September last year I hit the big 50, and like so many of my friends and clients I wasn’t sure how I felt about approaching it! Two years ago I decided that instead of limping sadly into my 50th year I would greet it with a bang! However, life events kind of took over and whilst I didn’t exactly limp in, I didn’t welcome it with open arms either.
Like so many people I saw 50 as a mark in the sand, a time to reflect on what had gone before and what I wanted to do with the next chapter of my life, like a coming of age all over again, it felt exciting, scary and empowering, I was ready for it, I was going to grab that big fat 50 with both hands and give it a good old shake!
My father died 2 weeks before my 49th birthday and I instantly became a carer for my mother who has vascular dementia, when I imagined the year approaching my 50th birthday it certainly wasn’t like this. Suddenly at what should have been the start of a new and adventurous chapter of my life, trying out new experiences, taking off and travelling the world and generally experiencing freedom, I became stuck, caught up in the challenges that can sometimes arrive as we hit this part of our lives.
Looking after an elderly and sick parent or partner, losing a loved one, ending a relationship of many years, children spreading their wings and leaving home, deciding that the career you have strived for all these years is no longer enough, all things we can face as we hit ‘middle age’,
We can suddenly look up and realise that whilst we were taking care of the kids, fighting our way up the career ladder, juggling a hundred and one things on a daily basis and worrying about mundane things like the washing, cooking and finances years have passed by.
Over the last few years I have seen friends and clients hit 50 and make changes to their lives, a girlfriend’s sudden realisation that they deserved a loving relationship and staying together just for the kids was no longer an option. A client deciding that after striving all his working life he was tired of the same old same old at work, sold his business so he could retire early and travel.
It was a biggie!
Hitting a mile stone like 40, 50, or 60 can make us re-evaluate our lives and reflect on whether we truly are happy. For some it will be a big fat ‘no’ and they will seek to make changes to an aspect of their life.
Some women will feel that amongst the gathering of titles like wife, mother, taxi driver and everything and anything else, they kind of got lost along the way, and once the children leave home they have to start to recreate themselves once again.
A milestone can be whatever we want it to be but do we really have to wait for one to decide we want to be happy?
Don’t we deserve to have a fulfilling job that we feel passionate about, be in a loving and supportive relationship, find ‘me’ time regardless of the demands made on us.
Seeking happiness should not be something we only look for when we feel we can’t cope with the opposite any longer. If I have learnt anything over the last two years it is ‘don’t wait for your milestone’, make those changes NOW, decide to create the ‘Happy You’, we never know what’s around the corner and I’d rather live a life of ‘trying’ than one of regret and what if’s..
So let every day be your milestone, where you ask yourself ‘am I happy?’, is this what I really want? Do I deserve more?