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Growing Older the Way I Was When I Was Young Is Just Too Damn Hard

By Fran Braga Meininger June 26, 2023 Mindset

I’ve always been a high energy, hyperactive, super vigilant, take charge, independent woman. The difference is, now I’m also an aging woman, and that one undeniable fact has recently caused me to rethink how I approach life.

I’ve always been able to muster my determination and take on whatever presented itself as my next challenge, in fact, I’ve thrived on it. I’ve consistently taken on too much, accepted challenges that required me to focus all my energy on my job, to the detriment of my health, relationships and sometimes, my sanity. I’ve stepped in to shoulder responsibility for those I love, despite having an already full schedule, shoe horning it in and pushing harder, in hopes of bending the constraints of time.

I’ve lived by schedules, plans and goals, with extremely high, and sometimes impossible, expectations and standards, always anticipating what could happen and making alternative plans, just in case.

It’s been exhausting. But as a young woman, it was doable, not advisable nor beneficial, but doable. Now, however, I’m beginning to fray at the edges in my effort to make it so.

Accepting this reality is, however, only the first step to making lifestyle changes and different choices for my future. I also need to change how I see my role within my inner circle, my professional persona and the world on the grand scale.

I’ve spent some time on this conundrum and have come up with some possibilities. I share them here, in hopes that those of you who might be coming to the same conclusions might feel seen and be motivated to engage in some healthy revisions of your own, along with me.

Energy Is a Finite Commodity

It always has been, but in my younger life I seemed to have plenty. But now, I feel the need to allocate it differently. For me, that includes physical exercise, a reasonable amount of sleep, my commitment to a part time job as a chef and creating content for the editors who count on me at the top of the list, followed by quality time with my friends and loved ones, volunteer work, personal development and recreation.

Fulfillment, Emotional Rewards and Getting My Needs Met Matters More

I used to sacrifice myself whenever necessary, putting my needs last. I now see the ramifications of that habit and have committed to putting my time and energy toward what pays me back. For me, prioritizing my physical and emotional wellbeing and my mental health, means time alone, savoring the solitude of nature, spending time with those who value me and my company, down time to unplug and time to write, not for publication but for the expression of my soul.

Responding Differently to the Needs of Others Opens Up Room for Me

I’m not Mighty Mouse, and I don’t need to rush in to save the day. I must remember not every outcome depends on me. Life goes on, people figure it out and there are numerous alternative resources available beyond mine. I need to practice the pause when I see a need, or at least wait until I’m asked to help before I decide to do so.

Sometimes Things Will Fall Apart, But It Will Ultimately Be All Right

I can’t prepare for, nor prevent, every calamity in life. Reasonable preparations make sense, packing my go bag during fire season, wearing my seatbelt, exercising to maintain my strength and mobility all make sense. However, being hyper vigilant and working myself into a lather trying to put all the Plan B’s in place is counterproductive and futile.

It bears pointing out that these changes are significant and will not happen overnight. But coming to grips with the need for them and keeping them forefront in my mind is a good first step.

I’m quite sure as I evolve, the resulting shift in how I feel, how much more time and energy I have and the eventual sigh of relief will keep me moving in the right direction. I have no doubt learning to live at a more reasonable pace, as the woman I am now will be the worthwhile reward.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you always felt like a to-go person for everybody and everything? How have you handled that? Has it worn on you as you’ve aged? What type of shift are you planning to do to regain your sense of self?

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Thank you. Excellent.


I like your one way to deal: take a pause instead of saving the day. I’m starting to see the value of the pause – as well as the need to put me first instead of last.

Melissa Lenahan

This is a ditto for me. I find that no matter where I’ve been in life or what I’ve done I e done 110% + every single day of my life. I’m 60 in September with two 14 year olds and a husband and I work and do and go and organize and take care of the dog. I retired and you wouldn’t know it bc I go go go and do do do. I have just recently felt this need to maybe let some things go because it is too much for my aging mind and body. I need to re-group and take better care of me and realize some things I just can’t keep doing and hoping they will all survive with less direction from me.

Thank you I needed this right now.

The Author

Fran Braga Meininger writes personal narratives about the years beyond youth, a time in a woman’s life that can be vibrant, fulfilling, and wonderful, despite – or perhaps because of – all that comes with age. She lives in northern California where she hikes, bikes and lives life in big bites. You can visit her website at https://www.theyearsbeyondyouth.com

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