I’ve heard this said a lot lately by women of a certain age or beyond “Once I became fifty I became invisible to the rest of the world”. I cannot recall hearing these thoughts before and wonder if it is just one of the current ‘buzz quotes’. Or is it because I have in the last few years passed this birthday? It could possibly be a combination of the two.
Through-out my friendship circle I’ve heard a combination of fear because they have passed this birthday and still not found the soul mate that they are searching for and acute gratitude that they have made it to this landmark birthday, when some of their loved ones have not.
I myself am so thankful to reach an age that many unfortunately do not entertain. As each year passes I feel that I am discovering more about myself and those around me. I no longer fear or turn away from the truth or mistakes, because they help create and form us. We can’t hide from ourselves but we can learn to accept and love ourselves. Strangely it takes many of us a while-and by while, I mean, years to do this. Let’s not forget that for the most part, this is an eight steps forward and then ten back process…it’s evolution on the grandest scale.
When I first discovered the quote above that is passing through the lips of so many mature women, I thought, “That’s ok because I want to be bloody invisible” I thought that I would like to disappear to some dark forest to cook up batches of medicines, foraging for the ingredients and giving the general appearance of a crazy lady to be avoided at all cost.
Safe in my own company, protected from the outside world and further pain. But, with reflection, hiding away because of fear is not something that anyone should entertain, especially those of us who have taken on this ultimate journey with gusto, many tales to tell and are currently still surviving the pot holes in the road.
It is our responsibility and right to allow our star to shine brightly for all to see, we should share our stories, impart our wisdom and guide, where it is welcomed. It is now that we are truly discovering the essence of our being, what really lights us up and shines deep within our souls. Now is the time to bear witness that this journey has joys and pleasure at all ages and euphoria does not end at thirty or whatever is the ‘new whatever age’.
After I reached fifty I decided that I would no longer count my age, that I am just me and not an age or birth date, not to be defined by a number whether my age or waist size-why should I be. Not because I am ashamed of my age but because what does it really matter? What matters are my morals, principles, the kindness that I show others and how I have travelled through my life’s journey.
I can and will definitely try to do all that I have always done and hopefully a lot more as I continue to discover the true essence of my being, my desires and my path, as the world opens up to me and I grab each opportunity as it comes along.
I suppose that we could look at it like this, a shame that it takes us time to discover ourselves truly, to understand our traits and ways of looking at the world. It’s a disappointing truth that many wait years to show the world their special brand of brilliance, maybe it’s because they have not discovered it yet or have been fearful of rejection and ridicule. It is even sadder when people die with “Their song still inside them” as Wayne Dyer has described it.
Or we could say that as we mature, develop, evolve and grow, our stories and life experiences have more juice, grit and weight to them and this is why we have waited to step out of the shadows and into the light and share our truths with others.
It’s so funny to see those still blessed with youth marvel in “You were born before there was…!” You could insert so many things here, internet, mobile phones, Netflix, etc. And yes for those of us born before the birth of the internet we have stories to tell, songs to sing and adventures to have.
When will you share your brilliance?
If you would like to share your story, show your brilliance and help others travel the journey of life but find it hard to put your words or yourself onto the page, let me become your pen, your director and tell your story.
“Oh essence, essence, wherefore art thou essence?”
All joking aside, what is our essence? What is essence? What the heck am I going on about? My children ask me this too often.
According to the dictionary, essence is:-
‘The intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, which determines its character.’
So our essence, our core, is our very own indispensable quality, which determines our character. It’s unique, it’s our intrinsic nature, it’s ours and ours alone…and in reality even if we try we cannot change or hide it…And why should we?
Are you still searching for yourself?
Are you bogged down with a job, marriage, children and what you should be doing, being or having?
There is so much talk in today’s social media age about being genuine, being true to yourself, finding yourself, awakening and the list goes on and on. Yet on the other hand we are plied with images and reels of how we should look, should feel or be doing. No wonder a whole generation or two are so lost, alone and confused.
With this in mind let's delve into ‘finding ourselves’ for the want of better wording and the ‘real us’, I mean. That's why essence is such a great word to use when talking about our very own core being.
Our essence is our indispensable quality, I love that as it says that we are indispensable in our own right, we are valuable, just as us, just because of us, as we stand here in all our perfect imperfection. Or in my case, in my PJs waiting for pizza, hair all messy and a stinky dog on my lap. This statement tells us that we have a quality that is invaluable, unique and priceless.
So, instead of searching out ways to fit in with the norm, that is the norm at the moment, but won’t be the norm next year, we can just embrace the us that is the us deep to our core.
But how? I hear you ask, as I am still asking myself each and every day.
Sometimes it takes a life changing experience to discover that essence, sometimes it takes a push or pull in the right direction and sometimes it takes you to reach breaking point, whether in a job we hate or a marriage that no longer fills us with joy.
Sometimes people never reach a point where they discover their very own special power, they just travel through life, ignorant to the powerful bliss inside them. And sometimes, it's just plain wonderful evolution over time.
Let me ask you, have you found your joy, your essence, not your child's, not your parents or spouse’s but yours?
