Do you remember first realizing yourself paging through articles about women over 40? It may have been high-time to do so, since you are over 40 since for a while… You knew such public debates were existing, but somehow never felt like entering into. Neither you feel today.
Probably, at the beginning, it was a sign of refusal: you were simply not ready to read about something you are generally not in the mood to deal with. You thought you can anyway be different. Your life is not one of those of the others’. Full stop.
After a while, you began to feel, that such many negative experiences cannot exist in the world. You tried to feel familiar, find some common ground and be sympathetic. However, what really happened was that you started to observe yourself and look for the signs of hormonal issues, deterioration of your hair and skin, loss of memory, getting tired faster than before. BEFORE. Not surprisingly, you started to feel worse, and a bit also desperate. Something had been happening that you may not be able to change… If nothing else, than ‘before’ and ‘after’ appeared in your language.
You start to agree and kind of believe that this stage in your life is something negative. Simply, because there are so many others around you who are to convince you about the opposite. Suspicious. Why should you cheer up, find your new self, heal, whatsoever, when you do not feel like being down, lost or wounded, in general?
You have doubt. Probably you should not be all right, it is just because you do not live a deeply emotional or spiritual life. You do not care enough about others, do not listen to their problems and you are not a very helpful or supporting person. You are just a surface. A shell. An empty balloon… If you are not very lucky enough and have time to watch television or spend time on social media, you are also fled by ads on funeral plans, artificial teeth, menopause related items, or reports filled with women talking about metabolism problems, sleeping disorders, weight control problems, not to mention more… What a perspective, you think…
You become touched by movies on lost lives, lost opportunities, lost loves and other sad stories. Of others. Not to mention the ones about divorces, regret, resentment, forgiving, or lack of forgiving. You analyse yourself accordingly. Shall you move on, regret something, be resentful with someone or – on the contrary – forgive those who cheated on you, abandoned you, ignored or neglected?
Well, there are bad things happening from time to time, but it has always been like this and – most probably – will stay as such in the future. What if you feel like there is nothing to do with your 40s regarding these?
What if you feel good most of the times and you like the changes around yourself? What if having a bit less hair or a bit more crazy curls does not affect your days as much as they could? What if you are fine with some weight gain, and not to eat sandwiches all the time is not such a terrible loss for you? What if you moved on after your separation and you no longer analyse who was wrong and why, and what could have been if you acted differently? What if you do not feel like to regret your whole previous life just because it has been different from those you see around yourself? What if you still love to live, your profession, your private life, your achievements, that you have time and that you feel the value of it? What if career-addiction and unhealthy competitiveness evaporated? What if you feel settled and satisfied just now?
It would be easy to say: nothing. You are lucky. And you really feel like. However, it feels also like being different, thus a bit of an outsider, isolated, or not understood…. Like it has been in most of your life…
You see many women who turn spiritual, spend on life-coaching, healing, fortune telling, etc. and also spamming your timeline and your social media accounts with quotes, videos and short stories about confidence, spiritual energy, personality improvements, revelations, spiritual travel into your mind, or even into the future. Not to mention their enlightening and happy pictures about their mental and physical transformation. Instead of feeling delighted and inspired, a question does not leave you alone: why shall it be exposed and documented for the public so thoroughly?
Why should you always look for what was wrong in the past instead of simply enjoying the present? Why shall you expect the lead of your own life from others? Why should you always have to extend your potential, grow, develop, change yourself or analyse every aspect of your life? Why cannot you simply enjoy what you have as long as you have it? Last, but not least: why cannot you stay private? Why should you be depending on the reflections of others?
Being overwhelmed by the social media, the debates over manipulation versus marketing and advertising, the tailor-made search results in the search engines, big data driven artificial reality, and such things, one question surely arises: is it us, who generate these public debates or is it forced on us by those who may certainly provide some sort of a ’solution’? At least temporary ones, as why should they be interested in a real, final one, which really solves an actual problem (provided that there has been a problem at all)?
You feel now that you are so easy to trap, and it is so hard to find a balance. A balance of isolating yourself from the overwhelming negative impacts and maintaining a healthy level of social interactions. An interval, a level, a range, which you can consider ‘normal’. Where is the thin line between being refusive, reluctant and self-protective? What level of egoism is healthy? Where is the line beyond which you overstretch your boundaries?
And, at all, why do we need so much some general measures to comply with and who may set, validate and update them, if necessary, for us? Why do we tend to believe to unknown people, who have just entered our lives recently, instead of our friends, as an example? And why do we value higher the appreciation of strangers instead of the – most probably – honest, but critical words of them?
You may expect those others to answer these questions first. Once you hear them, you may decide to embrace them or maintain the distance. Unfortunately, there are really few people who are not afraid of being alone in a room, just themselves. And think. And set own boundaries and form own opinions about different aspects of their lives. Or LIFE, in general. Thus, you may never receive those answers…
However, you are still there for yourself. You are used to being different. Nothing changed in that respect. So, you can enter that room, alone, and think a bit. About yourself. What you like, feel, need, or want. What your life seems to be like for you. How you see your environment and how you think you would be comfortable. As there might not be BEFORE and AFTER at all.