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Transitioning gracefully….?

April 21, 2009

How do you, as a midlife woman feel about getting older?

fear2Does the very thought fill you with fear and trepidation… or do you look forward to the future with optimism? Or perhaps like me, you swing between the two depending on your current frame of mind?  But how many of us can say, hand on heart, that we welcome the idea of aging with open arms….?  

I thought so.

What’s SO wrong with getting older that makes us either pretend it’s not actually happening, or compels us to attempt to forestall the inevitable?  Who can deny that feeling of  triumph you get when people tell you that you look young ‘for your age’ (…. they always have to go and spoil it by adding that last bit don’t they!)

As a coach I see firsthand the many creative ways in which we midlife women try to resist and delay, rather than embrace the opportunities of aging. Our reluctance to move through the midlife transition is not a result of obstinacy but an act of self protection, intended to guard ourselves from what we fear or think will make us feel bad. It’s ironic really because this reluctance often has the opposite effect.

Perhaps you even recognise a few of them….

·         Feelings of anxiety, confusion and resentfulness start to creep in and become increasingly difficult to ignore.

·         Clinging to the status quo for dear life still doesn’t stop us knowing, deep down, that we ARE no longer who we were.

·         We feel the sharp and sometimes unexpected sting of regret.

·         We feel compelled to do SOMETHING… not necessarily the ‘right’ thing.

·         We try and use the acquisition of more ‘things’ to try and quash our fears.

·         We busy ourselves, doing more and more rather than reflect on what would bring real fulfilment and purpose

It would appear that transitioning ‘gracefully’ is not an instinctive approach for many of us – nor are there formal rituals or rites of passage to help us move elegantly through the midlife transition.  Transitions may not be easy but they all have a crucial purpose – they tell us it’s time to move on, to leave the old behind in order to prepare for something that we may not be able to even imagine….. just yet.

What if your transition WAS graceful? What might you do differently so that it WAS easy, effortless and smooth?

Mmmm…. I’ll leave you to think about that one.

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