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Archive of ‘On the other side of forty’ category

Are you worth it?

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“Make your self a priority once in a while. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary”

Do you want AND believe you deserve time away from your family, just to focus on your own needs and wants?

If I were to be honest with you, I would say that in the past, I definitely wanted to have some quality time to myself every now and then,  but I didn’t truly believe I deserved it. I think I felt that I should be happy and content with all that I had in my life (and believe me I am grateful for the all the blessings I have) and I remember feeling guilty for even thinking to myself that wasn’t enough, and feeling I would be seen as a ‘bad mum’ if I even acknowledged that I wanted time away from my family life sometimes to just be ‘me’.

But over the last few years, I have made many changes to my life, and acknowledging my own wants and desires (along with ditching the mummy guilt) has been high on the priority list!

When I look back on the past year, I am proud of myself for believing I was worth it, and saying a wholehearted ‘Yes’ to:

  • Leaving my children behind and travelling to Greece with my husband for 2 weeks
  • Spending a full day focussed on my self care and creative wellbeing at a local workshop
  • Enjoying a relaxing week in Bali with my girlfriends for our annual getaway mumcation
  • Attending two local inspired networking days with a group of amazing speakers and connecting with other inspiring entrepreneurs

‘Yeah, well that’s all well and good for you’, you may say. ‘You’re obviously lucky enough to have the money and support around you to allow you to do these things’.

To which, my answer would be, ‘well, kind of’.

Yes, the trip to Greece was a wonderful one off opportunity, but I really had to work on myself to leave the guilt behind and say yes to going, and it took a lot of logistical planning to make it happen.

I really ummed and ahhed about spending the money on myself on a self care day, but then I told myself you need this, and so I prioritised it and made it happen.

I realised that I wanted the in person connection with other life coaches to uplift and inspire me, so when the Sydney day was announced, I told my husband I wanted to go, and I made it happen.

I knew that a week in Bali with my friends would be restorative after a busy year working on my business, so although there was a massive amount of planning, you guessed it, I made it happen.

I recognised that one of the downsides of working from home, was a lack of in person connection with other entrepreneurs, so when I read about the Inspired Networking days, I bought my ticket, and made it happen (even when my son smashed a window on the morning of one of the events: I took a deep breath, quickly boarded it up, took the kids to school and off I went, better late than not at all).

With any of these events or opportunities, I could have easily said no:  that it costs too much money, that I don’t know who could look after my kids, that my life is busy enough without trying to plan and organise the logistics of attending any of these events.

But what I have grown to realise on the other side of forty, is that I have a choice. I can choose to automatically say no to the things that are hard, or I can choose to see if there is a way to manage it if it is something that I truly want to do. I can choose to prioritise spending my money on things that light me up, and I can stop spending it on things that aren’t as important to me (farewell takeaway coffees and impulse clothes shopping!) I can also choose to ask my friends and family for help with my kids (and be ok with whatever the answer is).

I can also choose to remind my husband and family, that I am a happier more centred person, when on occasion I prioritise myself and recognise that I am worth it.

Now, I completely understand that a 2 week trip to the Greek Islands isn’t on most of our radars very often, (which is a damn shame really!) and there have been plenty of events that I would have loved to attend in the past year but haven’t been able to. However, maybe a self care day or a weekend retreat is possible for you. Maybe you just need to acknowledge what you want and need to yourself, and then ask your loved ones for help and see if you could make it happen.

Indeed, you might forget about the guilt, work out the cost, and really value the benefits of giving time and space to yourself, because you know what… I believe you are worth it.

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It is time to love your body

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Oh yes, once again it is my favourite time of the year. When all the magazines pop the Kardashian’s away for a couple of weeks and excitedly reveal their best celebrity bikini body makeover stories for 2016 (actually forget that,  there is probably a Kardashian in there somewhere!)

Yes, after a few weeks of eating cheese, Christmas pudding, pavlova, and more cheese, I can’t wait to scan the supermarket shelves and indulge in a bit of body self loathing as taut bikini bodied celebrities tell me how I too can be happy and successful, if only I was ‘half my size!’ Hmmm, if I was actually half my size, then I would spend my Summer in hospital, but don’t let that get in the way of a good story!

Well, I am sorry ‘Woman’s Who New Weekly Idea Day Magazine’ I won’t be joining in your ‘fun’ and berating myself for not looking like Elle MacPherson, I’ll be too busy actually enjoying my life.  Because guess what? She’s got her genes (tall, long limbed, lean and tanned) and I’ve got mine (tallish, medium limbed, pear shaped and white as a lily). She makes her dietary choices and I make mine (mine would probably involve more carbs I’d hazard a guess). She has her exercise routine and I have mine (or I will do when I actually get moving for the year).  I’m also reasonably sure that even if I follow Elle’s 4 week diet plan that I saw on a recent magazine cover, I will still look a lot like me (albeit a little more miserable from depriving myself of pasta).

