A positive from 2020
2020 has been a challenging and very different year for us all. On the positive side, it’s given us a lot of time for reflection. For me has come a realisation that I’ve become much more introspective in my 50’s than I’ve ever been before.
The decade by decade shift
With every decade we learn and grow and as we move into the next there is a shift as we become a newer evolved version of ourselves. I’m finding that there is a much ‘deeper’ shift within ourselves during our 50’s than there ever was during any other decade before this one.
IN OUR 20’s, my generation mostly (but not all) got married, saved for a house, worked and generally started a family. I was very much aware of doing what was I believed was expected of me. I kept quiet, did what I was told, and was eager to please everyone. For me, it wasn’t until I was 28 that I became a mother. In my day, that was considered quite a late start!
IN OUR 30’s many of us (but not all of us) are raising a family whilst juggling a job, running a house, keeping ourselves and everyone else fit and healthy, remembering everyone’s commitments and appointments, trying to maintain friendships, and so much more. During this decade I was still very focussed on doing what I believed was expected of me and trying to be the best at everything – good mother, good workmate, good worker, fit and trim, good participation at schools (I was always on a committee – from kindy days through to the end of schooling), be a good wife, daughter, sibling, in-law, keep a clean and tidy house, and so on. The 30’s are generally crazy busy years. For me that became the case particularly in the mid 30’s when I returned full-time to the workforce and thus began the pull between my expectations of myself as a mother and my expectations of myself within the workplace. I never felt like I was good enough at either. Guilt became my constant companion.
IN OUR 40’s we’re usually still working but we’re starting to speak up for ourselves a bit more. Less people pleasing and more self awareness. Voicing our opinions becomes more important to us and we start to learn to say NO to whatever we don’t want to do or whatever no longer serves us. The kids are getting older and we’re having to learn to ‘let go’. For many of us these are still crazy busy years still juggling all that I listed above in the 30’s. For me, the 40’s were crazy busy until the tail end of my 40’s when I left my corporate job and that whole corporate world. This is the decade where the consequences of years of people pleasing, perfectionism, trying to be everything to everyone, placing too high expectations on myself, living unknowably with chronic stress, all came to a head. I crashed and burned and was quite unwell, but I rebuilt myself and I learned so much from it.
The 50’s DEEP shift
IN OUR 50’s the shift is so much DEEPER. I can only speak from my own experience, and there would be some differences between men and women in that woman are also experiencing quite significant hormonal shifts.
What we’re generally doing in our 50’s can be so different from person to person. Some still have kids at school, some are empty nesters! Many are still working full-time, some may have reduced to part-time. Some may have retired. Some may have changed to a career better suited to who they are right now. All I can say, is that during our 50’s we are more aware now of what we will tolerate and what we won’t, and what we need to feel happier and more balanced within ourselves.
Here’s a little (not all) of what I’ve experienced:
- A deeper shift than previously experienced with regards to what we can or will tolerate means there is a need to surrender and adapt our lives to accommodate our new selves. Examples for me include:
- No longer able to tolerate living life at a fast pace. Nowadays a slower pace of life is needed and well earned. I said ‘no more’ to my former corporate life which involved early starts, 2 hours of commuting each day, and not getting home till between 6-7pm most days. I don’t crowd my days with appointments or commitments anymore. I spread them out – only 1 to 2 appointments per day and I give myself days with no commitments outside the home whatsoever. I gift myself time, something I had very little of in the previous decades.
- Reduced tolerance for noise & crowds. I avoid them or choose wisely which noise and crowds I’m willing to expose myself to. Some are more tolerable than others! For example – the Adele concert I went to in Brisbane in 2017 had over 60,000 people at it but I love Adele, was so excited to be there and see her live, and I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, so I managed. Whereas if you put me in a crowded shopping centre with high pitched squealing children mixed with that annoyingly loud shop music, it’s like jackhammers in my head and I don’t manage that very well at all. We’re all different! Of course crowds haven’t really been a problem in 2020 have they?!!
- Reduced tolerance for over inflated ego’s, bullying and gossip and cr*p like that! Leaving the workforce has removed a lot of that from my life and I’m selective about who I spend my time with now. No time for those that cause energy drain but loads of time for those that create energy gain (uplifting, interesting, genuine and fun to be around).
- A deeper resistance to people pleasing. I’m not here to impress anyone anymore. I’m here only to impress me. I need to live with me and so it helps if I can like me! If I can like me then hopefully others will too and if not, so be it. Of course there are still people in our life that we like to please (but because it makes US feel good not because we believe they expect it of us) – e.g. family and close friends – but we do that by being our authentic selves and on our own terms now. We do what feels right to us, no longer what we feel is expected of us.
- A deeper appreciation for what’s important in life – family, inner peace, gratitude, learning to love and accept ourselves.
- A deeper sense of joy from simple things – the healing powers of nature, morning coffee, cool breeze on a hot day, cosy and warm indoors on a cold day, climbing into a comfy bed at the end of the day when tired, a day with no commitments, & more!
- A deeper awareness to notice, feel, absorb, and be present in the moments we spend with those that we love. When you lose a loved one, this becomes important and even more a part of who we are. Mortality has never been more real.
- A much deeper insight with the saying ‘Less is More’. Less stress. Less clutter. Less to clean. Less chaos. Less partying. Less time for BS. Less busy.
- A much deeper insight with the saying ‘Quality over Quantity’. Good quality clothes and shoes are a must for comfort and value for money. Good quality friends are the only kind that we wish to invest our precious time & energy on. There is no time for silly games with those less genuine or aligned to our way of thinking.
- A deeper need for times of solitude. It’s not just an introvert thing. It’s a midlife thing. A balance of social vs solitude time helps to maintain a feeling of order, peace and calm.
- A deeper commitment to caring for our health and wellbeing in all ways – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The first 50 years are for learning, and the second 50 years are for living. Life just begins when you’re in your 50’s ~ Vi Higginsen
Are you in your 50’s or perhaps moved into your 60’s or beyond? Have you or did you feel the deep shift in your 50’s?
Ciao for now,