Mid-life seems to be all about setting and sustaining radical boundaries. It's a quest to make up for lost time. All the usual social pressures begin to fall by the wayside and time becomes more precious than pleasing others or putting a smiley face on everything.
Over the past several months, I've been practicing setting stronger boundaries, protecting my time with pit bull ferocity. This a probably a pendulum-swing reaction to the fact that I’ve had soft boundaries around my time for decades, letting the smallest interruption derail a project or my plans for the day. With a husband (now ex-), kids, pets and various commitments in my life over the years, I’ve pretty much let everyone and everything have access to my time, creating a messy chaotic life all around me.
Since entering mid-life, my time is the thing I'm most protective of. I spent years saying yes when I really should have said no. Now, I only say yes when I really want. The giving, mothering, putting others first gene that was so prevalent in my twenties, thirties and even forties, has practically disappeared with my menses, making it nearly impossible for me to continue to ignore my own inner whispers and needs.
I remember when I turned 50 how older women looked at me with a knowing smile and twinkle in their eyes as if I had entered some exclusive club and they were carrying a great secret known only to them. However, I soon understood. A major shift happens as we move away from our childbearing years that opens up a fountain of creative juice and an intense willingness to honor and follow one's Inner Voice. Something powerful kicks (the Higher Self) in that won't let us betray ourselves any longer. We start caring less about what people think. We find it easier to say no. We start following creative nudges and longings of the heart. We learn to mother ourselves.
About a year ago, I even changed my choice in clothing. Now, I refuse to, except on rare occasions, wear binding, tight clothes, such as jeans, high heels, tight skirts, button down shirts, because they make me feel imprisoned. Instead, I now prefer yoga pants or leggings covered tastefully with long shirts and sweaters, long flowing skirts or dresses and comfortable shoes or knee high boots. I simply will not dress in Westernized clothes any longer.
So freedom reigns in all aspects of my life. I’ve streamlined my diet and I eat mostly fruits and veggies, nuts, select gluten-free grains and no dairy or meat. I LOVE these changes. It’s a spring-cleaning of every aspects of my life! I’m embracing the changes and the movement out of my old, stale habits and comfort zone. I see openings happening all around me and I know when one stirs up thing within and around one, there is a ripple effect on everyone and everything around one.
I love the idea that we can get attached to good habits as much as bad ones. I really didn’t understand this before in the way that I do now. It also truly makes me realize that any habit can be pulled into one’s daily life and integrated so that it becomes as natural as brushing one’s teeth.
To think it all starts with loving oneself and setting good boundaries. Ironically, the more I engage in self care, the more the desire to give authentically flows out of me. This just adds joy on top of the joy!