Today is my birthday, so I am feeling a little bit down.
You see, when I was very small, my birthday was always the beginning of a period of mourning as my mother died 9 days after I was born. So for all the adults around me, my birthday was a reminder of a tragedy they were still grieving.
Then, on my 7th birthday, my half sister was born. Which meant my birthday thunder was stolen forever :-D
Every year, a few days before my birthday, a dark cloud descends that I can't seem to shake off. Some years it's been so awful I've pulled the duvet over my head on the actual day and slept through it. It doesn't make sense, it infuriates and puzzles the people who love me and it leaves me feeling upset and confused.
Why am I telling you this? Well, of course, that sadness I feel doesn't really belong to me - it's something I picked up as a tiny tot from the people around me.
It isn't my sadness.
By the time we reach midlife, we can often carry other people's "stuff" around...
Good morning. Since writing my first post concerning the murder of George Floyd, I have listened with growing horror to the pain and fear of black women in America and those I know in the UK. And I realised that I needed to say more or I am part of the problem.
This is long, but please bear with me. And please - if I say something here that is incorrect or offensive to you, be kind when you point out my error. I am genuinely striving to be better, do better and to understand how I can be part of the solution rather than the probably, both personally and as the host of this community. I am actively seeking to educate myself.
Firstly, I want to be clear that everyone is welcome here, whatever the colour of your skin. If you are black, please know your voice is important in this community.
If you are white, your voice is also important in...
Guest Blog: Parenting Your Parents
As life expectancy rises, we’re finding ourselves looking after not only our young family but our parents too. Parenting our parents is new territory for us – how do we best look after the people who have always cared for us?
Jessica Silver from ElWell provides support and information to people looking after their parents as they get older. So we spoke with her for advice to help understand how to parent our parents.
When do the tables turn?
You have your parents’ best interests at heart, so it makes sense that you want them to stay healthy and well and don’t over-stretch themselves. But we need to make sure we don’t project our worries and concerns about them getting older onto them unnecessarily. Don’t just assume because they’ve reached a certain age that they should be winding down. Yes, they may need to – and then a conversation should be had – but don’t enter the caregiver...
I realised this weekend that I was not ok.
Perhaps I am "supposed" to be. As the Founder of this Midlife Movement I do my best every day to be measured in my responses and careful what I post. And I am, as a rule, ok most of the time.
But I am only human and the current situation, I think you will agree, is testing for us all, to say the least!
As I always do in a crisis, I "look for the helpers" as Mr Rogers would have said. And I am finding them, and posting about them and aim to do my best to help calm the anxiety and fear that is surrounding us as much as I am able.
So how do I know that I am NOT OK?
It started with feelings of irritation at small, silly things. Not being able to get the lid off a jar, losing work because I forgot to press save - that sort of thing. Then yesterday I lost my temper - very rare as I have a very slow burn - at some misinformation doing the rounds on social media. (Not at the well meaning people sharing it, but at the irresponsibility of the...
...it was the worst of times..."
When Charles Dickens wrote the opening lines of "A Tale of Two Cities" he was speaking of very different times, but how apt that expression seems right now! (Scroll down to see the full opening paragraph and see whether you think it resonates with current events).
You might be nodding at that statement, or you might be raising an eyebrow and thinking - the best of times? Has she lost her mind? I don't blame you. People are ill, people are losing their livelihoods, people are losing the folks they love prematurely - please don't think I'm making light of that. If you've been reading these blogs for a while or receiving my weekly emails, you'll know I am not a fan of relentless positivity. I have been on the rollercoaster of disbelief, confusion and fear too, but in this crisis as in all others, I do try to heed the legendary Mr Rogers and "look for the helpers".
We have all seen the constant news stories of people...
There have been some interesting developments recently in the way midlife women are being portrayed in the media, more of which in a moment. Firstly, I would like to ask you a question. When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, what do you see?
If I ask that question as a speaker, nervous laughter ensues. I once asked it on my Photography Facebook Business Page and the replies were both varied and fascinating.
Many say they see their mother, or grandmother staring back at them, which causes a mixture of alarm and comfort. There's something rather lovely in carrying our loved ones with us, isn't there? Some women tell me they never look at their own face in its entirety. If they are putting on lipstick, they look at their lips, if they are brushing their hair, they look at their hair and so on.
The Face it, Own it! project has thrown up some very interesting questions about self image. Some common themes, in addition to the above, have included sadness,...
Do you still dream? Not when you are asleep, but properly daydream as you might have done as a child and a teen?
So often we abandon the dreams we had when we were young and swap them instead for what we believe to be a sustainable life. Marriage, perhaps, mortgage, children, the corporate career climb... and we forget to create new dreams, telling ourselves not to be silly, impractical, unrealistic...
Those dreams we had don't quite go away altogether though. Whether we are conscious of them or not, they reside within us, dormant, waiting, just in case they might be needed again.
There's something about hitting midlife that triggers a stirring, a little tremor that can awaken old dreams and desires. Slowly, we often feel an almost imperceptible shift, a yearning for something we can't quite pin down, but that causes us to feel restless, often dissatisfied.
It raises questions, causes us to become reflective, reminds us of our long abandoned dreams. It can be a bloody nuisance,...
As an interior designer and someone who’s committed to healthy meals and exercise, I’ve observed that first: our most consistent wellness practices begin at home.
And second: your home has the ability to support and revitalize you, or drain you.
To get you started I’ve prepared a list of action steps below!
I talk about self care all the time in The Midlife Movement. Before Christmas it was becoming increasingly clear to me that I need to practice what I preach more consistently.
I had fallen into bad sleeping habits and was constantly tired. Working on growing The Midlife Movement was consuming me. It was always at the forefront of my mind, to the detriment of my other business and my relationships.
So when my friend, Sue, (pictured above) whose course "Self Care Space" is one of the most popular in the Midlife Movement Membership, told me she was going on a yoga retreat in India and that there was one place remaining, I didn't think - I just said "count me in!"
I've travelled alone quite a bit, but I'd never been to India, so this well organised trip seemed like an ideal way to dip my toe in the water! Satsanga Retreat in Northern Goa is a safe, comfortable space close to the coast and the warm Arabian Sea. Built and run by an expat couple from Norway and London, it is staffed...
10 years ago, I wrote a series of letters in an attempt to make sense of my life at a time of crisis and uncertainty. One of them was a letter to my future self.
Now I am close to 60, it's interesting to see how far I have come. I have actually been gradually morphing into that person she describes, but I feel my 60s will be my best decade yet!
And yes, George Clooney is still hot! What would you write to your future self?
LETTER TO MY FUTURE SELF
How does 60 look? Or 2021 for that matter! Is there still a Eurozone? Has the global economy settled? Is George Clooney still hot?
Obviously, I can’t know what has happened to you in the ten years after I write this, but using now as a starting point, I’m going to make what I hope is an educated guess and project into the future. I’m hoping that you no longer sit and write blogs like this at 3am because your brain is so busy it won’t let you stay asleep. Ergo you’re not exhausted a lot of...