Today, It is the time to talk about how you can gain clarity in your life after 40. It is the biggest and longest struggle I’ve had to deal with in my life: the fact that at one point, I knew that couldn’t go on like I used to.
At that time, my career had to change, and our environment also changed, because we moved. Did you notice that often everything happens at once? At that point in my life, I had a choice of starting something new. Most certainly a new career most certainly, but I was lucky enough to have a choice, a supportive husband and two grown-up teenagers so more time for me.
And then I struggled because for the first time in decades and for one of the very few times in my life regarding big decisions, I had a choice. A blank canvas. No one to tell me what will be the best for me, nor any need for me to have an immediate revenue. We could manage financially with good organization.
The moment you don’t know anymore
I fell apart. For months, I could do nothing constructive because I didn’t know where to start. A little bit like when you are working so much, then you finally take a weekend or a week off, and you suddenly feel exhausted, even get sick. The nerves that maintained you at high-level productivity are now gone. Suddenly you have no energy left. That’s it. For years I had things to do: the right things. And I’m happy I did! But I never really had to question my needs and wishes.
Forgetting about myself
I forgot how to understand what I wanted and who I was. I was so used to take care of my family and do the best for them that I forgot to take care of me. Of course, I was ok, healthy, I was exercising mildly but regularly, I had a beautiful career as an entrepreneur: but I never questioned anything. And I lost this ability to question and feel my needs.
Do you know what came next? Anger. How could I have let this happen? How could my family have let this happen to me? Don’t I love them enough; do they even care about me? Obviously, my family is not in the least responsible for this situation. But this already took me some time to figure out. The next thing on the list was to manage that remaining anger against myself. Doing so is crucial. When you don’t, it can quickly become an anchored and vicious low self-esteem.
Why you lose yourself
You lose yourself when you have nothing to complain about. I had a brilliant career, and I was a stay at home Mom, my dream! I was quite healthy, at least I wasn’t unhealthy, and I was a working mom of two, so no one would expect of me to be a top model. My kids were good students, practising sports and expanding their knowledge.
The problem, when you honour perfectly well your responsibilities, is that you forget to question your actions. I really don’t think we should cut short of our duties for the sake of our happiness. Really that’s not my point. But we are so focused on what we have to manage as responsible parents, that we don’t even think about really looking inward. After one or two decades living like this, no wonder you don’t know who you are not to mention who you became.
How can you go back from this place of ignorance?
It’s not the easiest thing for sure. It took me some time and a lot of patience both from my family and myself. It also required perseverance and tolerance towards myself. But it’s doable, anything is doable, and anything is manageable. It’s never too late, and the first thing you have to do is take the plunge.
I have for you some tips that can help.
Make a list, or make some lists
Simple, usual and obvious you’ll say, but don’t underestimate the power of the list for brainstorming! Make some lists of what makes you happy, what doesn’t, what you’ve achieved, what you’d want to accomplish, what you are good at and what you’d like to improve.
Write them in a notebook, and give yourself a lot of time to rethink and rewrite them. It’s taken years for you to come to that questioning place again. Be kind and gentle; you don’t need to be rushed, especially not by you!
Pick your challenge
Choose your favourite thing you’d like to start with, improve on, work on or merely try. And make it a small challenge. One week is a good start. You could choose to work on this particular thing for a week every day for 30 to 60 minutes. Or even better you could take the challenge for a month! I’ve got quite a lot of content on the idea of “challenge”. Then, one project after another, learn to know what you love. It’s only by rolling up your sleeves and try, that you will understand what suits you best.
Simplify your life
This one is a hugely daunting task. It’s not a one-week project, but it’s necessary at one point. You have to simplify your schedule to block some time for your new activity. Whatever you choose to do, take it seriously. It’s about you working on yourself, so make sure your brain has the right message: “I want to do this!” Simplifying your calendar is crucial, or your stress level will go up!
Sort through your stuff and house to literally make room for your project. Knowing where you are going to work and where you’ll pack your tools afterwards is as crucial for your success as time blocking is.
Plan and organize
You have to make a precise plan. If you don’t, you can’t know where you are going. If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up not going anywhere. That’s not where you want to be; you want to find your destination or at least a first milestone. Plan your project. Have a goal. Do you want to start writing a blog? List some ideas for at least 10 posts, plan them on your calendar and plan the time you need to work on them.
You want to learn a new instrument, choose a song you want to perform, and make it your goal.
You want to grow your existing business and go to the next level? What do you need to do for that? Have more clients? Raise your prices? Start a new project?
Yes! Start. That’s simple, right? Now all you have to do is start and do the work. Eventually, don’t let anyone, especially not yourself, discourage you. You’ve got this; if you’ve managed everything in your life so far, you can also handle this beautiful project of yours: Make yourself thrive!
Have a great day!
Dear amazing Xmom, if you loved my Podcast about “How to gain clarity about your life after 40”, you can subscribe to my Podcast channel on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or to any of your favourite podcast player using the RSS Feed.
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