Let me be clear. I am not writing a self-help blog. I am not a life coach, I don’t profess to be a superior athlete, a nutritionist, or doctor of any type.
But I am a woman who has entered middle age and have learned a few things….
I have always been a procrastinator. I have always thought “when I’m brave enough, rich enough, beautiful enough, etc….I will do accomplish something.” I always had the creative side to me but was way to practical to be a starving artist.
First I needed a steady job with good health insurance (this was drilled into me by my frugal and cautious mother). Then, I needed to raise my kids – and this meant devote all my time to the kids because I believed I was doing the most important job in the world – and since I left the corporate world to do that and wasn’t bringing in an income, I had to justify it by being frugal and providing all the entertainment to my kids. I don’t regret that – I recently found old videos of family life back then, and life was fun and simple (before Iphones and texting and gaming – PBS TV shows were my only babysitter and guilty relaxation).
Then, my kids grew up and I needed to find work again. I was fortunate in that since we had lived frugally throughout the years – spending our time adding on to a house using our own labor (primarily my husband’s labor, but I did help raise some walls!) it wasn’t urgent to search out the most high paying job. My husband had the health insurance and encouraged of me to try my hand in making photography a career. For the first time I was able to combine my passion with my business – which brought a whole new realization to me; I have a good amount of life left in me, for work and for fun.
And reaching middle age, I guess this procrastinator has reached the ultimate decision…I can’t wait anymore. We do have an expiration date, although none of us know what it is, and I know that if mine lasts a long time, I want to spend it healthy. And if it is stopped abruptly as it has to too many people of my age – I want to know that I spent the time I had, happy and involved in life.
Although I’ve always been a healthy eater, I started to look even closer at what I was putting in my body. I am not a dieter, I can’t force myself to set limits and portions. So, along with the focus on my career, my happiness and my life – I have educated myself in what will keep me happy and healthy for now and the future.
So, here are some of things I have learned in middle life:
- It’s all about food quality and less about food quantity.
- There’s nothing prettier (and healthier) than fresh organic produce from a local farm.
We joined a CSA about a year ago and it’s almost like a mini Christmas gift every Saturday when I go pick up the order and see what is in my basket. When I don’t recognize the vegetable, it’s even more fun to research it and create a dish to try out.
- Exercise is a self-fulfilling prophesy – the more you do it the more you want to do it. Especially if you have exercise buddies and accountability. I don’t think I would get up at 5 or 6 in the morning, if I didn’t know I was leaving someone in the dark trail if I didn’t show up. If I didn’t sign up and pay for classes (right now I’m doing pilates and yoga at Grassroots Fitness) I wouldn’t show up. It’s also inspiring to go along on other’s fitness journey and the therapy that surrounds working out with others.
- Kombucha is not just some wacky health drink – it really is good! It was suggested to me by my nutrition practitioner, Julie Nelson of The Natural Health and Healing Center. I am not a regular yogurt eater and had been learning about beneficial bacteria in the body. I reluctantly tried out a GTs Gingerade and discovered it was refreshing, with a tinge of carbonation, lemon and ginger…and I was hooked. The only downside was the $3 a bottle price tag. So, my Christmas present to myself this year was a continuous brew kombucha jar and a scoby passed on by a friend. I immediately turned into one of those people who talk about the health and size of my SCOBY and fun ways to experiment in the second ferment. To me, the health benefits are just a happy bonus. (I’m still working on the other fermented foods….I know they are good for me, but it’s hard to go from a bland, New England diet to appreciating pickled vegetables and sauer kraut….they make a pretty picture though….)
So to anyone out there who is in the middle of their life and wants to make a change – whether it be personal health, a creative passion, or a new interest – just take the leap now!