MY PERSONAL VIEW OF EMBRACING AGEING
What’s the best thing about being in your 50’s? Or about ageing?
I read somewhere once that when you turn 50, you have entered into a period that is recognized as ‘The Prime Of Your Life,’ and until quite recently, I would have scoffed and sniggered and proclaimed loudly that ‘you would have to be ‘effing kidding!’
When I first thought about writing this article, I was seriously hesitant and dubious. I actually thought it would be a very small post, maybe just a few paragraphs long. Ha!
THE ‘JOYS’ (SIC) OF TURNING 50
I didn’t have the most positive start to my 50’s. I had to have a hysterectomy just prior and developed an excruciating pain condition, (nothing to do with the hysterectomy) that had me flat on my back for over a year. It forced me to cut back at work, (I was the bread-winner, so it was not only very inconvenient but downright scary). It interrupted a successful career, that I was good at, and severely depleted our income, savings, budget and travel plans in the process. When I look back, I was becoming increasingly ‘burnt out’ and unhappy at work anyway. In retrospect, I think, even though it has altered our life’s plans, it was definitely for MY better (health-wise).
I also entered into the wonderful (sic) realm of menopause, which has afflicted me with all kinds of weird and wacky (shitty actually) symptoms of which I never really new existed.
I mean, I’d heard of ‘the menopause’ or ‘the change’ for sure, but had not a clue about most of the very real and often debilitating symptoms it manifested. I would have gotten advice from my Mum, who has been my number one support all my life. But unfortunately, my Mum suffers from dementia now and while she is still alive, I ‘lost’ her around 5 years ago. So, I can truly say IT – ‘The Change’ – came as a massive shock to the system.
SEEING THE LIGHT
Now, I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but I think… now that I am starting to have – ‘the menopause crap’– under control… and damn but it took a while, a lot of money and two million tests with 200 specialists -slight exaggeration there! – Nutritionists, Physios, Doctors, who incidentally never diagnosed menopause and all but one who eventually- and I am eternally grateful to- never uttered the word… I am starting to see a ‘silver lining’. Yes! I think I have some inkling as to what they were referring to because it is the ‘Prime of Life’ in many ways. (I wouldn’t phrase it in those exact words though).
LIFE BEGINS AT 50
For me, it seems to be more a time of ‘liberation’. A freedom if you will! I feel extremely lucky and grateful things have worked out in the finance area, well so far anyway.
I also entered into a new phase and completely new arena – the blogging world, websites, social media (most of which I still have no idea of how to navigate, but boy is it fun learning). I found that I love research, probably shouldn’t have been surprised, as I have always loved learning history.
I am also eternally grateful to be embarking on this stage of my life with some truly beautiful and valuable women. In particular Nella and Sarah, my two blogging cohorts. I am so thankful they decided to be a part of this journey with me. They are part of a very special group I have dubbed ‘my girls’. They are both unique, inspiring, pushy and utterly fabulous each in their own way, and I feel so blessed and grateful to not only call them my family, but my very closest friends. I have been fortunate in being able to further foster and deepen our already-close relationships. I know they ‘have my back’ and I definitely have theirs.
My kids (who are mostly adults) are probably thanking their lucky stars as I am not constantly on their backs, worrying about or nagging them as I honestly just don’t have the time anymore. I am so busy coming up with new ideas and learning so much about topics I am interested in, about myself ie my strengths and weaknesses and meeting other wonderful like-minded women etc…
VALUES AND PRIORITIES AND GRATEFULNESS
I think my values and priorities have changed. Is it just because I have time to stop and think now the kids are through school and I am almost an empty-nester? Is it age? Or is it because I am passionate about these subjects?
I don’t stress anymore about having the bed made, the washing done, dinner on the table, the house being spotless or looking like a beauty queen. I care less what people think about me, and care more about what I think. I care about my health (physical and mental), I treasure my friends and my friendships, and feel gratified for what I have had and what I have. Yes I do believe ‘things’ are ‘falling into place’.
In the last few years, I have noticed a burgeoning inner confidence in myself. I am wiser and more knowledgeable than in my younger years, more experienced in life.
I also don’t really care what I look like anymore. What I mean is, I am wayyy less focused on my outward appearance reflecting physical beauty and way more focused on my person as a whole.
