What are the things in midlife to give up?
Hey there beautiful!
I’ve been taking stock lately of where I am with my life and had an interesting discussion with a friend last week. We got onto the subject of things we did when we were younger that we would absolutely not do now.
One of the big ones was staying up all night.
Sleep is so precious to me now and I get so upset if someone or something wakes me up in the middle of the night.
My husband will stay up later than me usually and numerous times he has informed me that when he finally gets into bed and cuddles next to me, I have been known to make grumbling noises and say “Go away I’m sleeping.”
I have no knowledge of this and I tell him it’s probably because I’m warm and toasty and he’s just cuddling next to me for my warmth.
Not getting enough sleep really affects me the next day and I feel like my brain is in a fog all day long.
I absolutely love that there are no more Thursday night football games that I have to attend, then pick up children at 10:30 PM, and finally get into bed by 11:30 PM/midnight.
People always want to have events on Thursday nights because for some reason people think Fridays are busy for folks and I’m like no.
Have the event on a Friday so I have Saturday to recover and then by Sunday I’m human again. So yeah, I don’t stay up all night ever like I used to in my 20’s.
Our discussion about things we won’t do now compared to when we were younger really got me thinking.
What are some of the things that I have given up now that I’m in midlife?
Or, a better question that I asked myself was, what are the things that I SHOULD give up now in order to help me become even more of the person that I want to be proud of?
Here’s the 10 things I gave up in midlife:
1. Give up control of my children’s lives.
My children are both adults according to the definition that they are an adult when they turned 18 years of age.
I can no longer control what they wear.
I can’t control what they eat or put in or on their bodies.
I can’t control how they style their hair.
I can’t control if they call or text me.
I can’t control if they fail or succeed.
I can’t control if they work or are unemployed.
I can’t control if they are happy or sad.
And I can’t control how other people will behave towards them.
I can’t tell them what to do if I want to have a relationship with them. They can ask me my opinion and if it’s something about whether they should cut their hair or not I can give a simple answer. And they have every right to do what they want to do because it is their life to live.
But if it’s should they take a certain job and move across the country or break up with a girlfriend, those are the type of questions that I do not give my opinion. I want them to answer those questions truthfully for themselves.
Because if I do give my opinion and it’s wrong, guess who will get the blame if the situation going sideways: ME that’s who!
I will help them talk through all of their decisions so that they can make the decision themselves.
I am no longer in the driver’s seat and luckily for me, they still let me be in the backseat supporting them along the way.
2. Give up believing that I missed out on something while raising kids.
I can’t know for certain that I missed out on anything. All of my experiences have created the person that I am today.
I can’t go back and change anything and I can’t let the shouldas, wouldas, and couldas creep into my thoughts or else I will be frozen in place. I would be stuck in the past with no way of changing it. I would never venture out to do something new now.
I want to use the shouldas, wouldas, and couldas to propel me into moving forward. I helped to create two wonderful human beings that I am extremely proud of.
I’m really glad that I had kids when I was in my twenties because when I see women in their forties I am glad for them but I’m also super happy that’s not me.
3. Give up that I may never be the size I was in college.
I will never be the size I was in college because my body has changed in ways that can’t be changed back.
Having babies will do that to your body.
Time and gravity also help to change your body with stretch marks, wrinkles, age spots, extra skin, and drooping eyelids.
Now I’m not saying that I’m not going to fight off some of the effects with healthy eating, lots of exercise, good moisturizers with wrinkle fighting ingredients, and body shaping undergarments.
I just want my body to be the best it can be as I age. I really try not to step on a scale but allow my clothing to dictate how I’m doing.
4. Give up purchasing and wearing uncomfortable clothing and shoes.
When I was younger I would purchase a pair of heels because they were pretty and I loved the color EVEN IF they pinched my toes and by the end of the evening I couldn't feel those toes due to numbness.
Now through many years of pinching, squeezing in, pulling down, cutting into skin, twisting into place, and adjusting, I test everything before I say yes to the purchase.
What I mean is, if there is one thing wrong with a shirt or pants or a pair of shoes then I don’t buy it.
I don’t have time to worry about if the skirt is going to continuously ride up as I walk and I have to pull it down back into place.
I don’t want to sit with my arms in a vice grip of a shirt because it is way too tight around my bicep as I try and type on a computer.
My shoulders are broad and I can’t move my arms with a jacket that is way too tight that I’m almost doing an impression of Chris Farley and his fat guy in a little coat.
I will do a series of tests in a dressing room to ensure that what I am trying on and looking fantastic in the dressing room, is not a total and complete frustration when I wear it the next day while I’m grocery shopping and I’m constantly pulling the fabric around my arms in an attempt to break some stitches so it won’t be so tight around my upper arms.
Wearing shoes that don’t have some sort of cushion preferably made with memory foam will have to be seriously considered if they are worth it or not.
I don’t care how cute it is. If the clothing or shoes will make my think about it during the day or at an event, then I’m not buying them.
I have also finally figured out what colors I look good in and what colors I don’t which sometimes makes me think I have limited my wardrobe.
But maybe that’s a good thing.
5. Give up using the phrase “I’m sorry” when I have nothing to apologize for.
“I’m sorry” is a phrase that has been overused to the point that it has no true meaning.
I once said “I’m sorry” after I sneezed in front of a friend. My thoughts stopped for a second and I said to myself, “Why am I apologizing for sneezing? Did I do anything to physically hurt my friend? No. So why was I telling her I was sorry for sneezing?” I didn’t do anything wrong but yet that’s the phrase that I instantly said.
We have gotten too relaxed and careless, throwing out the “I’m sorry” for all situations where we are uncomfortable, awkward, or embarrassed.
