This is something I wrote in 2012, about becoming me, at the request of someone else; it was published somewhere, although I can’t remember where! I find it interesting to read and I hope you do too. Becoming anything is important; becoming yourself, and not what you’re expected to be, is vital …
“If I take a moment and look back on my teenage years, my twenties, my thirties and my forties, I marvel at the self-confidence, self-esteem and sheer unadulterated chutzpah with which I lived!
I was slim and gorgeous. I was fortunate enough to have had a wide and varied education. By the time I was 40 I had visited 48 countries and lived in four. I was an actress, I was at medical school for a number of years, I sang, I was on TV, I wrote and Produced for TV, I performed and directed on Radio, I was a music publisher, I designed and developed software, I designed and manufactured clothing and jewellery, … and the list goes on!
I was always fortunate, landed on my feet in any crisis and, as my Father used to say, always came up with a bunch of roses.
The reverse side of the coin, as you would expect, was a little blacker. At 17 I was diagnosed with manic depression (bipolar) and over the years spent time in hospitals for both manic and depressive episodes. Standard treatment was Lithium plus some other drugs. I experienced the pain and heartbreak most of us experience, including the early death of my Father, the loss of a child and the loss of my mother to dementia.
I entered my fifties; buoyant, energetic, vivacious and in my usual somewhat hyper state (not manic … just up!). In fact, it was really a question of business as usual. Until I turned 56!
Oh no! I look like my Mother …
I woke up one morning looking like a piece of chewing gum on the sole of my shoe … my beautiful little body with pert boobs and a sensational bum (both of which were definitely lower than they had been the day before) looked sad. My skin started to resemble a crêpe frock (alas, it didn’t shrink when it got wet!), my arms became the proverbial bingo wings and staring back at me in the mirror was … my mother!
Don’t get me wrong; I loved my mother but as long as I’d known her she had been old. (We all perceive our parents as being old because we never knew them young.) And now I looked like her and we all know what that means …
Adding insult to injury was the departure of my brain to sunnier climes. I assume they were sunnier because there seemed to be an awful lot of rain on my sad little parade.
The brain-mouth connection disappeared; whatever was going on in my head certainly wasn’t coming out of my mouth. In fact, I seemed to lose myself. I even contemplated filing a missing persons report … I’d been gone a lot longer than 24 hours.
Where had I gone? The becoming business was looking bleak.
What shall I do?!
In despair I turned to the library and the internet and a variety of wide and diverse avenues for a solution to the way I felt, the state of my brain and the way I looked. Hot flushes (ugh!), a complete lack of tolerance, physical changes I could never have imagined in my worst nightmares, a thickened waist, tiredness, overwhelm and absolutely nothing to wear, were just some of the problems for which I sought a solution.
In my quest for me the one thing I didn’t find was something (anything!) that provided an answer to all my questions in one fell swoop.
Talking to many, many other women I soon learned they had the same problems. And, like me, were looking for solutions …
As a woman who had survived a life of challenge and even managed to become drug-free (medication = drugs) without ending up in hospital (despite the forecasts of my Psych and doctors!), the obvious answer was to pull myself up by my boot straps (for the umpteen millionth time in my life) and find my own solutions; not just for me … but for other women too.
And so I re-invented myself! As you do …
What I did!
I wrote a book about style for middle-aged women(Hot Stuff: the Ultimate Guide to Style for Women of a Certain Age) and started a company (Aging Disgracefully) to provide information about whatever it is women want to know, when they reach a certain age. Everything from hair and make-up to handbags and dressing for your body shape, plus stepping into your own power; diet, relaxation, finding a passion, living with passion and embracing change Really, just becoming me (or you!
Along my path on this part of my journey, I have been privileged to meet some extraordinary women, and I have found a tremendous number who understand it’s their time to live. Finally, they can say “It’s all about me”, and peel off other peoples labels. They are becoming me.
But I have also met the opposite. Women who have surrendered their power and are afraid to get it back. Women who have sunk into middle-age and become ‘grey’. Women who no longer feel sexy or vibrant or smart or loved. And these are the women I like to work with most … so much unused passion, so much untapped potential, so much to give and, just as importantly, to receive .
Learn to receive.
As women, receiving is something we find hard. It took me a while to wake up to the fact that I had nothing to give if I was always empty. I started doing things I loved and rewarding myself … because I could. It was difficult at first because, for a variety of reasons and at that time in my life I felt unworthy and selfish … and it’s hard to suddenly start receiving … but I learned!
When did you last ask, “what am I giving me today?”
Learning to receive is one of the keys to a vibrant and healthy life after 50; like learning to say NO, and providing no reason. These really are essential if your years after becoming a woman of a certain age are going to be all you would like them to be.
Now I go to yoga twice a week, I cook, I go to the movies, I watch TV if I want to, I have a manicure and pedicure once a month and a facial. And I do all this (and more) because I am worthy and I have learned to love and accept myself for who I am. Was it an easy ride? No. But the journey was amazing … and it keeps getting better …
My life now is about love and gratitude and keeping myself full to over-flowing … I can give so much more.
… I have finally become … me.”
Have you become you yet? Neither half full or half empty. Just Full to overflowing …