GRACE'S MUSINGS: A leap of faith

GRACE'S MUSINGS: A leap of faith

It may or may not have escaped your notice that 2024 is a Leap Year, with the bonus of an extra day cropping up in our lives this Thursday on February 29th – unsurprisingly known as a ‘Leap Day’. Traditionally, this has been a day when women were “allowed” to propose to their man, which – in an age when there are no set rules around this, and women can happily propose whenever and however they please – does seem to carry a slight element of absurdity about it.

But – the reality is it seems that the tradition of women proposing to men is alive and well and kicking – and it’s strong, independent women who are embracing the custom. Diane von Fustenberg, Sarah Snook, Kirsten Bell, Pink … It’s quite a roll call – and none of these women are ‘blushing brides’. They are totally in control of their destinies and enjoying the power that comes with their years of experience.

So in a leap out of time they have taken a leap of faith and – homage to an old tradition aside –whether they have chosen a Leap Day or not is actually irrelevant, because it’s thrilling and empowering to take the reins at a time in our lives when many areas of society still expect less of us. Or perhaps to see less of us – something you absolutely do not want if you find yourself back in the dating pool in midlife years.

Changing attitudes and expectations of marriage, and the introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorce in April 2022, have meant recent statistics show an estimated 42% of modern marriages end in divorce, although this is a significantly declining percentage. The UK average divorce age for women is 43.9 and 46.4 for men. Thank goodness for dating sites and dating rituals that have become so much more sophisticated alongside our own progressive midlife sophistication.

Midlife is a time of reflection and change, and after years of child rearing, responsibility and accountability, there are a number of women who are choosing to separate and find new partners. The dating game is no longer the gauche dance of our twenties, but more a refined awakening to who we are and what we want at this life stage. With more self-possession now than in our youth, we no longer ignore the red flags. Wiser and stronger, we might be taking a leap of faith, but we most certainly look before we leap.

So February 29th is a spare day that is ours for the taking once every four years, offering the opportunity to reflect, to reinvent or to act. I made a start to this year by turning the idea of New Year resolutions on its head, and embracing how far I had come in 2023. I’m going to adopt 29th February as a new date to mark. My thinking is that every four years is a good time to take stock and – importantly – give perspective to things I may have missed. It’s a good time frame to meditate on change going forwards, on my ambitions for the future, and defining realistic goals that will take me to where I want to be.

Let this February 29th be a leap out of time and a leap of faith in yourself. Jump and choose where you are going to land. I’ve got a feeling it will be on solid ground.

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