Career, Retirement, or Something in Between

You may be bored with your job and searching for more meaning. Perhaps you long to become an entrepreneur to express your passion and vision.

One of my favorite mentors, Mark Silver, has given me permission to post his newsletter which speaks to becoming an entrepreneur after age 40. Hope you find it useful.

The Three Challenges with Going Into Business Once You’re Older

by Mark Silver

When I look out into the great world of self-employment, many people starting businesses these days are over 40, and some well into their fifties. There are huge advantages to starting a business at that age. Huge. [Read more…]

Midlife: Arriving at our own door

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Love after Love, by Derek Walcott
is

 

This is one of my favorite poems. It reminds me of the importance of sitting quietly, breathing, and honoring yourself. As we approach midlife it is important to let go of our negative, habitual thoughts, and step into a place appreciating our beauty.

 

Scars, Spring and the Locker Room

Ageing with GraceThe women’s locker room is the premier place for women to notice each other. A place where women of  ages three to eighty gather on a daily basis and share the peculiar experience of being together without their clothes on. How do you behave in the locker room? Do you avert your eyes, have long conversations in the nude, compare yourself to others, or simply feel comfortable in your own skin? Do you ever think if only I could have “her” body I would be happier?

You are enough. Underneath your outside layer lies the common bond of the human experience shared with others. Your heart has the potential to become large and loving. Your physical appearance is simply an outward manifestation of your inner beauty.

 

 My Experience in the Locker Room

I am taking a personal risk, exposing my vulnerability to the internet world, to share what I perceived as a weakness.  I am sixty years old, and the older I get the less I care about what others think (it is a relief). I’m ready to tell all.   I’m learning that boldness and humor are essential to gracefully managing the ageing process.

I had a mastectomy seven years ago, and have only one breast. I usually go to the gym five days a week, and after a lot of personal work, no longer try to hide my somewhat disfigured body. One day, I was standing totally naked next to a beautiful four year old who was staring at me. She wasn’t starting at my face, but at my chest. She seemed curious and perplexed, not upset. I smiled at her and her mother apologized for the staring.  All of a sudden there was a deep connection I made with her mom, who quickly began to tell me about her younger sister’s recent death from breast cancer.

 

The Importance of Connection

She needed to talk about the death and her own fear of getting breast cancer, since she had a long history in her family and they carried the BRCA gene that makes you more susceptible.

She spoke matter of factly, but was clearly relieved to have another woman to talk to her understood her situation. She needed reassurance that she could survive her biggest fear.  We both needed to connect.

 

The Lessons

I learned a lot that day about scars, illness, and ageing. I noticed that what I perceived as “something wrong with me” ended up being seen as a sign of survival. My mastectomy was a signal that I was alive and well, and that I could provide hope to others. Reaching out and sharing your truth can help you find the humanity in others. You are opening your heart and bestowing a gift.

 

The Choice

Next time you are unhappy about your physical appearance, you have a choice. You can remember that your true self has nothing to do with your physical appearance, and your beauty lies within. Go to the locker room and notice the inner beauty of each woman you see, focus on others, and you will find you are less harsh with yourself.

Midlife: Give Yourself a Valentine

“Don’t look for Love …
look for the one looking for Love.”

Rumi ♥

 

 

When I was growing up in the fifties, I believed that being thin, marrying a man who would take care of me, going to the right college, and pleasing others was the ticket to my happiness. Valentine’s Day was important to me; receiving a valentine from the right man was crucial to my self-esteem.

Fifty years later, after the women’s movement, being a Mom and Grandmother, and supporting myself after my divorce, valentines no longer have a hold on me. What’s really important is the love I feel for family and friends.

Yet, there is small piece of me, a leftover from my childhood, that wants to be recognized by others by receiving a valentine. I have been a single woman for the last twenty years, with relationships that come and go, and I often wonder what my life would be like with a partner; a partner who would buy me roses and make a wonderful dinner. I’m surprised that I still hold onto the romantic notion that being a princess would make me happy. (I would be miserable.)

Instead of counting valentines, I make an effort to show my love to others. Showing love by sending the perfect valentine, helping someone who needs assistance, calling my Mom, celebrating with friends, smiling at people in the grocery store, are all simple examples of how I show love. And of course, in the process of doing things for others, I feel more open to the love that surrounds me.

I long for love and yet on my good days, I simply have to turn inward, pay attention to my body, and sense the love that lies within. Looking for outward confirmation that I am loveable causes unnecessary suffering, and dampens any self-esteem I’m working on cultivating. In the past, we were raised to believe that pleasing others was crucial to our own happiness. As we transition through midlife, we realize that working with others, rather that working to serve others, is where happiness truly lies.

When I can appreciate myself and open my heart to others, love seems to flow and no longer needs to be measured. I can just be in the moment and be grateful for the fullness of my life.

I hope you had  a wonderful Valentine’s Day, a day where you took the time to give to others, feel the love that surrounds you, and fully appreciate yourself.

Midlife Transition

As I am sitting here, writing this post, I am aware of another snowy day in April in Burlington, VT. Spring is around the corner, teasing us with buds starting to bloom, and the ability to see grass again. I find this time of year interesting, particularly after the long winter. I trust that spring will occur, and yet, I notice my impatience of wanting it to happen now. [Read more…]

Strategies for Finding Joy at Midlife

As you begin your journey to awaken to your wisdom there are some key elements that will help you find more aliveness and joy in midlife

One way of discovering what is really important to you in this new stage of life is to notice what makes your heart sing.

Noticing what makes your heart sing can be a playful and uplifting step in creating your future. Pay attention and see what you learn. Simply becoming aware of what brings you joy each day is a great practice for connecting with yourself and your dreams. [Read more…]

STUCK IN A COCOON AT MIDLIFE?

Do you ever feel like your life is wrapped in a cocoon? It’s a cozy familiar comfort zone, yet it limits your ability to step out into a bigger context.

Emerging Butterfly

Your discomfort with change, stuckness, resentment, sadness, fear of rejection, and anger — all keep you stuck in a cocoon. The more these feelings surround you, the stronger they become and the smaller you become. You yearn to step out into the world but it feels too scary. It is easier to live in a protected place than to take the risk of opening your heart and discovering ways to let go of your habitual thinking. [Read more…]

Gratitude

BE GRATEFUL FOR GRATITUDE LISTS

You have probably heard, read about or even tried gratitude lists before. If you have, or even if the idea is completely new to you, consider writing a gratitude list once a week instead of every day. If a daily list works, keep going! But if you find your list has lost its punch, try writing it less frequently. New studies show that to be most effective, gratitude lists need to be kept innovative. If you find yourself writing the same things over and over, look for new things to be grateful for. [Read more…]

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