I’m happy and comfortable in my skin and it’s liberating. While I still love makeup and the transformation it can give, I am happy to go makeup-free, hair mussed. I don’t feel I have to look ‘perfect’. Perfection is overrated and impossible to achieve anyway, and so I feel free and happy to truly be myself.
THE BEAUTY OF IMPERFECTION
In fact, I see beauty in all the imperfections, it makes me more relatable. I love that I have laughter lines and ‘crinkles’ and scars, it shows that I have laughed, been happy and lived well. Don’t get me wrong, I still adore skincare and makeup, always have. I still have a fascination for what they call ‘anti-ageing skincare’, but I don’t need it to make me look younger, I use it to booster my confidence – confidence gives me power and strength – I also love the science of it, what it can do, how it works, if it works. It’s the science nerd in me.
As I age, I find that I am starting not to care so much about what everybody thinks of me and that it’s not important that everyone likes me. I don’t feel as if I have to please everyone. I care what I think of me, and I need to love me, and that’s enough. When I was younger, I would have thought this to be selfish thinking, but now I see that it’s a necessity. I must think like this -to take care of myself first – otherwise I am just ‘no good’ at helping others, I fall apart mentally and physically.
HELPING OTHER WOMEN
And that’s the goal, I want to help other women understand what they are going through, try to educate and support them, and make them feel strong within themselves, ease the way for them. I have discovered that I am quite good at helping people, I certainly have a passion for it, and it makes me feel strong and supported in return. And in doing so, I am having so much fun.
HAVING FUN AND LEARNING NEW THINGS
So much fun in finding out what I am good at; my strengths, exploring and sharing new passions, seeking new spiritual insights, delving into self-care, finding new ways to embrace exercise and maintain good health. I am incorporating mindfulness and meditation, expanding my knowledge in nutrition; I have found that I am actually a very good cook. I have given up coffee and alcohol (to a degree -LOL!), where I NEVER thought I could. The lessons of taking in too much coffee (makes insomnia and anxiety worse) and alcohol (short term ‘high’/long term total ‘downer’) have been learnt well.
SLOWING DOWN PURPOSELY
I am also learning to slow down, smell the roses, live in the moment and be more grateful. This is definitely the hardest to embrace. I have always been impatient and operated as though ‘on borrowed time’. Rushing here and there, to get everything done and perfected. But, I realise I must ‘slow down’ to be able to stop worrying and start valuing what is truly important for my own wellbeing.
I have also developed as I have gotten older a really good sense for reading others. I mean I can ‘see through’ people . I have an instinct, or an inbuilt ‘bullshit’ detector if you will.
I live in a male dominated world. I have 3 sons, my hubby, even the animals are male. Yet I work in a female dominated work space. I am a ‘girly-girl’ and identify with women, am drawn to and want to help other like-minded women who may -like me- not have the support of older, wiser women in their daily lives.
CHANGE IS INEVITABLE AND HELPS GAIN KNOWLEDGE
I feel at this age I am older and wiser, I’ve learnt that life is about constant change, and that I need to flow with it and embrace it, rather than fight against it. Change isn’t always right, but we learn through change. It is inevitable and it’s ok. I am still eager to listen and learn, I don’t know everything, there is always more to master (from both the younger and the older generations). I’ve discovered it’s ok to make mistakes, because we learn from them in the process.
WOMEN ARE POWERFUL
As I age, I have gleaned that Women are extremely strong and powerful creatures, particularly when we band together, and we grow stronger all the time. In the world today our entrepreneurial spirit is strengthening and growing in leaps and bounds. It is International Women’s Day this Saturday 8th March and in researching this, I have found that so many women over 50 have taken up the challenge of following their dreams and starting their own businesses. Some are forming partnerships with other women in business, knowing and understanding that together we are a force to be reckoned with and together we may become even more successful.
Many Women own and run some of the most successful innovative companies in the world.
As I am ageing, I am benefiting so much more in fostering and deepening meaningful relationships, in embracing my passion for researching and enjoying the sense of giving back to the community by supporting and engaging with others. I feel I am becoming stronger and more powerful as a woman as I age, and gain so much satisfaction as a woman helping other women.
I am committed to living my life now as passionately and as fully as I can.