As I drove home from moving my 80-year-old mom to live closer to us, I reflected. My family is my priority and always has been. I cherish the opportunity to be there for them.
In the prior six months I had dealt with a health scare from my husband as well as a two-month long illness from my mother-in-law who lives with us. That had required follow-up home health care and occupational therapy. We had just watched two of our grandchildren while their parents were away. And now I was moving my mom here.
In addition, I was experiencing some anxiety around my career as a behavior analyst working with kids and teens on the autism spectrum. I loved my job but was starting to be careful about which cases I took on. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go on with this forever.
It was on that drive home that I decided to take some time and do the thing I’d always wanted to do but hadn’t ever done. I was going to write.
Since I’ve made that decision, I’ve met many like-minded women in my age range who aren’t done “doing the things” in spite of their age.
The “things” vary. I’ve met women who have up and moved to other countries. Women like myself who started to write. Others who have started businesses or decided to retire and travel with their husbands or friends. I even met a woman who adopted three children under age 3 after 50!
Maybe you’re interested in stopping work to provide full time day care for grands or parents. Maybe you want to train for your first 5K. Buy a vineyard! The possibilities and realms are endless.
There have been some common experiences among the women with whom I’ve spoken.
We all have fears: fear of failure; fear of being ridiculed, fear of rejection by family or friends. But, once we have the idea of what we want to do, the thought of not doing it brings disappointment. It would equal letting ourselves down. So, we have learned to overcome the fears and forge ahead with our plans.
Once I made up my mind that I was going to write and start my blog, I had to figure out next steps. I had a clear plan of action based on my particular situation and starting point. Each woman that I’ve spoken with did as well.
Before I told anyone or moved forward with my plan, I spent some of my daily journaling time closing my eyes and visualizing myself as a writer.
I allowed my visualizations to be very detailed – even picturing myself sitting in my cozy kitchen chair by the fire with my dog at my feet creating content for the women in my niche. Doing this made me even more excited about my dream and less likely to “poo-poo” it and toss it aside.
This was a tough one for me and for many women I’ve been in contact with. Disclosure puts our dream out there and makes us vulnerable. Telling friends and family is, for many of us, facing the fear of rejection or being laughed at.
I first told my husband and then my sons. And, although on some level I think they’re humoring me, they have all been nothing but supportive.
What do you need to do next? Are there courses you should be taking? Conversations that you need to be having at work or with family? Join Facebook groups and chat with others who are doing what you want to do. Google, learn all that you can, and then map out your next steps.
For me, that was deciding that I needed to take a blogging course which was a financial commitment. So, I needed to discuss this with my husband. I also had a conversation with my boss at work, letting her know that I was planning to slow down on my caseload.
I went on to create a journal prompt guide to help women looking to redefine their life and start their own journey.
Although there are external barriers at times (things like pushback from others, financial or time constraints), when we change something or redefine our goals the continuous barriers tend to be the internal mindset ones.
The two most common ones are the impostor syndrome mindset (“who do I think I am?”) and the “I’m too old to…” Those are the hardest ones to overcome, and yet, we have to.
As you move forward, ask yourself not “What’s the worst that can happen,” but, rather, “What’s the BEST that can happen?” And visualize it. Truly visualize it. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right!”
Leslie has started an online book group for women over 50. If you’re interested in further information, feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the area in your life that you’d like to redefine? Which of the barriers that you’re facing demotivate you the most? What is the BEST that can happen if you move forward with your dream? Please share your thoughts with our sisters!