Beyond your comfort zones in midlife?
There is very strong evidence that women today feel right out of their comfort zones putting themselves forward and claiming their place.
As a kid I remember being taught not to blow my own trumpet, lest it be seen that I was attention-seeking and boastful. Many women like me grew up feeling right out of their comfort zones even writing up their resumes or applying for a promotion or career change.
It’s just something a girl was discouraged from doing and that conditioning has been very hard to shake off.
Even today, in most countries, women are still not putting themselves forward, and it kicks in more if they have been out of the work force for a while. Our society still teaches women and girls to be self-effacing and to hide their light under a bushel.
We forget about the skills we actually have, and probably think they are not that significant because we have been doing them all our lives and really think nothing of them. If we are not pushed beyond our comfort zones, we will never know what we can achieve.
We may know we are competent but we are not confident tooting our horn about it.
It’s a time to step forward not back. Midlife is a bit of a wake-up call and yes, we still have a lot of life to live, but we don’t want to waste it, do we? We haven’t come through 5 or more decades not having learned something, and the thing we have a lot of is life-wisdom, do you agree?
What do you know?
Do an inventory of your skills, and I’m sure you will be surprised. Write down now 100 things you’ve been successful at no matter how small. Forget the failures. You still did it.
We also doubt ourselves in terms of our lives. Now is the time to start being proactive about your next chapter. What excited you when you were younger that you let go? Was it learning to dance, perhaps learning to fly?
If you let your imagination run wild what would inspire you? Think of a public figure who is around your age or older and read about their story. There will be some gems in there which will make you see that anything is possible.
Write down what you do well. Maybe you’re tired of it, and you may not have the need any more for it, but acknowledge it anyway. Write down what you love doing. Get a crossover of the two, and see if there is a theme you can develop and grow.
Life is all right, but not great, and some want more while others have done a lot in their lives and now are contented. Why do some rebel against it or tell themselves to give up? If they have never explored the limited of their comfort zones they may live to regret it. If that’s you, think about what do you want to tell yourselves when you get to the end of your life. If you want to do these things you need to do it now.
But if you are not ready to something big, then do something small. It’s OK, but do something, explore the possibilities and treat it as a mini-adventure.
Be grateful for even reaching this point in your life. Others haven’t even made it this far and there may be some in your immediate family who are among those whose lives were cut short and not had the opportunity to live into their twilight years.
Move out of your comfort zone and you will feel better when you achieve something new, no matter how small, that is out of your norm.
You can continue to complain or you can seek to change something in your life. Who knew the importance of exercise, and being active, and being open to new things, and feeling good about who you are? Physical health is a topic we talk about a lot, and it’s just as important for women in midlife as it is for everyone else.
A key thing is your diet and how you live your life. Rather than putting a band-aid on our hormone symptoms, listen to your body and treat it holistically between mind, body and environment.
Your clothes are your most intimate environment along with your home and your intimate spaces being more significant to your well-being than you may know. The more harmonious your environment with your essence, intentions and lifestyle affirm who you are and what you want to be and live your best life.
Surround yourself with other women who could be your tribe.
The friendships we had earlier in life may not be the ones you keep with you by your side in your midlife, but there are many opportunities online. There also are more people who share your ideas and opinions and problems who may be just around the corner from where you live.
Don’t accept any of the negative narratives about being an older woman. Acknowledge the value you have and yes, you do get better with age. Yes, we are enough, and being midlife or beyond doesn’t diminish us in any way. I think it makes us more empowered.
Start dreaming big with no restrictions at all.
Whenever you feel less than, or feeling not enough, or circumstances are stacked against you, stay active, stay healthy, keep talking to people and do what you’ve always dreamed about doing.