In defiance of the mid-life crisis..

13 Jan

I have recently read the blog of a friend (www.lucykaufman.wordpress.com) entitled “Grand Designs: Dreams, Folly and Mid-Life Crisis” where she talks about how we start to question ourselves in mid-life and look at what we have achieved so far (or not in the case of us pessimists!) and what changes we need (and are willing) to make to achieve our future goals or vision.  It got me to thinking about my own achievements and what , if any credence, I place upon them.  The thing is, I’m not naturally a ‘glass half full’ kinda gal.  I  over analyse everything, am a perfectionist  to an impossible standard only I envisage and doubt the sincerity of any praise I receive.   That is not to say I doubt the sincerity of the person, just their judgement in believing in me and their faith in my abilities.  “You think my face painting is good?  Did you not see the lack of symmetry in my butterfly?”  “You enjoyed my beef wellington?  But the beef was over-cooked and the pastry a little soggy.”    You get the gist..

You see, I’ve always described myself as a jack of all trades, master of none (and even that is not strictly true as I have no idea how to knit, negotiate the gardening seasons or do anything remotely DIY) but realise now even this self appointed title is merely a confirmation of my own self doubt.  For isn’t jack of all trades just a fancy way of saying “average”.  We can all sort of cook, sort of dance, sort of… well, anything we turn our hands to really.  So why do we strive to be a ‘master’ of anything? I have great admiration for those people who “live in the moment” and have even started to read a book on mindfulness – well, I’ve read the introduction (come on, it’s a start…).  But why does it matter if we are no better (or worse) at anything than the next person?  Why do we feel this need in mid-life to score ourselves on our achievements to date then applaud or berate ourselves accordingly? So what if our yorkshire puddings always sink in the middle or the novel we dreamt of writing stays locked in our imagination (where by the way, it receives great critical acclaim.)..

Jenni Murray  wrote an article for the Daily Mail where she asked the question “why are so many successful women crippled by a lack of self-belief?”  Like many women (and I am sure some men too), she finds it difficult to “blow her own trumpet” and congratulate herself on her abilities and achievements.  It is not the British way to promote and celebrate our skills and successes so instead we let doubt and fear mock us and keep us from getting “too big for our boots”. But isn’t it time we turned this around?  So long as the yorkshire puddings taste good who cares if they resemble a rubber dinghy?  Lets fill them with peas and save on plate space!  And what does it matter if that novel in our head never gets to print – it’s characters and story lines are no less real or colourful in our imagination where they remain exactly as we want them, unspoilt by an editor’s cut or a poor critique.

So, I have decided to break with the tradition of setting New Years Resolutions (those lovely little reminders of what we have so far failed to accomplish) and instead to look back on the previous year and congratulate myself on what I have achieved, no matter how small or irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.  So, here goes (I have to confess, there was a 30 minute break here whilst I tried to think of what to list thanks to the little devil called self-doubt who I had to do battle with first.  In order to justify my lack of doing anything in this time I did however  re-load the washing machine and tidy the lounge.  I’m sorry but this positivity thing is not natural to me remember! However, I have acknowledged it and will continue to work on it).   As I was saying…

I passed my first latin dance exam (Rhumba, Cha-Cha and Jive) for 9 years with Honors -that’s scores of above 90%, at the grand old ‘mid-life’ age of 43!

Despite my volatile relationship with anything digital or electrical, I set up my facepainting business, this blog and a business Facebook page (okay, it does have a few glitches but it works, albeit on a basic level).   I managed to do this without hurling the keyboard across the room which was my intention on many occasion (occasion/ocassion? Never could remember which way round that goes but to put two fingers up to my perfectionist self, I refuse to look up the correct spelling).

I have created and maintained a supportive and communicative relationship with my son’s school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) – something that eluded me through the whole of his primary school experience.

I re-connected with my creative self and allowed her to come out to play.  Through her I have realised that the only thing I need to master (and have begun to find) is an inner peace and contentment.   Everything I have done so far and everything I have yet to do will never be average so long as I can achieve that….

If you have the time, I would love to hear of your own achievements of 2013.  Whether personal, practical, life-changing or not, lets big ourselves up for 2014!

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