Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a morning person. I believe in one 5 o’clock per day and it does not come before noon. When the alarm goes off, I’m inevitably torn between the desire to hit the snooze and the compulsion to just toss the bloody thing across the room. I shun the light so completely that I’d make a great subject for the next pop vampire flick.
Yet, as difficult as it is for me to wake up in the morning, I live my life with eyes wide open fully awake to and aware of my possibilities, good and bad. I haven’t always lived this way. There were times when I felt like Linus wanting to carry a blanket with me everywhere in case the urge to hide became too overwhelming. But today is not that day.
Today I am sporting the 40’s woman mindset. No, I do not mean the Ozzie and Harriet, June Cleaver-esque attitude that ranges alternately from submissive to downright silly. I mean I have the mindset of a woman who has made it to her 40’s in spite of her 30’s and 20’s!
Over the years, many other women assured me that the 40’s were the best years of their lives. (Most of them were in their 40’s at the time, so they may have changed their minds since we spoke). The general consensus was that women spend their 20’s either getting to know themselves or worrying about pleasing others (especially the men in their lives). Their 30’s are then occupied with whichever of these tasks did not get covered in the 20’s.
The 40’s, however, are the time of freedom and awakening. Women of this age begin to really know who they are, why they’re here and what they want. No longer being pulled here and there by the whims of others, women in their 40’s have learned to be confident and in control of their own destinies.
I did not see how this could be so until I turned 40. The change didn’t happen overnight. But at roughly my 40th birthday, I began to wake up. I was conscious of myself and my world, and I was at home in both places. It was like a cosmic alarm went off in my head telling me, “Get up and get going! No one and nothing is limiting you but you.”
That was one alarm I didn’t have trouble answering!
Of course, all women find their fulfillment in different ways and on different schedules. Sometimes, the alarms that call you to grow and improve yourself are frightening. And sometimes, they can stifle the very change you want to make.
If you are a woman of any age who longs to face her life head on with no fear of failure or inadequacy, here are some suggestions for kick starting that process.
First of all, when the alarm goes off, get up! Don’t consider fear and worry as obstacles to the changes you want to make. Instead, see them as the alarms sounding loud and long in your ears calling you to finally give yourself the life you know you deserve. After all, you wouldn’t be afraid if you weren’t, on some level, considering making a change.
Fear calls you to take the change seriously and treat it with respect. Use it (or the desire to overcome it) as a motivator to keep your commitment in high gear.
Second, do not allow yourself to hit the snooze button. Many of us have mom’s voice ringing in our ears with this little gem. “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Now, she was probably trying to drop a not-so-subtle hint that your room desperately needed to be cleaned. But this one works for other desperate needs too.
Take the desperate need to find work that fulfills you or the desperate need to surround yourself with people who respect and love you for yourself. Never put off until tomorrow your search for these things that you think will make you happy.
You don’t have to complete the transformation all in one day. Just don’t settle for a life that doesn’t serve needs so basic to the human condition. Make one small step in the direction of the things you want every day. The small steps will get you there as surely at the giant leaps.
Finally, realize that some of us need a little help getting motivated. You may well be one of those folks who can’t function without a morning cup of coffee. No matter how good your intentions may be, you just won’t be as alert and focused without that jolt of caffeine.
Similarly, some of us are just unable to start the process of inner self-awakening on our own. We’ve spent so much of our lives on the needs and desires of others that we have never really thought about what we want or love. We just don’t know where or how to begin.
Others have yet to build up the reserve of self-confidence to propel them through the change process. Still others have experienced negative results when trying to change before and have no desire to be disappointed again.
Whatever you feel is holding you back, do not be afraid to ask for help. Go to a trusted friend or female relative who has been where you are. If need be, seek out the help of a professional.
Regardless of whether you have passed 40 or have it to look forward to, the freedom of the 40’s mindset can be yours at any age. Just open your eyes and take it!
Dr. Janice Staab is a philosophical counselor and life coach. For more information on her services or to schedule your free consultation, e-mail email@example.com. You can also check out her Web site at www.lifesignscoaching.com.