Today is my 34th birthday. Happy Birthday to me!
A few years ago, that would have been so depressing. I mean I’ve always loved my birthday – what’s not to love about presents and cake! However, getting older was not something that excited me. As I approached my thirties, the dread of getting older increased year after year, as did my fears for the future.
Looking back I can see that my fears were all based on time running out and I was focused on all of the things I may not get to achieve.
The year I turned 29 I took voluntary redundancy and embarked on an exciting journey of self employment which actually was more like a journey of self discovery.
In the months that followed I was involved in a number of freelance opportunities and started delving deeper into the world of personal development so when I turned 30 the following year I felt good. This feeling however did not last long. My family went through some major challenges and I personally started to question my life. My purpose, my role and my future.
The clock is ticking…
As you know, as a woman, when you start to approach your mid-twenties or maybe your early thirties, the question of whether or not you want to have children becomes a recurring one. I’ve always known I wanted to be a mother and have children of my own. I have always been maternal and loved being around children of all ages so it was a given that I would have children, and hopefully quite a few.
“Motherhood is the only thing in my life that I’ve really known for sure is something I wanted to do.” ~ Cynthia Nixon
I was in a serious relationship from my late teens until my early twenties and we had discussed children and agreed that we would have them. That relationship ended and after a long stay at “heartbreak hotel”, I emerged with my original optimism and passion for life. I’m a believer in everything happening for a reason, so I accepted that the relationship wasn’t meant to be and I was positive that I would meet someone else and eventually we’d start a family.
Not long after turning 30, panic started to set in. I started seeing articles about women’s chances of having children reducing drastically after 30, people would say how much harder it was to be an older mum and I started becoming very aware of the women I knew who were in their late thirties and early forties who had not had children.
I felt sick with fear. My thoughts were consumed with questions such as:
What if I never meet anyone? What if I can never have children? Should I consider adoption? Should I consider freezing my eggs?
Plus a million and one other questions.
The Passion Test
After a while, these thoughts became internalised and I was no longer consciously aware of them. I convinced myself that it wasn’t important and that “what will be will be”. However it turns out that really wasn’t true.
A year ago I attended a workshop and we were asked to take part in activities that make up what was called a Passion Test.
The years since my redundancy have been filled with a multitude of personal development workshops, books and training programmes. Many of them have been life changing for me. The Passion Test workshop was one of these.
Using the test we came up with 10 things that were most important to us. Then, using a technique the facilitator took us through, we identified our top 5.
I’ve always known that financial freedom was really important to me so I assumed that would be at least in my top 3. However I was surprised to find that it wasn’t.
That wasn’t the biggest surprise or what made the workshop life changing. Two things I put down were being in a loving relationship and being a mother. As I had been single for a while, I had convinced myself that I would be fine being a single mother if it was the only option I had and would consider adoption or egg freezing if it meant I could be a mother.
Love is the foundation
What emerged from the activity was that actually it is more important for me to build the foundations of motherhood from a loving relationship. I know that not all relationships work out, however it is important for me to be able to tell my children that they were wanted by both parents and that we loved each other when we conceived them.
This revelation also helped me to see that actually I have already spent most of my life in a motherly role and that everything I want to offer a child, I have been sharing with many children my whole life and that I have been privileged to touch the lives of many children.
“Life is all about timing… the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable… attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It’s all about timing.” ~ Stacey Charter
Suddenly the desperation to have children and fear that I may never have my own reduced significantly and gave me a new sense of freedom. I could focus on living my life to the fullest and really becoming the best person I can be and start living my life through possibility rather than through fear. Now I totally believe that having children of my own is possible and will happen, and I’m no longer stressing about it.
You see what you focus on
It’s funny because almost immediately after the workshop, I began to see articles about women successfully having children well into their forties and meeting women in their late thirties and early forties that had recently had children.
The fear made me tunnel visioned and I could only see examples in the world of what I was scared of, which simply reinforced my fear.
There is a lot to be said for positive thinking, however it is more than just “pretending” things are OK or that you are fine with a situation. It involves really looking at the facts and looking at what your values are. Values truly are your internal “Sat Nav” and it is vital that you identify your own.
Without the fear of whether or not I will have children occupying my every thought, I now look at getting older completely differently. I am really excited by it. I think about people in their seventies and eighties and think about how many different lives they have lived and all the things they have seen and experienced.
In our twenties, we often assume that this is what our lives will always be like. I now really get the saying that life is a journey and there are so many adventures to be had, and so many lives we will live. Who I am today is completely different to the person I was at 24 and completely different to the person I will be at 44!
“The key to change… is to let go of fear.”~ Rosanne Cash
The fear of getting older is exactly that, a FEAR, and a fear driven life is a not a life lived to it’s full potential.
So, I’ll forgive you for not sending me a pressie and as I no longer drink alcohol, I won’t invite you to have a drink for me.
What I will invite you to do however is to reflect on the areas of your life where fear is holding you back and start to look for the possibilities available to you RIGHT NOW.
Apologies if this is news to you, but you’re not getting any younger, so what is it you really want and what can you do about it TODAY?
Despite saying that people in their seventies and eighties live so many lives, there is no guarantee you have that many years. All you have is the present moment, so why not live it to the max?!
Over to You
What are you fears about getting older stopping you from doing?
What myths do you tell yourself about getting older?
Until next time,
Be fearless, be authentic, be unapologetic!
The Career Supernova
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