Midlife - An A-Z - Part 3 (E & F)Oct 21, 2021
This is Part 3 in my series Midlife An A-Z. I am not ignoring the negative but also highlighting the positive and hopefully the amusing along the way too.
Today we have reached E & F.
E is for Empty Nest and Embrace
F is for Freedom and !!**! Fine.
Empty nest is not a term I particularly like myself. It sounds redundant, not of any further use. And that is certainly not applicable to us as midlife women when we may find ourselves in that position.
It’s a different phase, a new phase, a new chapter.
Life is made up of different chapters and that doesn’t make any chapter less valid than another. I was listening to a podcast “Ageing With Grace (mostly disgracefully) with Grace Fodor and Katie Isles the other day and they were talking about midlife being a new chapter.
They commented that when we’re reading a book you wouldn’t discard the final chapters as being irrelevant, not needed, not worth reading. They wrap up the story as it were. Without reading the final chapters nothing would make sense, no conclusion would be reached.
It may be true we’ve got fewer years in front of us than behind but they are in no way irrelevant or of no value.
I like the idea of reframing the term empty nest to one of free-range or homing pigeons, because they will be back! But put a boundary in around the washing.
So often as women, we structure our life around family, which I did and I loved, but I’m also loving this new stage and excited to see where it takes me. It’s a chance to reflect on our own life and think about what we want to do - embrace new opportunities, learn something new, take time for us.
Instead of focusing on the lack try and focus on the new opportunities, the increased freedom maybe, more time to look after yourself and what you want from this next stage.
It’s easy to say embrace this next stage of life, but how do we do that?
With the “empty-nest” my biggest recommendation is to plan for when it happens. Take time to reflect and focus on what you would love to do that maybe you haven’t been able to due to other commitments.
Take the time and space to face any fears that may be coming up - uncertainty, feeling lost, feeling stuck - reevaluate your life. Don’t ignore the feelings, they are valid and real.
Whether you’ve had a family or not, Midlife can be a time where we start to reevaluate whether we are doing what we truly want to be doing. We face changes physically and usually enter perimenopause (although I realise this happens for many women before midlife). Whilst this can be a difficult time, not all women experience a hard perimenopause all the way through. We may have intermittent symptoms but it’s not all that defines midlife.
It can be a time of discovery, we’ve proven our resilience, we’ve gained experience and wisdom along the way and survived what life has thrown at us so far. We’ve proved to ourselves we can. We’ve proved our strength. This is positive. This is something to embrace and celebrate.
Embrace the fact that conversations are opening up around midlife, menopause and that stereotypes are starting to break down - we are starting to see more than the washed-up woman suffering from hot flushes (about time).
Seek support if you think that could help - it can help us view our lives with a new perspective.
But most of all - don’t write yourself off as done - it can be an exciting time with new opportunities, possibilities and freedoms.
At the end of the day it’s MIDlife - not end life. We don’t know how each page is going to unfold but all the more reason to embrace it for the opportunity it is.
Freedom & !!**! Fine.
I chose freedom as it’s a word I have definitely associated with the last few years.
FREEDOM as my children have grown up and need me in a different way than when they were younger - and that is not to say I resent that need at all, it’s how I’ve chosen to see this new phase. Freedom when you no longer need to worry about babysitters, freedom when we could stay away overnight for the first time without needing to organise childcare. Always glad to come home and see them, but knowing they’d be fine - they enjoyed it too cause it normally meant Dominoes or the like!
Due to the work I’ve done, freedom from limiting beliefs that kept me hiding and playing small. Growing an awareness of the thoughts I had regularly that held me back - those “what if” “are you sure?” thoughts from that voice that we all have has been transformative. You can read more about that here.
Freedom from worrying so much what others think of me and feeling that I’m OK as me. Learning to like me for me and not continuously try to fit into a box that was not made for me.
A massive one for me - freedom from diet culture and the restrictive way of living with food every day and the negative impact that had had on my life for over 30 years. Again, you can read more about that here. This has been such a big part of the change in my life. Recognising that my size did not equate to my value or worth. Learning to speak to myself kindly rather than in the hateful way that I used to. Appreciating my body for what it has done, can do and continues to do every day.
This is a freedom I love helping clients reach.
At the end of the day, a freedom to be you.
!*!* FINE - stuff fine!
Now is the time to reevaluate - life may be fine but surely we want more than that? I declared war on the word fine earlier in 2021. Fine is so non-descript, so flat, so uninspiring. Yes, you’re OK, you’re not miserable, life’s fine but there’s a desire for more. Maybe a feeling of “is this it?”
It’s a time to question what you want out of this next stage of life. What have you been putting off and saying “one day”? One day rarely comes - how about today?
What have you been saying no to, that deep down you want to say yes to?
It may be unsettling, it may be uncomfortable, it may be scary - but what will it add to your life?
I know when I stopped settling for fine and started saying yes my life transformed. I was happier, more fulfilled, felt more confident in me and each time I said yes it became easier. And do you know what, I haven’t regretted a single yes - but there are quite a few “no’s” from over the years I wish I’d said yes to. Read more here about how I started stretching my comfort zone, saying yes and experiencing more than fine.
To Sum Up
There may be obstacles to overcome at this time of life and it may feel scary and you may think it’s not worth the effort sometimes. But if you’re not going to go after what you want now, when are you?
Midlife can be such a great time to experience the freedom and opportunities that are available. Try saying yes once - who knows where it will lead. If your kids have left home - I’m not saying you won’t miss them, but believe me, they’ll come home again - celebrate the new path they’re on by carving out your own new path or the same path with some different junctions and turnings to be explored.
Something I support clients with is growing the courage to say yes - to bring more than fine to their lives. Maybe you need support in uncovering what direction you want to take or to let go of those old belief patterns that keep you where you are - mentally, emotionally or physically. I love seeing how these changes are transformative.
To find out more about working with me get in touch [email protected] or book your discovery call here.