Today, I am 55. That’s kind of a big number isn’t it? I mean, not like 85 big but a long way away from 25!
If you had told 25-year-old me that at the age of 55 I would be writing a blog post about how I’m living my best life, she would have laughed her head off. Once you took the time to explain what a blog post is and how the whole internet thing works (remember those pre-internet days?). That oh-so-young version of me would have been horrified at the idea of being 55 one day, she would have seen it as practically in the grave!
What does 55 feel like? Pretty damn good actually!
My 20’s were filled with insecurity, trying to find my way and figure out who I was. Taking baby steps into adulthood, moving 8,000 miles from my family, my childhood and all that I knew. Starting a whole new life.
My 30’s were all about children – the loss of two pregnancies, the birth of two babies, freaking out over trying to keep toddlers from needing too many visits to A&E and lack of sleep. Basically my 30’s were about being permanently exhausted. And the heart-breaking loss of my Grandmother when I was three months pregnant with my eldest. The knowledge that this amazing woman who raised me, who shaped me, would never get to meet my children almost broke me.
My 40’s sucked. They SUCKED. Two weeks into 40 I lost my mother who I had an intensely complicated relationship with. Over the next five years, I lost a friend I loved dearly to cancer (the 5th friend I lost to that awful disease), I lost a job I loved when the office got shut down, my marriage blew up and I broke my back.
Above all else, I didn’t know who I was any more. I was lost. I was so unhappy but I couldn’t see a way forward. And then I came across Oprah’s talk with Michael Beckwith on her Super Soul podcast. His explanation of periods of change we go through as “the dark night of the soul” resonated deeply with me. The idea that we get stuck when we go through hard times, no longer who we were but not yet who we’re becoming really hit home.
When I think about my 40’s, I feel I survived them, not lived them. I’m not big on celebrating my birthday but for the first time ever I organised a dinner with my closest friends when I turned 49. It was a celebration that it was my last birthday in my 40’s.
Don’t get me wrong, there were good times in all of those decades. Great times.
Life-affirming times. Watching my children grow. Deepening friendships that I know will last me a lifetime. Music, there was always music – festivals, clubs, gigs, dancing. Travel. Theatre. Dinner parties filled with laughter late into the night. Jobs I loved, amazing jobs that gave me opportunities my 25-year-old self could only have dreamt of. Co-workers that are in my life still as some of my closest friends. Finding new things I love (hello sailing!).
I did a tremendous amount of work on myself in my 40’s so I could understand how my childhood had affected the choices I made as an adult. I’m pretty sure there was an undiagnosed period of depression thrown in for good value – too much change, too much grief, too much pain in such a short period of time.
Challenges, hard times, times of intense change are when we grow the most. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot of personal development happening when we’re happy!
My 50’s feel like my renaissance years. I’ve picked apart and healed the damage caused by a narcissistic mother who left heartbreak and chaos wherever she went. I’ve learned that I can enjoy peace and that I don’t need drama in my life to feel safe. I found my voice at long last and discovered that I can have a disagreement without feeling that it is a personal attack on me. I can recognise the roots of the stubborn independence I have been so proud of and recognise the damage it has caused in some of my relationships.
I feel like I have finally found my path professionally. I love my new business, I love helping women build amazing, successful businesses and ensure that they are as fulfilled in their personal lives. And with RTT, helping people heal from childhood trauma has been humbling to say the least; I feel truly blessed to help shorten their path to emotional freedom.
Above all else, I feel more settled in myself, genuinely comfortable in my own skin (crow’s feet and all). I am content in my day-to-day world, I am happy. I have lost too many friends to not be thankful to still be here, to not recognise that ageing is a gift. I feel grateful every day of my life for so many things – my gorgeous children, my health, the love I have in my life, living in a city that never fails to amaze me.
Grateful for all the choices that have gotten me to where I am, for all the challenges that have made me who I am. And for my peace of mind. That one has been a long time coming.
I believe we all get to where we’re supposed to be sooner or later. Some of us take a bit longer getting there than others. And the destination is all the sweeter for the bumpy detours we take along the way.
Today, I would tell 25-year-old me there’s nothing wrong with 55. I’d tell her that our life is nowhere near being over, there’s so much to do, to see, to achieve. So much more love to give, laughter to enjoy, room to grow. More music, more theatre, more travel. That our thirst for life is probably insanely stronger at 55 than at 25. That 55 is nothing to be scared of.
Today, I am 55. And that's more than ok, it's bloody fabulous!