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Role Models

Why we should see them and why we should be them.

Do you remember who your female role models were as a girl? A relative, perhaps - maybe an aunt who you perceived as glamorous, or a teacher. An activist, a singer, an actress, even a politician?

How about as a young woman? Were female role models available to you then? Maybe your mother or grandmother (once past puberty and you shed the scales from your eyes ;-) )

Mark Thomas writes:

“Our happiness is very much based on our perception of how our life should or could be and the gap between that and how it is in reality.”

Therefore we are hard wired, if you like, to look for role models to inspire us to become the very best we can be.

I looked up to both my grandmothers. One raised me, the other simply loved me and their influence remains with me to this day.

As I approached middle age, I found myself seeking out new role models - women who shine in their fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and beyond. Women whose...

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Randi Skaug

There is no one more inspiring to me than a person who is strong and independent, who maintains a happy, positive outlook on life. Randi Skaug is just such a person.

Having spent 26 years as a desk bound executive, Randi quit her job, aged 44, to become a mountaineer. Despite severe back problems, she climbed the highest mountains in all seven continents and was the first Norwegian woman to conquer Everest. What a feeling that must have been! 

Speaking to presenter Ben Fogle on an episode in the Channel 5 series, New Lives in the Wild, that featured her, Randi says she placed that feeling in her heart and still draws on it.

"Fear is normal. The important thing is not to fear the fear."

Having skiied on expeditions  in Antarctica, Norway and Greenland, kayaking round the coast of Norway and visiting more than 70 countries, Randi bought the 33 acre island of  Naustholmen, situated in the Arctic Circle, off the Vestfjord, near the Lofoten Islands.

...

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Self Sabotage!

Before I sat down to write this blog post, I made a cup of tea, fed the birds, ran a bath, had a cup of tea, checked the news, had a cup of tea, caught up with my Facebook feed…

Procrastination is not only the thief of time (a phrase coined by English poet, Edward Young), it is also a prime self sabotaging mechanism. You know you need to write that report/make that phone call/pay that bill, but somehow you just can’t bring yourself to get on and actually do it!

What do we mean when we talk about “Self Sabotage”? Any behaviour that gets in the way of achieving our goals, or does us harm, such as: 

  • Procrastination
  • Over-eating
  • Drinking heavily
  • Sleeping in too often
  • Sleeping with the “wrong” person 
  • Being late
  • Reacting with inappropriate anger

Unhelpful habits keep us trapped in inertia, ultimately damaging our self esteem as well as our prospects in life. We are, it seems, all too prone to shooting ourselves in the foot when it comes to...

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Friends

"I'll be there for you, if you'll be there for me too…”  The Rembrandts

Go on - admit it: you started singing the theme tune to Friends, the sitcom, when you read the title of this blog post! Or maybe it was just me...?  One of the great things about long standing, like-minded friends is that you don't have to explain your cultural references.

Following on from my previous blog post where we talked about the need to be heard, a member of The Midlife Movement free Facebook Group, Annette, commented:

“‘Girls night”’, and so forth, is not just about getting out with friends. It’s about being heard. My bestie lives 900 miles away and we talk daily. Don’t know how I’d function without our conversations."

The need for female friends is real whether or not we are in happy relationships or sociable workplaces. There is something about female camaraderie that both soothes the soul and bolsters our resolve. Good female friends...

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The UnQuiet Woman

confidence rage visibility Jan 09, 2019

As women reach "middle age" (and really, that starts whenever they begin to feel they are no longer "young"), a common feeling seems to be that no one listens when they speak.

If you have a long term partner, particularly male, there is a theory that men actually learn to "tune out" their female partner's voice over time. How many of us have had the accusation of nagging thrown at us? With the response "if you listened the first time I wouldn't have to nag!" No, wait - that contradicts the "tuning out" theory, doesn't it, as if he knows we're repeating ourselves ("nagging") he did hear us in the first place...

Actually, there is evidence that when men start to lose their hearing, it is the upper register that they find difficult to interpret. Women's voices tend to naturally be higher, so it stands to reason that their long suffering partners bear the brunt of their deafness. According to a recent study, men are also 5.5 times more likely to suffer from hearing loss than women, and...

