competence, and the list goes on.

If they were things in my control, or that I had caused, I could own that and try to fix it, but the issues were insurmountable and ceasless.

I had used up all of my reserves of resilience and tenacity and just sheer determination. Not only was I physically, mentally, and emotionally spent, but I was also just so unwilling to trust people again. 

Ultimately, day to day, it became less and less harmonious for me. And as I sat in quarantine, I realised I don't have to keep fighting to rebuild this business, what I should be fighting for is rebuilding myself. 

I had become increasingly unhappy and I needed to stop (I'd always been a serial "do-er") and find what would make me happy. This is the first time that I’ve actually contemplated stopping and just shutting one door, and leaving myself open for whatever. That's big for me and takes a lot of letting go.

APPLYING MEGAN'S ADVICE

I think the biggest take away for me from listening to Megan's story was that everyone has times in their lives where things don't work out despite their best intentions. You can't control everything and everyone, people let us down and in the process can cause a trainwreck that we need to recover from. Continuing to push through might be the answer for some, but for others it comes down to recognizing when you've burnt out and being brave enough to hit the "Pause" button for a while.

I really appreciated Megan saying that she was shutting the door but leaving herself open to whatever comes next - letting go of the need to fight for survival, and just being in the present moment until the next stage of the journey happens. I'm feeling the same way, it's pointless pushing and prodding myself to move forward in a direction that no longer feels right for me. I've know deep down that I have no burning desire to find another job and to jump back into working for someone who I don't trust (and I have major trust issues these days when it comes to employers who let you down).

THE YEAR AHEAD

So, back to my birthday and the last year of being in my 50's..... My "plan" is to not have a plan, to use my time to reassess what I thought I needed to do, and to replace it with what feels right for me. I want to base that on what my heart tells me is right for me, rather than what my head tries to tell me I should do. I want to continue to kick back and let life take me with the flow.

She felt something click inside. She suddenly realized she was no longer available for careers, relationships or thoughts that were not in alignment with her highest expression

Something inside me feels like it's clicked into place - the books I've been reading, the thoughts others have shared, and my own heart/gut are what I'm using as guideposts. I'm still trying to figure out why I've always felt the need to earn my happiness - so many deeply rooted beliefs to work through, but I'm getting there slowly - and recognizing the problem is a great step towards finding the solution. It's in my hands and, like Megan, I intend to make the most of this life I've been given.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you on a journey of Midlife self-discovery and reassessment? Or do you have it all figured out? I take my hat off to you if you're settled and certain and ready to take on the world. I'm hoping it'll be me one day - I'm putting in the work now so I can reap the benefits down the track - wish me luck!

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When you're doing some soul searching, advice can come from many different sources - this is what I learnt from a super model's Instagram post.

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When you're doing some soul searching, advice can come from many different sources - this is what I learnt from a super model's Instagram post.

27 comments

  1. I am also not a fan of "my perfect life" depicted by some on social media. You are right - it is a means of gathering approval of others. At this stage of life, we should look for more internal validation, rather than constantly seeking external validation. I like how you think! Your supermodel gives good advice.

    And hope you had a happy birthday!

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    1. Hi Laurie - I think we can throw out the baby with the bathwater if we cut ourselves off from social media completely. I find it's about curating what I read and what I share - and if someone has something valid to say, then I'm interested in reading it. In this case I thought Megan was right on point and I could strongly relate to her story and just had to share it.

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  2. Hi Leanne, Megan Gale's post sounds very raw and honest so I can understand why it would impact those who viewed it. 2020 has been a year of reckoning for many people. We have to reassess our lives and figure out our values. I know I will never be the same after this year - hopefully for the better. Thanks for another inspiring post, regards Christina

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    1. Hi Christina - I think 2020 has made us pause and decide what is valuable and what can be discarded. I think Megan is saying that consumerism and all the effort that goes into it has no value if it takes away from family life. Focusing on those we love, appeciating the time we have with them, and investing in our children are all goals we should be prioritizing.

