I think each and every one of us has moments of reflection in which they contemplate the choices they made in life and the results of those sometimes life changing decisions.
The other day I was reading online Global News BC and spotted the headline Women Reveal What They’d Do Differently if They Were Young Again.
Naturally, the headline intrigued me and I was drawn into the piece to see what my contemporaries had to say for themselves.
The underlying question of the story was “What advice would you give your younger self.”
From those numerous long talks I have had with myself, I knew what my answers would be, but I was curious to see how that aligned with women just like me; women who are, shall we say, a little long in the tooth and also long in the accompanying wisdom (if we are lucky enough to ever get introspective and honest enough with ourselves to open that door).
According to the story, nearly half the women surveyed that they “admitted they felt moderately or extremely stressed”, while 40 per cent “confessed to being close to a burn out” and sadly, 62 per cent “felt their lack of me time was holding them back.”
So, there it was in black and white, the undeniable fact that many of us let life pass us by while we are dancing as fast as we can for other people. You know what’s ironic about that? If those statistics are true, many of those other people were/are likely dancing at break neck speed for us!
Think about that for a moment.
As we age, all of us, men and women alike take our temperature, so to speak. We take inventory. That is how we grow.
If we are brutally honest with ourselves then much good can come out of that inward reckoning. Contrary to the popular saying, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Imagine that!
In case you didn’t read the article, I will quote a few words of advice posted on Global’s FB page that resonated with me.
“Don’t listen to what ‘society’ deems beautiful. Be your own beauty regardless of what others think.” – Victoria Clark.
“I would have slowed down and enjoyed my little ones. Read more stories, made more crafts, play more. They grow up too fast.” – Shannon Bell McFadden.
“I have made so many poor choices. If I could talk to my younger self, I would tell me to stop being so hard on myself”. – Jennefit Edmunds.
Then there was this local person who weighed in with her thoughts.
“Breathe. Live. Feel. Experience. Be courageous, but above all listen to the beautiful woman you are. Believe in yourself even when others don’t.” – Karen Haviland.
I’ll tell you, it’s easy to throw your ideas into the pot and hope it adds to the soup. Anyone can do it.
The trick is to not only do it, but to live it, believe it and pass it on.
If we keep our past experiences, including the most embarrassing and the most heartbreaking, to ourselves, we have done nothing as a person, or in my case, as a woman, to try to soften your sometimes heavy touch on the world and those in it really is a shame.
It doesn’t just hurt those it would benefit, but it hurts the one who it could benefit the most – you.
Honesty and owning your actions aren’t always easy. In fact, they are sometimes downright painful, but once one puts on that cold cape of honesty it magically transforms into the warm cape of peace and tranquility.
In the winter of our life having such a mantle of warmth around is both comforting and affirming.