My body is that of a woman in her mid forties who has given birth to three children and god damn I am proud of it. Here are but a few reasons why:

  • I can still wrestle and pin down my 13 year old son to land a kiss on him (although this is getting admittedly harder)
  • I can still jump and bounce on a trampoline with my daughters (providing I have been to the toilet first)
  • I can still dance the night away like I am 20 (although unfortunately I can no longer ‘drop it like it’s hot’)
  • I can still comfortably walk, hike, jump, and even run short distances if need be (but not skip: I never have been able to skip for some reason)

In other words, my body works pretty darn well: I certainly have a few aches and pains brought on with middle age, but on the whole what a blessing this body of mine that gives me life is.

So why would I care if my tummy isn’t perfectly flat, my thighs have a bit of jiggle, and my bum is of the biggish variety: I am ok with that. My husband is ok with that. My kids are ok with that. I’m pretty sure my friends are ok with that. I’m guessing what they wouldn’t be happy with is a wife, mum, and friend who hated the way she looked, who sat on the sidelines of life because she cared what others might think of her. Who won’t ever get in her bathers in case someone sees those jiggly white thighs of hers. Fuck that for a joke. Life is for living, for having fun, for diving into the ocean…and for eating cheese.

Except, for one thing. The media tells me I shouldn’t be ok with that. Instagram tells me I should be thinner to feel good, people on Facebook fat shame normal sized women all the time, and those god damn magazines tell me that the celebrity bikini lifestyle is what I crave,

But I know one thing they don’t know: I know myself. I am Melissa, I am on the other side of forty and I choose not to give a shit what anyone I don’t love thinks about me.

So here I am at the beginning of 2016, I’ve got my mum bathers on and I’m whooping and dive bombing into my swimming pool with my kids. You may not see a photo of it on Instagram: but that’s ok, I’m having too much fun to get my phone out anyway!

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P.S. When I first saw this photo of me from my holiday to Greece (which is now one of my favourites of myself) my immediate thought was how my billowing top made me look so huge. Is this the first thing you noticed? I’m guessing you saw the beautiful scenery and a woman who is loving her life. If I had listened to that little voice, this photo would have never seen the light of day. Remember we always have a choice in whether to listen to those negative stories we tell ourselves, x

 

 

9 ways to more Joy on the other side of forty

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If you follow me on Facebook or have read my Work With Me page, you would know that I am a big advocate for helping women reconnect with their purpose, passion, and joy for life.

But I don’t just want to talk the talk, I want to help you walk the walk (or even strut the strut), so I have created a 3 part blog series to show you actionable ways to rediscover the joy, the passion, and the purpose that I know is lurking deep within you, ready to break out into the world on the other side of forty (sounds good hey!).

The first part of this is to remember and discover the things that bring you joy in life, so without further ado here are 9 ways to more joy on the other side of forty*

A day without laughter is a day wasted ~ Charlie Chaplin

If you have already signed up for my tip sheet in the green box above, then you already know that consciously inviting fun into your day to day life is a guaranteed way to feel happier. Making time in our busy lives to laugh, play, and having fun is such an important part of living a joyful life.

Creativity is intelligence having fun ~ Albert Einstein

Getting in touch with your creative side doesn’t have to difficult. The trick is to think of  something you used to enjoy in the past (aka before kids), carve out some time, and simply give it a go. This could be as easy as buying a colouring book, playing an instrument, or booking in for a dance class. When you are immersed in a creative pursuit, you enter a state of flow, which in turn leads to increased joy: simple really, with the added bonus that you can say you are following the advice of Einstein!
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy ~ Nhất Hạnh

Smile. Do it right now (please!) How do you feel after a big cheesy grin? A bit happier I’ll guess (unless your currently sitting on a train: then you may feel like a bit of a goose!) Making a conscious effort to change your mindset and just act happy, can actually make you feel happy: how good is that!

To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with ~ Mark Twain

Now I am not saying that you can’t feel joy whilst alone (my spontaneous solo lounge room dancefests are proof of that!) However, there is no doubt that feeling connected, whether to your partner, your children, family or friends can lead to increased feelings of joy.  Take time to connect (in real life) with some of your favourite peeps and grab some of that full value joy today!

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings ~ William Arthur Ward

We all know that feeling grateful for what you have is important, but it is also one of the most significant ways of increasing joy. People who regularly write in a Gratitude Journal, tend to be more positive, enthusiastic, and feel better about their life as a whole. So visit your favourite stationary store, stock up and give this a go: gratitude is the attitude!