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ROAR! A Short Story

ROAR!

or 20,000 words a day

Jo Blackwell

 She knew she had a problem. Not a small, everyday problem of the kind that others would say, I know what you mean, but an enormous, insidious, dangerous problem that was growing larger by the day.

  “Did you know,” she said to her daughter, “that women on average use 20,000 words a day, whereas men only need 7,000?”

  “Not every thought that pops into your head has to come out of your mouth, Mum,” her daughter replied through a mouthful of toast, eyes on her magazine.

  “If I spoke all my thoughts aloud, I’d never stop talking,” she protested, swallowing back her next words as she caught a withering glance. 

  “Just think before you speak, Mum. We don’t all need to share your every observation.”

 She knew she wasn’t using her daily 20,000 word allowance. She knew because she was constantly biting off the ends of her sentences, or,...

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Creativity

Have you noticed yourself feeling strangely restless? Are you aware of a growing need to express something, to be seen and heard? Do you feel the urge to create something?

Midlife is often a time when people start to look inward, to recall old enthusiasms or create new passions.

“People see creativity as the solution to the midlife crisis,” Julia Cameron, Author of “The Artist’s Way” and “It's Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond.”

One of the upsides to turning 50 for me was that I experienced a huge surge of creativity. Once the brain fog cleared and I gained a little more clarity, ideas started to ferment in my mind, bubbling and fizzing until I simply couldn’t ignore them! 

Since going through the menopause I have learned new skills such as photography, returned to writing short stories, articles and the beginnings of a novel. I’ve set up two businesses and learned...

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Peri-menopause: the symptoms

Are you “there’ yet?

According to Menopause Specialist, Dr Louise Newsom, around a quarter of women report few symptoms associated with menopause, or if they have any, they do not impact their lives to any significant degree. Which means, or course, that 75% of us are affected by the natural, physical process of declining hormone levels as we head towards our 50s.  

Symptoms associated with the menopause usually begin several years before menstruation stops.This transitionary phase, known as the peri-menopause, is when the ovaries begin to produce less oestrogen. 

According to the NHS (the UK’s National Health Service), the average time symptoms are experienced is 4 years, though about 1 in 10 women experience them for up to 12 years. 

The menopause itself occurs when the ovaries finally stop producing eggs altogether and is judged to be complete when a woman has not had a period for 12 months.

Common symptoms (“officially”...

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Regret

memory mindset psychology Nov 28, 2018

 

Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention…”

Those famous lines from “My Way” always struck me when I was a kid. Would I feel that way when I was old (like, fifty!)? 

How did one go about living a life where you had too few regrets to mention? I already had more regrets than I could handle - not handing my homework in on time, talking back to my mother, kissing Steven Phipps…

Psychologists believe that regret is an emotion that is first felt around the age of two, when we are first able to understand the concept of “if only…” Which means we develop our perception of regret at an age where we don’t have the discernment to know it is an emotion that will not serve us.

Regrets often arise from the feeling that we have failed in some way. There is a saying that a man who never makes a mistake, never makes anything. Failure can be seen merely as a necessary stage as you move towards...

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Sleep

How well do you sleep? 

  • Do you drop off like a well fed baby and stay asleep all night?
  • Or do you toss and turn, then, when you finally drop off, end up awake several times during the night? 
  • Are you constantly kicking off the covers, then finding yourself freezing?
  • Wake up in the night and need to change sweat-soaked nightclothes?
  • Make frequent visits to the bathroom?
  • Do you feel refreshed in the morning?
  • Are you sleepy during the day?

A change in sleep patterns is one thing that many of us start to notice as we enter peri-menopause. Whereas previously we might have slept happily for 8 hours a night, suddenly we start having trouble getting to sleep and/or trouble staying asleep on a regular basis.

“I used to sleep like a log from 11-7. Now I’m lucky if I manage 6 hours total, and that will be interrupted by at least one trip to the loo!  It drives me crazy because it definitely affects my concentration at work.” Sally. 

Sometimes,...

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