Cultivate the Life You Want

Approaching middle age has taught me these three things, and I wish I knew them earlier.

February is a big birthday month around my house.  My husband inched closer to 40. My twin brother and I celebrated our 38th. My sisters birthday is today. All this aging and celebrating has me reflecting on the past year. I grew more grey hair and noticed that my wrinkles are getting deep and plentiful. And you know what? That’s awesome. Because I’ve made it this far and that’s a privilege.

Aside from the fleeting external appearances, I have especially noticed what is going on inside.  This internal change has me most intrigued and excited for the next chapter of my life; middle age. I’m at a point in my life where my career is solid, my kids are in school, I get a full night of sleep, I know who my people are, and my marriage is stronger than ever. But damn, getting to this point was hard.

This quote sums it up quite nicely:

Strength comes from the uninvited tests that bring us to our knees. The despair from those tests encourage us to rise up and face the fears that can  bring us to a better tomorrow. Those tests teach you to cultivate the life you want, even if it scares you.

Here’s a snapshot of what I learned, and what I hope for you.

Make the career change and find balance. I started a new job that took me in an unexpected and uncomfortable direction, but ended up learning much more than I ever anticipated. There is a better opportunity out there if you want it. You just have to be open to it.

Do something that scares the shit out of you. I looked my vulnerabilities in the face and said, “I am going to start the blog.” And darn it, if no one reads it, then at least my kids will have all of their mother’s recipes and some stories to go with. And the pride that comes from doing something you never thought you could do? Immeasurable.

Focus on your tribe. I no longer have the patience to put up with those who do not spread light in my life. Those now in my circle want to be there, and I’ve made sure I want them there, too. And my tribe is freaking awesome. Yours should be too. Pay attention to those who don’t clap when you succeed. Surround yourself with people who are real and throw away gossip and status.

To sum it up, I became free in the process of facing my fears. I freed myself, and I was the only one who had that power in my life. I thought facing the last couple years in my thirties would bring dread of the years gone by, but instead I’m feeling free, and so very, very grateful for the lessons I have learned along the way. Gosh darn it, I wish I would have had this wisdom years ago, but wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything.

What did approaching middle age teach you? Have you found more freedom and balance in your life? If you’re willing to share your wisdom, I’d love to hear it.

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