The groundwork of all happiness is good health ~ Leigh Hunt

It is no surprise that good health is related to joy. Many studies have shown the benefits of regular exercise as a mood elevator, and a healthy whole food diet makes you feel better inside and out. Get off the computer, and out into the sunshine and just start walking. Add in plenty of quality rest time, and you have laid down the groundwork for joy like a boss.

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love ~ Lao Tzu

Being kind is one of those things that takes very little effort for the reward it brings. Studies have shown that random acts of kindness, such as paying for a strangers coffee, or helping someone in need, elevate your own mood as well. Even just a smile as you walk past someone in the street, can brighten both your days: too easy!

Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes ~ Nhat Hanh

You can increase joy by consciously paying attention to little moments of pleasure through out your day. If you’re listening to a favourite song, close your eyes and really pay attention, likewise enjoying your favourite meal (well, maybe open your eyes for that one!) Mindfulness is really a state of consciously enjoying the here and now, so put away that smart phone camera (you’ll never look at the photos anyway) and just enjoy the moment.

Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there ~ Rumi

inside-out-drawingIt is not always easy to do these things, and change takes time. But trust me, if you continue to look for ways to bring more joy into your life, then more joy is sure to find you!

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*Jumping in the air and doing a backbend in a bikini with a friend is entirely optional to finding joy, you will likely be pleased to note!

What brings you joy in life? Let me know in the comments below and spread the love!

On the other side of forty…I take myself on a date

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‘The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself’

While I love (and absolutely need) time by myself to recharge and practice self care, I am also a classic extrovert in that I gain energy and inspiration from being around other people.

One of the benefits of being on the other side of forty is that I know what works for me and what doesn’t: Exercise? I may have all the best intentions in the world to walk by myself, but it is only when I have a friend to walk and chat with that I actually do it. And while it may be some peoples idea of hell, I love to shake my groove thing with a bunch of other women in a fun Zumba class.

If you are my friend (and I expect you to be reading this if you are!) then you know I am the one who enjoys organising social activities such as book club, movie nights, and drinks with the girls. Basically I like having uplifting people around me, it makes me feel happy, vibrant, and connected (and I certainly like feeling that way).

But one of the downsides of being on the other side of forty, is that sometimes I get a little too stuck in my comfort zone, and can revert to what is easy and doesn’t challenge me. Hence it was that I recently realised I NEVER go out by myself.*

Now of course I go grocery shopping (or we would starve) and I am happy to wander around my local shopping mall for a couple of hours, (or I would have no clothes) BUT I do not and have never taken myself out for lunch, or gone and seen a movie I wanted to but no one else was interested in. Why is this? I think in the past I assumed I would feel judged as a ‘Scott Nomates’ if I engaged in solitary activities, which of course sounds as daft as it is, even as I type those words.

So when the opportunity arose for me to have a solitary weekend in Sydney recently, I took up the challenge to take myself on a date for the day and this is what I discovered (apart from the fact that I am not cheap, lol!)

  • Sitting having breakfast by myself in a cafe in The Rocks after a big night out dancing with some lovely life coaches nearly half my age, meant I could engage in two of my favourite pastimes: 1. making up scenarios in my head for all the people wandering around the markets in front of me; and 2. eating my bodyweight in bacon & eggs to get over my sore head and feet following the reality that I am nearly double the age of the lovely life coaches I was out with last night!
  • Sightseeing by yourself (particularly without kids) is enjoyable and E.A.S.Y. No playgrounds, no whining, no ice cream bribes: I spontaneously decided to wander over to the Sydney Opera House to marvel at its glorious architecture, and contemplated buying myself a ticket to the opera (although the eye watering price made me spontaneously leave). But I liked the fact that if I had wanted to, I could have, there was no one to answer to but me!
  • After a good mosey around the shops, including the magnificent QV Building, it was getting late, and an early dinner was on my horizon. This was my big test, yet I’m happy to say I passed with flying colours (although it certainly helps to have a phone to play with!) Even better, I ordered exactly what I felt like and never normally eat (spaghetti carbonara) and ate it with gusto and without guilt.
  • For the final leg of my date, I retreated back to my room for some quality alone time (a face mask, a chocolate bar, a cup of tea, and a good book). Now if that’s not the ideal way to finish off a perfect date, then you have clearly been married for a lot less years than me!

But in all seriousness, I came away from my weekend away by myself feeling happy, content, confident, and filled with gratitude for the opportunity to have that precious time to spend getting to know myself a little better. Next on my list is a trip to the movies: I’d invite you, but I think I have a date with a choc top instead!

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modernfam*No, I am not talking about getting all dressed up and sitting in a seedy bar waiting for Clive Bixby to come and hit on me…(although I do think that would be hilarious, I love that episode of Modern Family so much!)

 

 

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