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  3. Hi, Leanne - I like your 'no-plan plan'! I'm delighted to read that things are clicking in place for you. Wishing you a great 59th year ahead!

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    1. Hi Donna - thanks for the birthday wishes - it's been great so far (all 5 days of it!) and it was the best birthday I've had for a very long time. My plans for the future are to go with the flow and to let go of my need to control every last detail!

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  4. I hadn't seen Megan's news but guess I'm not on anything other than FB and Twitter at the moment. But I completely get that idea of moving on from what's no longer working from you or serving you. I know we've had that conversation about your former work life and colleague and being able to let go of things because it's soul-destroying to continue to be angry etc. I'm not there yet with a few past experiences but I want to get better at it.

    And like you I want to worry less about what others think of the decisions I'm making.

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    1. Hi Deb - I'm not on IG and Megan's story actually made it into our newspaper (that I'm still old enough to want to read on the weekends). I then went and listened to all of it and thought she was articulating a lot of what we're feeling. And the key to letting go of the anger and resentment is to focus on making what you have now so much better than what you had before.
      I look at what all that toxicity did to me, but it's behind me now and the life I have without all that drama is SO much better than I ever expected. I hope you reach that point soon because your life sounds pretty darn good - you just need a Lotto win to tie it with a bow xx

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  5. Hi Leanne, I like honesty in all forms and when someone like Megan makes honest statements and opens up, it tends to make news and resonates with many. You are heading int he right direction and it must make you feel good to be working out how you plan to move towards your 60s. I'm almost there and am feeling Ok but I am realising that you never know what life has in store for us. Finding inner resilience is important. I've pinned this post :) #lifethisweek

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    1. Hi Deb - you're right about inner resilience - life will always serve up a curve ball when we least expect it (keeps us on our toes!) and sometimes really awful things happen, but knowing in your heart what's of value and having the courage to discard the rest - even when others might criticize you for it - is the beginning of true peace. I really felt that Megan had figured that out and it resonated with how I'm trying to live my life as 60 looms in the not too distant future.

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  6. Leanne, what makes us feel happy and fulfilled changes as we age, and milestone birthdays are the perfect time for honest reflection and forward planning. Happy Birthday and welcome to a new decade. You are well on your way to creating your best life. Kudos to this young lady for recognizing that her path is no longer fulfilling and having the courage to step away and seek change. Thanks for sharing her story.

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    1. Hi Suzanne - thanks for the birthday wishes and yes, I think there are a lot of women who are realizing what's important much earlier than I did. They are willing to be brave enough to say "this is what works for me" and to go for it, and that's the way I want to live my life - when we're true to our core values, we can face the world with confidence and say no to what isn't right for us - what a lovely way to live!

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  7. Leanne, My "underlying need for approval" isn't that underlying! Combined with my strong need for belonging and my recently realized lack of trust in my own capability...Sigh. 3 things that all need continued self-development! Right now my focus is on putting Positive Psychology into practice, with the hope that it helps me shut down the compare & despair, helps me recognize my purpose in life, and helps me turn self-limiting beliefs on their head. I had quite high hopes leading into my 60th birthday.... and then spent half a year in isolation. Hope your pre-60 year is more positive than that!

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    1. Hi Pat - the more I talk to others about this, the more I see that it's a "thing" for most of us. We may present a confident face to the world, but there's so much self-doubt lying just below the surface. I think positivity is definitely the key, also being prepared to say "no" when something's not in our best interests, and the other thing my husband mentioned was to catch ourselves when we have negative thoughts or say self-depreciating things, and turn them on their heads - recognizing what's not true and replacing it with something positive that is a truth is a great way to change deeply held beliefs and behaviours that aren't serving us well.

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  8. Leanne, Happy belated birthday! I like your plan to go with the flow and listen to your heart. Wishing you a fabulous 59th year ahead! #lifethisweek

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    1. Hi Natalie - thanks so much for the birthday wishes, and yes, I plan on really making this year serve me well as I get ready for the big 6-0!

