[Programming note: my apologies for the later-than-usual posting. Wifi at our transitional housing is not so great. I’ve pieced things together only to get kicked out of the system and lose all my work- fun times! In any case, better late than never.]
One of the great things I am finding about growing older is that I know more about who I am and who I’m not. For instance, I’m an introvert who likes to talk to people (but only about deep stuff). Even at concerts, which I love, I am an introvert- I’m just hanging with myself and whoever’s with me and not talking to anybody else.
I, like many other women I talk to, am also learning what bullshit I will put up with, and what bullshit I will label and walk away from. This is a great gift of mid-life- clarity. I’m not the sort of person who will angrily call things out, but I’m definitely feeling a lot more like this than I ever have before.
I’m also learning the difference between what is my personality, and what is pieces of me that need awareness, support, and time. And, honestly? Figuring out how my personality works -and how it’s different from what we consider ‘acceptable’ or ‘perfect’ in women- has given me a lot of self-acceptance.
Too, I’m discovering what I find beautiful now and what makes me happy. I’m finding greater body acceptance as I age, which is an unexpected gift.
This kind of (re)discovery of self is something I think is necessary at mid-life. Really taking some time to see who we are now (and who we aren’t). Mid-life is the point where some of the outer crust we developed in our earlier years begins to break open- even needs to break open. And venturing into some “who am I? what do I like?” territory is a great way to do that.
One tool I use to document some of this self discovery is a board of what I find beautiful. What I find beautiful in this stage of my life is different than in times past, and it gives me a way to see where I am now and compare it to where I have come from.
I feel kind of funny admitting it, but I keep a Pinterest board (I know, I know…Pinterest. But it’s easy, you know?) simply titled ‘beautiful.’ And when I see something that really hits me, I pin it on the board. It’s simply a visual collection of what sings to my soul. (And I can go look at it when I’m feeling down or need some connection to myself.)
It’s a simple way to see where I am now.
If you want to play with this a bit, you’ll need one thing more if you really want to make the best of this self-discovery adventure: deep honesty.
There are places inside each woman where she keeps secret pieces of herself. The place where the thing you wanted to say but didn’t lives. The place where something strikes you- a painting, a dress, the way someone moves- and you keep it to yourself. The place you store your anger during the holidays. The secret dream you have for your hair or that necklace you want like crazy- that place. It’s a place of deep honesty and it’s very important to self-discovery. It’s also a place that you can give free reign to on a Pinterest board – nobody is going to see it but you.
My dear friend, C, loves all things bugs. She’s very public about it, is a beekeeper, and takes great joy in finding many-legged wiggly things in her house and garden. But it’s her honesty about finding bugs beautiful that keeps her connected to herself and aware of who she is and who she isn’t.
If you want to know more about yourself at mid-life, keep a secret spot for collecting beauty. It’s not only enjoyable, in and of itself, it’s also a receptacle of clarity and inspiration for those days when things aren’t going so well. Let your mid-life self inspire and surprise you.