I am at the stage in my life where I find myself reflecting on who I was and wondering who I desire to become. I have changed so much through the different stories of my life – from the demanding young woman who struggled so hard to like herself and enjoy her life, to the woman that I am today who is happy in my skin and appreciates what each day offers me.
At 63, I find myself on the threshold of a new becoming and a sense of new possibilities. The questions that arise for me are around what do I really desire, and what’s next? As a body confidence author/expert and age empowerment coach, I work with these themes every day with my clients whose ages span between age 40 plus to early 90s.
It is never too late or too early to engage in this wonderful practice of self-enquiry. I invite them to ponder on their own answers to these questions and although the questions seem simple to answer, they can be deceptively challenging.
When I ask the question, “What do you really desire?” the answers often revolve around, “I want to be happy, or to feel peaceful or just enjoy my life now.” And whilst these are wonderful answers, they don’t really clarify or expand on what being happy truly means or what kinds of things or thoughts make the person feel at peace or allow them to enjoy their life right now.
When you begin to dig a little deeper into what is behind those answers, you begin to discover a whole new story waiting to be born and created.
This is exciting because it offers us a chance to take stock of where we have been, what we have learned and what we desire to create and experience in the future.
Many people feel that as we age, we have no new stories to be created, told, lived out and enjoyed, however the reverse is true. Age brings us a new sense of maturity and inner knowing of what it is that we truly desire to create and how we wish our lives to be. There often is a clarity as we grow older that is not there in our youthful years. I feel this strongly within myself.
My younger self was often swayed by what other people thought or expected of me, and I lived my life teetering on, seeking external validation and doing things to please others rather than what I authentically desired to do.
Indeed, many people only come into their fullest sense of personal joy, power and authenticity after the age of 60.
For example, Louise Hay, (mind body pioneer and founder of Hay House Publishing) didn’t start writing until her 50s and started her business (Hay House) in her 60s. Equally, Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes didn’t start writing until he was 65.
It begs the question… what if ageing didn’t bring about decline but a renewed sense of passion and possibility and our greatest accomplishments?
I like to think of regenerating ourselves rather than reinventing who we are. Reinvention often feels as if we have to wipe the slate clean and start again completely from scratch. This doesn’t take into account all of the experiences that our lives have given us and what has helped make us the people that we are today.
However, regenerating ourselves means that we build on more of who we are. We take the lessons and our life experiences, and we weave them into possibilities for the future. We know what hasn’t worked for us and what we no longer desire in our life, and we know what lights us up and how we love to express ourselves in ways that suit us.
Are there dreams that you have put on the back burner or are keeping for when the time feels right? Do you long to travel, start your own business, spend more time with your family, take up a new hobby or activity? Maybe you would love to learn to dance, write a book or be part of a like-minded community? How would you love to spend your days? What lights you up or nourishes your soul?
A friend of mine went to Argentina to learn how to Tango when she was in her 60s and still teaches Tango lessons today in her 80s! How fabulous!
Write your visions down. Begin to collate a vision book and add to it with pictures, quotes and research how you might bring your visions to life. Everything in our life begins first in the imagination. It is here that dreams are born and built upon. Creating a vision book is a powerful actionable step towards creating a new life story. This is your template from which you can add to and build on.
When you look at the ideas, visions and dreams you have in your vision book, is there a theme that runs through them? Choosing a theme often helps us to solidify where we are and where we are heading. A theme can be anything.
As I look at my own vision book, the themes of movement, writing, art and creativity seem to sparkle through the pages. I know that the story I am creating now needs to include these themes for me to feel fulfilled and nourished. What themes feel alive for you right now? Bear in mind that themes can also be seasons, colours, emotions, places and people.
As in every story, the words that we read will either light us up, excite and entice us, or make us feel bored, despondent and disconnected. This tip invites you to come up with 3 to 5 core words that describe your new story.
Imagine that your new story is a book you desire to read and there are three to five words on the front of this book that stand out and draw you towards it. What are these words? For example, when I think about my own story, the words that come up for me are wild, free, loved, abundant and joyful.
It is in living out our passions and inner dreams that we create the legacy that we leave for others. The words from the late Wayne Dyer (Author) feel very pertinent here when he said, “Don’t die with your music still in you.”
It reminds me to create, do and experience all of the things that are within me and not hold back in my life. I spent far too long in my early life doubting myself and feeling not good enough. That was my old story. My new story knows I am good enough and seeks to create from this place of self-love and authenticity.
What is the music that is still inside you? What story do you long to share, create, write, dance, sing, paint or tell? Only you can give this to the world. Only you can share your passion, your light, your journey and your dreams. If you don’t create it or allow it to happen, who will?
Every story needs to be written. Nothing happens without action. We can have dreams and ideas in our heads for years; however, until we take action, they will remain dreams and ideas. Sometimes, taking action on our dreams can feel overwhelming. It may feel too big or too scary to step into what we truly desire.
The key is to take “baby steps” of inspired action. Choose small, do-able steps that make you feel good. This might mean that you simply spend some time researching ideas. Or it may mean that you start to free up more space in your day to focus on what you want. Every single day, choose one small action that you can do to honour your ideas and begin to bring them into reality.
A lovely lady I worked with years ago wanted to create a new story which was full of health and vitality. She began to make small changes to what she ate and started a new fitness regime of walking every day. She began with just two minutes and increased this as she became stronger and fitter.
It is the small consistent actions that we take that create the most positive results. Remember that it is the journey that needs to thrive and be enjoyed – not just reaching the destination.
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What is a new story that you would love to create? What is the music that is still inside you?