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  9. First of all, happy birthday Leanne! Good luck on your journey of discovery this year. I have a feeling it's going to be an adventure--a good one. I look forward to tagging along through your blog posts. Here we come 60!

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    1. Hi Christie - I love that we'll be on similar journeys at the same age - isn't life so full of interesting intersections. I'm keen to see how you broach the beginning of the sixties and I'm already planning my #WOTY in anticipation of mine!

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  10. Again, Happy Birthday, Leanne! I love the recent beautiful photo of you and your family.

    Always interesting how approaching a new decade helps us reevaluate our life and the direction we are going in.

    Wow, about Megan Gale’s story. And, another Wow, reading her quotes. Many points resonate with me, especially the concept of burning out and not being able to control everything and everyone.

    I love your sentence “My “plan” is to not have a plan.” Also the concept of ‘something clicking into place.' An excellent post, Leanne! xx (Shared)

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    1. Hi Erica - I really like that I'm excited about approaching 60 - rather than dreading it like I thought I might. Each new decade is always a challenge for me - it's like my head needs to get into the idea of being "so much older"! But the true joy for me this time is that I have blogging in my life and the wonderful, inspiring women (like yourself) who are showing me that the sixties are fun and fabulous - and even better than the decade leading up to them.

      I'm loving that I'm in such a relaxed and happy place, that I'm not pushing through or treading water....just happily strolling along through this new phase of life. The future looks pretty darn fine to me and I'll be scooting into my 60's with a big smile on my face - and I've even picked my word of the year already for 2021 - in anticipation (I'm "doing a Donna" and not procrastinating!)

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  11. Ahhh, I "get it" Leanne. "Doing a Donna." A wonderful inspirational example. At first I thought about "eating the frog first." Yet I think it is more and better. I look forward to and support all. xxx

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  12. Very interesting where inspiration can come from and that we get to see what we need, even if perhaps we don't realise it? I love that happening.

    Next year, B and I are celebrating 50 years of marriage and WE are celebrating..in our small and quiet way, with family. I no longer want to be reticent about sharing such important milestones. We think we have done very well indeed (with many hiccups and setbacks along the way) and we are proud of that.


    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week the optional prompt is 46/51 Exams. 16.11.2020 Hope to see you then! Denyse.

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    1. Hi Denyse - I think we all minimize our achievements and often share more about our struggles. I think 50 years is definitely worth celebrating - it takes a lot of commitment and love to reach that milestone (and I totally understand the hiccups and struggles at times!) I'm planning on sharing positives as often as possible because they come through hard work - they don't just fall into our laps.

      Megan's IG story resonated because she is grasping the idea that we need to keep our focus on what's truly important and it's okay to let some things go if they're not serving us at a particular point in time.

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  13. I have tried to tell myself that the 'reason' for Covid and all that it has entailed has been to slow us down, to give us...humanity...a chance to reevaluate and reset. To 'right' things. But I haven't done terribly well at any of that. One week I find myself writing 3 or 4 blogs posts and be all about blogging. The next week, I look on blogging as not a great use of my time. But I don't have an alternative!! So, 9 months into this pandemic, I am still not clear about what I want to be doing at this stage of life. Hoping it will come to me soon!!

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    1. I'm not clear either Leslie - but.....I've become okay with that over the last year or so. Life takes us on strange paths and when we look back, the reason becomes a lot clearer. And I think it's okay to not have a plan, to just go with what comes to us and also to be still sometimes and not be seen to be "busy" or "productive" based on what the rest of the world seems to think is important.

      Wisdom is teaching me to go with my heart more and let my head catch up along the way!

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  14. Belated birthday greetings, Leanne.
    This message makes so much sense. When I think about what I gave up to keep a relationship with my brother and a few others, I realize the price I paid was just not worth it. There's so much that we can do without if we only weigh what we might be sacrificing to have it in our life.

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    1. I agree Corinne - I've worked hard over the years to maintain family relationships, but sometimes I think we can let things slowly peter away and accept that maybe blood isn't always thicker than water - just being on reasonable/distant terms can be enough. I'm focusing my energy on what's valuable and brings me joy these days.

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