A curse/blessing of middle-age is knowing that we can’t hide from ourselves. Our maturing bodies and brains compel us to acknowledge our changingness. Fortunately, a benefit of this changingness is wisdom. Wisdom is most useful when it is shared. Thus, I share with you the wisdom my high school BFF and I exchanged yesterday.
One of the things we discussed was how we are living our middle-aged adolescence at 50. Not the kind of adolescence filled with alcohol binging and sexual experimentation but rather an angsty rediscovering/finally discovering who we are and what we want to be when we grow up. Only now, what we want to be matters more because it must not only benefit us individually, it must also contribute to the overall good of our family/communities/world/universe.
We talked about being more present and enjoying all of the moments, even when they are uncomfortable and scary. Part of being more present includes a readiness for things we know will happen rather than an anxiousness of trying to figure out how we will stop them when they do happen. It reminded me of my late twenties and early thirties when I used to be a professional worrier. I’d worry about everything and my anxiety was high. 20-25 years ago, society didn’t really talk about anxiety like we do today. It was something that was there but we dealt with it silently.
During that period of time I was reading a lot of self-help books (it’s still my hobby today), and one stood out above the rest - How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. This gem helped me get my anxiety under control and changed my life. It contains many strategies for eliminating worry but the only one I remember is the one that worked best for me. It is to think about the worst-case scenario of a situation, decide how you will handle it if it happens, then let it go because you are already prepared if it does happen. 99% of the time, the worst case doesn’t happen. This freed up a lot of unnecessary stress in my life because I was already mentally prepared for whatever might happen.
What wisdom have you gained recently? What wisdom can you share? With whom will you share it? Consider these questions, then take action.
P.S. Remember that sharing wisdom is different than offering unsolicited advice.
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