At my ‘prime of life age’ I am discovering the little and big things that bring me joy and make me smile while no one is around. The talents that have been hidden or not been developed, the personality traits that are mine and mine alone and bring blessings to those around me.
Why has it taken so long, who knows and who cares…not me. We all are like a priceless piece of art unfolding by the day.
All I know is that quite often we need space, time and peace to delve deep into our belief system and route all that has not served us well, replacing it with a truer picture of our-self and our beliefs.
Slowly, so slowly we emerge as beautiful, unique creatures that can never be replaced or replicated.
This is the essence!
Much love and joy,
Do we always need a map?
Yes, this is a serious question!
My answer is no! Do I hear you shriek, cry out in surprise. Some of you may probably class me as mad, insane or at least a little loopy. OK, you probably are right with the last one but I’ll embrace that happily.
So before I delve a little deeper into my reasoning let me just get this clear. I believe that it is great to have a plan and an idea how you are going to reach your desired target or destination. Whether it is for business, a family plan, dreams and desires that you are working on. It means that we don’t get to the end of our time here on earth and think…flip what have I actually done, where has that time gone, where have I gone?
My problem arises when we hit a bump in the road and that plan is derailed. Add to that, what if we then travel through an abyss being controlled by outside forces and we are just floating around waiting for our lives to return to our hands. This can lead to all kinds of mental health issues as we struggle to regain some sense of control.
Over the last several years my life took some twists and turns that
meant that I had little control over certain areas within my life.
Before which, I thought that my future was set, From the outside it appeared perfect or at least a passionate love story within a bright vivacious family.
However cracks had begun to appear many years ago and I took the approach that many do and just papered over each crack, hopeful that it would not reappear. Of course I was naively hopeful.
During lock-down it became so apparent that not only were there a few cracks but a great big person consuming hole.
It was time to let go! Before I fell in that hole, never to return.
And, this is where my contemplation about maps, knowing my path, route and basically what was going to happen and when, began.
At this point late in 2020, I had no idea where I was, let alone where I or we, as a new family of three were going. It was a dark period, one that could have swallowed me whole…actually it nearly did, several times. I grappled with the realization that I had no control over certain elements within our lives, at that time. Which in turn affected mine and my daughters day to day life along with our future. It was a scary time.
I am the type of person who likes to know all the facts, details and information. There is safety in knowing the plan. As a child from a troubled home, knowing and controlling all the details allows me to have a sense of peace.
This obviously was a lesson that I needed to learn…Let go and trust! Boy has it’s been a hard and a slow struggle
I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing women who have buoyed me on those sinking days.
Without knowing it I began to teach myself that not knowing the outcome, knowing how I would get to the end or even what or where the end would be, was actually OK. In fact it is more than OK. It can be mind flipping, liberating and thrilling.
I’ve always loved to walk, like really far and exploring new places. I love to get lost! Before I never really had the opportunity. This is where my adventures began, last year I just decided that I would stop waiting for someone to go on adventures with. I would just do them on my own and now. That’s when ‘Women Wandering Without a Map’ was born.
I pick a walking route or a start and finish point and just walk. Without a map or sat nav, just using my intuitive and the old fashioned sign posts, this proves extremely interesting sometimes. So far I walked several beautiful coastal paths in Kent and walked part of the pilgrims' way in Kent. Each one has tested my mental, emotional and physical abilities to the limit, there have been many bruises and bumps, along with late nights after getting lost.
However each one has shown me how strong and resilient I am. It has reminded me that I love adventure and nature. It has helped me heal or more correctly it is helping me heal!
Now, it has also developed into a few ladies walking which has gifted me with hours of laughter and deep connections that I couldn’t put a price on.
*Please be safe if you decide to have a crazy adventure, take someone with you, tell someone where you are going and keep in touch throughout your journey. Remember your supplies as well*
Tips to find YOURSELF once more! (These helped me through the toughest of days)
1/Surround yourself with people who want you to flourish-Sometimes we need to reach out to receive the comfort and direction that we desire.
2/Be kind and patient with yourself-It’s a long road and there will be many ups and downs. So when you are down, sad or angry, allow yourself to feel it and then you must let it go. (Gosh I hate that song)
3/Find something that really gets you excited-Don’t wait for someone to do things with. Just do it, you may need to be brave and you may have hurdles to overcome but don’t use them as excuses.This allows a little bit of light back into your life while you are navigating the darkness.
4/Remember it is OK to not know where you are going:
“Sometimes we get lost and sometimes that is OK because it’s then that we find the things, that we didn't know that we were looking for”
Much love and good vibes,
Welcome to 2022,
Though I hadn’t planned any great resolutions or such like because I am way past that and I know that they rarely come to fruition anyway. However I had decided to take back control over all the things that I can after the crap of the last few years.
My first failure was a planned hike for January 1st. About 18 months ago I had a breakdown, it had been brewing for a while and when it finally hit, it hit hard and I spent many months believing that I was no longer needed and worthless to all. During this period I often thought about a particular place and how I could just disappear there.
Thankfully I have a wonderful support network around me and I was able to navigate that time with love and understanding.
