As a woman in her 50s, I LOVE my age! And so I should – when you consider the wealth of opportunity, possibilities and redefined freedoms that open up to us as we climb the ladder into midlife and beyond.
I'm not alone. There are many women embodying a new movement rejecting the idea that the most dynamic part of life is the first half. Check out Glynis Barber (IG: agelessbyglinisbarber) and Alison Monteith (IG: thin_latin_moose) to name two such inspirational women.
Of course, I’ve had those odd moments of nostalgia, of wishing that I was younger, and times when the ‘middle aged’ label makes me feel invisible, no longer attractive and with no real value. Then I remind myself that we are the beautiful and strong women we are today because age has led us here. We can’t turn back the clock – and nor should we want to when trying will only leave us disillusioned, unhappy and fighting a futile battle we can never win.
My attitude comes largely from my own beautiful mum, who said that we must always ‘focus on what we have and not on what we haven’t’. For me this holds such resonance when it comes to ageing. I’ve come to realise that what’s important is to recognise the things we are most grateful for – and when it comes to ageing, there are a huge number of positives to be grateful for.
I was delighted to read recently that we become smarter as we age; a fact I wasted no time in sharing with my somewhat cynical daughters! Our vocabulary, spatial orientation and problem-solving abilities are better in our 40s and 50s than our 20s. We have the wisdom of experience behind us. We have a greater depth of compassion, again built through experience and years of placing the welfare of others before our own.
And then there are other less measurable things to be grateful for. Here are my top three that I’d like to share with you.
Self-acceptance is paramount. I appreciate and accept 'who I am’ far more now than I did in my 20s and 30s. I allow myself the freedom to be me, understanding my weaknesses as well as strengths, and I recognise that this takes courage.
I don’t spend time and energy trying to be someone others or society expect me to be, and I worry less what people think. I am more confident in my decisions, with a real sense of my true value and worth, all of which has little to do with how I look or what I do.
Finally, I have developed a sense of self-compassion. I have stopped being my own worst critic, and I manage the high expectations I have always placed on myself with self-care and the knowledge that we can’t always get it right.
Time becomes more precious as we get older, and my time is the most important thing I have. It’s been three years now without either of my parents and I would give anything to have had more time with them. It’s a huge reminder of just how valuable time is and how easy it is to take it for granted. What’s important is to let go of the trivial and focus on what and who really matters – which I know isn’t always easy with the fast-paced and frantic lives we seem to lead!
I’ve become more positive with age and hold fewer negative emotions, especially when I look back to my younger years of roller-coaster filled drama! I think this is largely due to being savvier when it comes to navigating the stresses, challenges and conflicts we face as we go through life. This has allowed me to become emotionally stronger. It means that I’m okay with my vulnerabilities, with showing my emotions and asking for help – to be honest, the ability to admit that sometimes we’re not okay is really quite liberating!
Brene Brown’s Ted talk on the power of vulnerability is one of my all-time favourites, and I love her view that ‘what makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful'.
Click HERE to read my article 'Six Life Changing Podcasts.'