Leanne can be found on her blog, Cresting The Hill, sharing her discoveries about how wonderful this time of life is, how little people pleasing she needs to do these days, and how she has developed her self-worth. She would love for you to stop by and say hi.
One of the biggest lessons midlife has taught me over the last few years is how empowering authenticity is. Once I gave up trying to be what I thought others expected me to be, my life opened up and the sense of relief was palpable. It took a weight off my shoulders that I didn’t even realize I was carrying. Having no expectations is so liberating!
ACT LIKE A LADY?
I read a post recently from Michelle of Rubber Shoes In Hell about being ladylike and how that concept is restrictive and confines women into a box that can be so minimizing to who we really are. We come from an era where we were taught to act like ladies. I know I tried hard to conform to an expectation for years.
How restrictive and how wrong is it to behave in a way that meets some unreal expectation from an unknown origin? Who decides what’s ladylike or what is the norm? Whoever it is doesn’t get to tell me about it any more – I think after 50+ years, I have earned the right to decide who I am and how that translates into my interactions with others.
Being part of a church and all the niceties that go with being a Christian woman can be so stifling to someone like me who didn’t grow up in that world. I struggled for a long time to be all that a nice church woman should be, but midlife has brought me full circle.
I find that I can now just say – “this is me, take me or leave me”. If you don’t like the colour of my hair or my worldview or my tattoos or my turn of phrase, I’m really sorry but we can’t be friends – we can agree to disagree, but I’m not changing to fit your box. It is so freeing and it is so pleasant to just be “me” and not someone else’s version of “me”.
50 YEARS OF LESSONS
Being authentic and being true to yourself breeds self-confidence. I can’t go back to being the uncertain person I was a decade ago. I don’t want to vacillate between several different personas depending on who I am with at any given time. I want to be free to be me and enjoy who I have become through life’s ups and downs. I’ve had 50 years to get where I am today and those years have taught me a lot – I’m not going to waste those lessons by trying to compete with others or wish myself back to being 20 again.
IT’S NOT A COMPETITION
I mentioned back in my first Midlife Rocks! post that a friend asked me how I had such a good sense of self-worth. What I’ve learned in midlife is that self-worth is something you can develop, it’s never too late to be the person you are capable of being. I read dozens of blogs and they are all different, they are written by people who are thriving and wanting to share their love of life with others.
It’s not a competition, it’s not a race, it’s all about sharing the journey and encouraging each other along the way.
I catch up with various friends – some weekly, some monthly, some randomly when we get a moment in our busy schedules. Every one of my friends is their own person, they are doing what they love and they are doing it well. They are all midlifers. Most are empty nesters. None of them are sitting around feeling sorry for themselves or trying to maintain what they had before, they are out there finding new interests, working the hours they want, traveling, contributing, and generally having a great time. What is there not to love about this time of life?
OWNING WHO I AM
Leaving all your preconceived ideas of who you are supposed to be on the doorstep and living with who you actually are is just the beginning. Once you take ownership of the real you, then your choices become easier – you think “would I like this?” or “does this interest me?” or “is this worth my time?” or even “so what’s the worst that can happen?” These questions are so much more empowering than “what would people think?” or “should I be doing this?” or “what if it doesn’t work out?”
I’m getting so much better at thinking “Who gives a toss?” and getting on with my life. I don’t live selfishly, I just live a life where I am more conscious of who I am and what is authentically me and my values. This actually leads to being more selfless in my choices because there is less resentment.
I’m doing something because it is what I feel committed to and what resonates with me, rather than acting under obligation or trying to “do the right thing”. I can’t think of a better motivation than being authentic and wanting to share that with the world. What do you think?