In the 70’s I used to accompany my mum to bingo in Holy Child primary school where I eavesdropped and absorbed as only a young child can the fascinating stories of women over 40 and how during those formidable years they really felt that they had grown comfortably into their own skin. Responsibilities became less, proving oneself became redundant and the freedom that accompanied preconceived losses more than compensated.
On New Year’s Day I turn 50. As I reflect on my 40’s I realise that the lesson I learned throughout that decade was to quit graciously. I now understand some of the topical stories those wonderful fun women exchanged with much satire. And if the stories they told about their 40’s are anything as good as the ones about their 50’s well I already feel quite nifty 🙂
2006 – I quit managing from the wings and took a lead business role. It was the cracking of my shell and the makings of a new Mel.
2007 – I quit feeling inept. We all get thrown into situations where we either sink, float or swim with a mottled crew. Just because people talk the talk about quantified does not mean they are qualified, respect that.
2008 – I quit standing in two worlds. I lost my job, heart, trust and it rattled my faith. In doing so I found where I belonged. I found a home.
2009 – I quit working for others. I took a year out traveled to foreign shores, gained a few educational certs and delivered a few of my own training courses while discovering a lot about living my dream.
2010 – I quit the employee mindset. I decided eventually I would like to have my own business and employ others. I joined my local Kerry Business Women’s Network and I began carving a new path in my mental woods.
2011 – I quit being scared. I firmly realised at 45 I had nothing to prove. Being the eldest daughter of 7 siblings, 5 brothers and 1 sister prepares you for life in ways people could never anticipate. Married since I was 18, having over 27 years parenting experience behind me, 5 wonderful kids, a grandson and the sad experience that year of caring, nursing and watching my mum die of brain cancer all the while maintaining my day job for financial security will always be my life’s major accomplishment.
2012 – I quit being soo nice and in doing so I stood up for “me” more. Having the tenacious ability to see and appreciate situations from other’s perspectives is both a strength and a weakness but when one creates the habit of minimising one’s own needs, wants and desires due to others carelessness and selfishness a change of attitude has to be called forth.
2013 – I quit keeping the peace. I grew up in a loving respectful home. Confrontation was not a natural occurrence. I learned that occasionally a good auld argument can clear the air, clean the energy and in some cases the making up appears to be worth it.
2014 – I quit misunderstanding quietness. I processed a lot of emotional baggage on many levels in self imposed solitude. I read books, I lived at the foot of a mountain for a few months and I found something inside so strong that I still can’t explain it.
2015 – I quit an illusion. To varying degrees and for many legitimate reasons and responsibilities we each lead illusionary lives. When the time is right for each individual an illusion will cease to exist when it no longer resonates with a core value. Mine has always been “To Thine Own Self Be True”.
During that decade I rarely quit smiling and I never quit my faithful driving force in believing that the best is yet to come.
The silence revealed the flaws, the not doing uncovered the gaps and the ignoring determined my direction. I owe part of my optimism in life to the childhood influences of talkative women in a bingo hall on a Friday night in Andytown. Whoever would have known that. Well played “BINGO” ladies.