“This is the best that we will ever look, you know it’s all down hill from here” exclaimed my roommate Ines as we spied ourselves in the mirror on my 21st birthday. Her comment took me by surprise. I was still waiting for more curves, to look sexier and feel more beautiful. I laugh when I think back to that day. I did indeed gain more curves (albeit the ones that you get from pregnancy and nursing) and I never looked more beautiful than I did when I fell in love with my husband or held my three infant daughters for the first time. But that day, I truly believed what Ines said; even limiting what I thought was possible for me.
I once again succumbed to that type of thinking when I turned forty. It felt like everything I read or heard alluded to the fact that I would never be as strong/fit/athletic as I had been in my younger years; essentially, that physically it was all down hill from here. If only I had been given a crystal ball and been able to see my future, 2017-self, biking, hiking, golfing and kayaking. If only I had known that having older children gave me more time to exercise, learn new sports, physically challenge myself and eat healthier.
While my forties were filled with messaging about diminishing physicality, when I turned 50, the narrative changed. I heard that my intellectual ability was now waning; that it would be harder and harder to learn new things and that my biggest achievements were behind me. This time, intellectually it was all down hill from here. Fortunately by this point in my life, I was not only older but also wiser. I did check in with my future self and followed my intuition.
This year I will be celebrating my 60th birthday. In the last decade, the one in which we are so often told our intellect begins to fade, I continued growing my 30 year career as a partner in a large psychotherapy group, became a certified life transition coach, and launched my own Midlife Reinvention Coaching practice. This journey required a whole new set of skills, including becoming a seasoned public speaker and published writer, creating and leading retreats, and learning social media, marketing and technology. I have put myself out there, taken more risks, experienced more failures and successes, and challenged my brain more in the past decade that I did all the decades before. (Ok fine, in the interest of full transparency, I’ll admit that this decade has also seen an increase in my need to write things down to remember them…and the number of times I walk into a room and forget what I entered for in the first place.)
Fortunately, I am not alone. I am honored to be a part of a group of extra-ordinary midlife women who also refuse to buy into the limiting belief that our biggest achievements and contributions are behind us. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mother Teresa, Julia Child and Grandma Moses made their biggest contributions in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond. Over the last decade, I have had the privilege of coaching and supporting extraordinary midlife women as they undertook risks, followed their dreams, stretched and surprised themselves. In doing so, most of these women had to break through the limiting belief that they were no longer sharp, strong, skilled, or confident enough to create an exciting, rewarding and fulfilling life.
How about you? Are you ready to take the next step towards creating your most fulfilling life? Join me and 12 other like-minded women at “Midlife Reinvention, Writing Your Next Chapter,” a One Day Retreat on Sept. 16th, 2017.
Would you like to jumpstart your reinvention? Unsure what your next chapter will look like? Click the link to get your free copy of my Finding and Defining Your Callings workbook.
There are only three spots left for the Midlife Reinvention Weekend Retreat in Vermont, November 3-5, 2017.