When the Clock of Life is Ticking DownFeb 02, 2021
Encouragement for When the Clock of Life is Ticking Down
I just wanted to reach out and acknowledge what you’re going through.
I understand completely.
It feels selfish and self-centred to not squeeze every ounce out of every moment we have with our kids because it does go by so fucking fast.
Oh right, it also feels selfish and self-centred to not squeeze every ounce out of every moment we have without kids, because it does go by so fucking fast.
And it might even feel selfish and self-centred to not want kids.
And maybe even it feels selfish and self-centred to look forward to your future when your every waking moment isn’t defined by the minutiae of your kids.
Jesus. You can’t win, can you?
If you’re in your 40s, these are the kinds of things that consume your days (and nights), in addition - in very real likelihood - to questions of career.
Questions like: How do I balance a career and family? Is it ok to put a career first? Family?
Or: Should I have kids? Should I have more kids? Should I have kids on my own?
Or: My god, my kids are nearly grown - and I don’t know who I am.
Or: I’ve done the same thing for 20+ years, professionally - I’m not sure it’s ever what I wanted, but I sure know it’s not what I want now. Maybe I want kids. Maybe I want a career transition. Maybe I just need a vacation.
Maybe you're thinking things like: I waited to have kids, and now I’ve run out of time.
Maybe: I waited to have kids, and now I have toddlers when I’m 42, and dear god, I don’t think I have the energy to do this.
Maybe: I wanted kids, I had kids, and now I realize that - although I love them - I might go nuts watching another episode of ‘INSERT CURRENT POPULAR TODDLER SHOW’.
And maybe: I didn’t want kids, I didn’t have kids, and I wish people would get the fuck off my back trying to pry - was I alone, infertile, am I lesbian, do I hate children? NO. I just did not want kids. And it’s none of your business.
Or: I wanted kids. It didn’t happen. And it’s STILL none of your business.
And then there’s the clock thing. That giant hourglass with the sand that’s (swear to god) running faster and faster each day - the ticking clock inside the Croc on Peter Pan - the one hunting Captain Hook.
You and I are now dealing with the very real thoughts that that clock is winding down on our years, and it’s heartbreaking and gutting and bittersweet and - frankly - debilitating if we stop and think about it too much.
After all, how many more “do-overs” do we have left? How many times can we say, “tomorrow, next week, month, the year”? How long can we hold on to the bad memories, the bitterness, the blame, before any chance we have at a happy, fulfilled, authentic life slips behind us, gone forever in the rearview mirror?
Or the terrifying thought: I want to do things for myself, as an autonomous individual, but every moment I take for myself and my dreams steals irreplaceable time from my children, my family, the life I have that others would give anything for.
Add to this the changes this time of life brings - losses, departures, endings, increased dependency, impending retirement (and potential insolvency), in a confusing world full of mixed messages and outlandish expectations, and you’ve got….
...a damn good reason for a cocktail at 9 am.
It could be that, now that you’re in your forties, your younger self’s choices (or lack thereof) are catching up with you.
Perhaps your health or body is starting to show signs of wear and tear. Might be that you have prescriptions for any number of medications, for cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, adult-diagnosed ADD, joint or back problems, you name it.
Maybe you’re in a relationship that you’ve long known is toxic - and maybe you’re the toxic one. It’s possible that you’ve lived by your extended families and culture's rules and expectations for so long that you couldn’t say for sure which choices - if any - in your life have actually been your own.
If you’re crying yourself to sleep, lashing out in anger, blaming yourself (or others), binging on cookies, wine, Netflix, social media (or all of the above - simultaneously), I understand.
It’s like you’re a mouse in a maze who’s just recently realized that it IS a maze. Before it just looked like the normal walls and pathways of the life you were leading. Were you leading it, though? Or were you being led?
I wouldn’t be surprised if you feel lonely. That loneliness might stem from the realization that, while you have “friends”, you don’t really have friends. I mean the kind of friends that understand these ideas, struggles, inhibitions, passions, choices - and who don’t judge your confusion.
You’d give quite a lot to connect with like-minded women who are grappling with the tough questions, getting raw, challenging themselves to dig deeper, create awareness, and make real choices - whatever those choices might end up being.
You crave a community beyond the girls at yoga, or the moms at playgroup, or the women at the office - though you might find a few of your tribemates in some of those places. You’re looking now - maybe you’ve never looked before - but you’re not always finding.
Some days you just pray to get through; others, your dreams are as big as the sky.
Very possibly, you’re trying to define WHO you really are, for the first time in your life, and you might be beating yourself up with thoughts like, “Jesus, I’m forty-something years old (or whatever age finds you here), and I’m JUST NOW trying to figure this shit out??
What the hell is WRONG with me???”
I’ll say it again: Nothing.
In fact, you are so utterly normal that it’s a little terrifying.
Why would I say that? Because we live in a time and a place where the messages, the expectations, the ever-changing ground upon which women stand defies attempts at definition.
You would think this is a good thing, right? Undefinable might actually be an attractive quality, a sort of ‘je ne sais quois’ mystique. Like, “She is a woman - you cannot pin her down, define her, cage her” (sounds like an advert for a butterfly-themed perfume, non?).
Actually, it’s EXACTLY the opposite. In other words, we’re floundering and flailing, trying to figure out which ‘version’ of female we should/ought to/are best to be - and we’re driving ourselves nuts.
Hence the 9 am cocktails.
I personally prefer Paralyzers (look it up).
So, why did I write this?? Just to get you in a tizzy, and send you off to the liquor store at indecent hours?
- I want you to know unequivocally that you are normal.
- I need you to hear that you are not alone.
- I believe you have every right to feel confused, angry, excited, or overwhelmed by this moment in your life.
- I understand.
“Discovering who you are today is the first step to being who you will be tomorrow.”
~ Destiny’s Odyssey
Of course, I don’t know the specifics of your life - how could I? Each of us is on an utterly unique journey. There are wonderful highs and horrific lows and daily challenges that each of us has been - and will be - facing.
I certainly can’t acknowledge everything - but I do acknowledge that I, like each of us, is imperfect, and can only imperfectly understand one another - and that’s provided we even try.
I’ve put all of this into words because I know how many of you struggle to gain the clarity you want on what you think and feel so that you can find the right words to express your experiences, fears, dreams, never mind mustering the courage to utter them (in writing, publicly, or aloud).
It’s so unbelievably hard, and it takes one to know one - as in, woman to woman.
PS. I believe in the power of every single woman to own - and tell - her own story. It is her right. My work as a coach, mentor, trainer, writer, and speaker is to provide the space, the opportunity, the skills, the mindset shift, the support, and - where needed and desired - the accountability that helps each woman step into that light.
TEEwithD offers training, learning, coaching, writing, and audio/video resources to help you take those steps. Take the 'Your True Eloquence Equation' Quiz to learn more about your unique strengths, challenges, and opportunities, or download our 'TEE Real With Me Exploration Guide' for an in-depth journaling guide designed to help you start on this journey of self-discovery today.
“Amazing Things Happen When Women Help Other Women.”
~ Kasia Gospos
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