I have made a definitive effort to use “I’m sorry” when those are the correct words to use, such as after an argument with my husband and I used words that have hurt him.
Or if I collided with a woman’s shopping cart because I was too busy looking up the nail polish color name on my phone and not paying attention to where I was going. (True story.)
I try instead to thank people for their patience waiting for me if I’m late or thank them for their kindness in letting me merge into their lane on the freeway.
Observe how often you throw out an “I’m sorry” and discern whether or not an apology is truly the right response.
6. Give up being afraid of voicing my opinion.
As young girls we are taught to be accommodating; to be likeable; to keep things to ourselves even if we want to scream out how much we disagree with a situation.
So I grew up to be the nice girl.
The one who is accommodating, and likeable while my teeth were slightly grinding together since if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
Ohhhh the frustration.
Well no more.
If you ask me what I think, I’m going to give you an honest answer. I’m not going to go out of my way to voice my opinion when you didn’t ask unless you are doing something that I view as completely and absolutely wrong.
But that’s what it is, my opinion.
You can accept it, leave it, squash it like a bug, or throw it away in the trash. I not only want to be heard, but to be listened to.
7. Give up the assumption that men will know what I want.
I wish I would have learned this one in my 20’s because I could’ve avoided many arguments, frustrations, and perceived let downs with my husband.
Women assume incorrectly that men should know what women want.
We imagine romantic, beautiful, and shimmering pictures of how we should be treated for our birthdays or any special occasion and then are highly disappointed and frustrated when our expectations are completely let down by the man in our life.
Men are NOT mind readers and thank goodness for that!
I edit, revise, and rearrange my thoughts before they come out of my mouth and I would hate it if my husband could read what I’m thinking sometimes.
I have learned that if I want to do something or have my husband buy me a certain gift for an occasion, I give him some ideas.
I even went so far and typed up a list that I have on my dream board in my bedroom entitled, “Things To Buy Mom” so at any time anyone in my family is struggling with an idea of what to buy me, there’s a list they can refer to.
On that same piece of paper is also a list entitled “Things To Do For Mom” which is a list of things that do not require any money such as, clean up the house, do the laundry, and give the dogs a bath.
And it’s not just ensuring that my husband knows what gifts to buy me. It’s also letting him know what I want out of life, where I see us going in the next five to ten years, or even as simple as what I want for dinner.
Help your husband to succeed and tell him what you want.
8. Give up that I don’t have to get it all done.
I wished I would have learned and accepted this one sooner too.
I don’t have to get it all done.
There is no one holding me accountable to get things done except for the hardest person to be accountable to: me.
I am an achiever which means if I don’t achieve and complete something every single day then I will feel lost, unsteady, and upset with myself that I didn’t do something constructive with the day. I will feel that I wasted valuable time and enormous guilt and negativity crashes in.
I set impossible daily or even weekly goals because I have incorrectly assumed that all of these things on my to do list MUST be completed or ELSE.
But the thing is, what is the “or else” that keeps me driving to accomplish my to do list so that everything will then be perfect?
So what if the laundry is still in the dryer waiting to be folded?
Is the world going to stop turning if I wear the same pair of pants to work on Friday that I wore on Monday because the laundry is still in the dryer?
Not getting everything done is something I work on every single day and I have gotten better at it. And I especially have learned that I don’t have to get it all done by myself.
Which leads me to….
9. Give up not asking for help.
What is it about women who won’t, can’t, and don’t ask for help?
I am so guilty of this crime that I would plead the fifth if directly asked.
We tell ourselves that no one can do it just like we can therefore we have to do it. No one could possibly get it just right and be as successful.
Is it because if we ask for help and they do a better job, then somehow we are a failure and are now jealous that they did it better? Is that what we fear?
And if we do ask someone for help then we immediately feel that we have to repay them in some way or else the universe will not be perfectly balanced. Our karma will be out of alignment because someone gave us more than we returned.
I’ve had ENOUGH!
I have to remember that when someone asks me for help, I am so happy to have been asked that I will do everything in my power to help them. I feel honored to have been asked and that the trust the person has given me will be valued.
I don’t want to listen to them thank me a hundred times and I especially don’t want to be told that they now owe me.
My response to them is you’re welcome and you don’t owe me anything, release any guilt that I know you’re feeling, and keep asking for my help because I’m glad to give it.
So I have to remember that if I feel honored when someone asks me for their help, wouldn't they feel the same way if I ask them for help too?
You're not a failure to ask for help.
It is a sign of strength to ask for help.
Once you ask, you know you feel better and DON’T YOU DARE feel one ounce of guilt or the sense that you will repay them if it’s the last thing you do!
10. Give up the belief that the best years are over.
It’s your turn.
It’s your turn to be selfish.
It’s your turn to take baby steps or even giant leaps to become who you want to be.
It’s your turn to say yes to what you want or even say no and mean it, to things that you don’t want to do.
Take the time to explain to those who love you what you want to do so they can support you along the way. If they don’t support you, then find those who will.
Get rid of any guilt over the past with the thinking that you missed out.
You have more knowledge and experience now that will propel you into something new and exciting.
Will there be fear? Yes.
Will there be uneasiness? Yes.
Will there be uncertainty? Yes.
But there will also be courage, motivation, excitement, and the unstoppable belief that you are ready to find out what’s next.
Prove to the unbelievers what you know to be true and surpass their expectations, especially beating back the loudest unbeliever, you.
I know you can do it.
What are the things that YOU want to give up in midlife?
I hope that you come up with your own list of things to give up in midlife and then stick to them. Add others as they come up and discard the ones after you have made them a permanent part of your life.
If you have other things to give up in midlife I would love to know what they are.
Send me an email so I know what you think. I promise to respond.
I’ll talk to you later Beautiful!