As I came through this period I knew that I needed to hike through this place that had run through my mind so often in dark moments, to make peace with myself. However, just before New Year’s Eve my daughters and I fell ill, with one daughter being extremely ill and myself taking nearly all of January to regain my strength.
So that put pay to January!
I won’t lie but I did spend much of January being angry with myself for letting myself down and not flying into 2022 with my glorious list of joyous things that I had planned-hiking, meditating, journaling and continuing with the immense growth that has happened to me over the last year.
I know that you get me…we have all been there, we have blamed ourselves for things actually out of our control!
However as time progressed, slowly I regained my strength and began to get back in the driving seat. Finally, the day came when I was able to face that dark place and time not so very long ago. By trekking around part of the coastline of Kent, alone and without any form of map, I planned to make peace with that part of myself.
I must admit I was worried, scared and very close to cancelling my little jolly. However while my little family still dreamt about all their deepest wishes, I set out, one deary Saturday morning. I packed well for a cold February day but I ended up stripping down to a t-shirt and leggings because the weather turned out to be as glorious as a day in late spring-my backpack became extremely heavy as I puffed my way up steep, unforgiving hills and around boulders along the beach. Strangely this just made me smile and enjoy the walk even more, another sense of achievement. Small achievement, yes, but an achievement nonetheless.
I felt a great sense of forgiveness towards myself as I pondered a time when I thought about not being here any more, where before I had felt so angry towards myself. Which was topped off with intense mum guilt, that I had fallen so low in a time of a crazy crisis. However as I took in the beauty swirling around me, snapping dazzling images as I went, the guilt and anger started to melt away.
As I wandered aimlessly, trusting my instinct while breathing in the healing sea air I processed that time and realised that I had come through that time with dignity and grace. For that, I should be extremely loving towards myself, knowing that I was and am stronger than I believed and that by letting go of that pain and guilt I can continue to skip towards the future that I am creating filled with love and joy.
It’s true, at times plans, desires, family life gets derailed and there is nothing that we can do about it. At times we are left in limbo, waiting, with no control on what is going on around us. This often leads to a time where we don’t know where we are going or if we by chance know where, we are at a loss as to how we are going to get there.
What I’ve learnt over the last few years, is that we don’t always need to know! We don’t always need a map!
We just need to be kind to ourselves, trust and move forward one small step at a time!
In the end, later than expected my January plans unfolded fabulously.
Lesson learnt: be patient, be kind and trust!
So if you find yourself also in this same place of wandering aimlessly, not knowing which path to take or adrift from a former plan, don’t panic, don’t pain and most of all please don’t beat yourself up…
Your path will unfold!
Follow my treks and other crazy adventures!
May your week be filled with all that you wish for.
Love Sophia x
Here’s a little thought for you on this dreary December day.
As we come to the close of 2021 and everyone starts to look forward to ‘The Best Year Yet’, which is great, don’t get me wrong. Let’s get a little real because before you can move forward the door to the past needs to be firmly closed and that can be hard, painful and tedious.
The closing of a chapter, year, business or relationship can be extremely difficult. We may yearn for things to stay as they are, for the world to stop turning and for our lives to remain within our comfort zones. Who doesn’t prefer that warm familiar place we sweetly call ‘Our comfort zone’.
Yet so often we are thrust forward, sidewards and maybe too often backwards as we are shaken out of the place we have become accustomed to and honestly would prefer to stay in. We may fight to stay in that place, even though we are getting loud and clear messages that it’s time to venture out. In the end, maybe after a long battle to keep to the well-known road we are literally tossed from that seemingly smooth path into a huge prickly bush and thus we have to expend a great deal of time and energy navigating that, removing thorns from our derrieres as we go, so to speak.
Like many throughout the world I am glad to see the back of the last few years and not just because of all the worldwide drama but also because of personal reasons. Though these matters are yet to draw to a complete close, I am slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s far away but I see it. More importantly I am beginning, it’s taken a while-a long while-to realise that my original path wasn’t that smooth and as I continue to pick the thorns from my weary body I am grateful for this enormous opportunity to change and grow.
I see the woman that I am, emerging from the mess that surrounds me. I am full of joy for what the future holds for me and my family as I let go of the past and step brightly and a tiny bit gingerly into the future. Yes going forward with no idea, guide book or map is terrifying but staying on a doomed path is a living nightmare. A notable benefit of holding little knowledge of what lies ahead is that I have been forced to embrace and be grateful for every beautiful minuscule moment that would have passed me by previously.
For those of you who are still holding onto something that doesn’t feel right but feels ok, safe, the norm, yes it’s so scary to change your route, at times it’s sickening but fighting for something that is not meant for you is one of the most sickening things ever. You won’t realise that until you look back though and isn’t that a sad thought.
As we go into 2022 let’s continue to support each other as we grow and find the places and people that are meant for us to embrace and hold.
With that in mind I would like to welcome you to my new blog, a place where women will share their stories to support, inspire and empower all that visit here.
If you have such a story that you feel would benefit other women, whether about business or on a more personal level, please do get in contact and we can arrange for you to share your wisdom right here.
This space is all about sharing and empowering others in whatever way that we can.
Love Sophia x