Friendly Advice For Our 40 Plus BloggerA conversation with a friend last week helped our 40 plus blogger Claire Kenny realise she was slipping back into old habits.
Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash
A good friend of mine gave me a very polite telling off when I saw her for the first time in ages last week. We were talking about the most sensitive of subjects: money. I was saying that the snowballing cost of living crisis and the fact that our house and lifestyle stands and falls on one wage – mine – was starting to make me feel nervous about spending money on ‘non-essentials’ such as a nice holiday, my home and clothes.
“As women, we shrink ourselves to fit into little boxes that we create without even realising it.”
Her response was that although being prepared for the future is important, living in the present is too. And that if I work hard to earn my own money, I have every right to spend a bit of it on myself. It really made me think.
I think being a woman, and a mum, brings a lot of guilt and we sometimes put ourselves last. When I was rebuilding my life after my marriage ended, I assumed that as a single woman I should keep my dreams small and manageable. It was a genuine surprise to me to discover that I could have a good lifestyle. When I nervously joined a nice gym and finally booked a stay at the hotel at the North Yorkshire Coast I’d been wanting to stay in for years, it felt wildly luxurious and fun, but there were undertones of guilt.
My puritanical approach to investing in myself spilled into my hobby too. It took me years to get my gait measured and buy proper trainers, but that’s where it ended. Running in heavy rain one night, I carried my phone and my car keys in a dog poo bag so they didn't get wet. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford to buy a running belt – I just didn’t know what they were!
Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash
Years of neglecting oneself can be a hard habit to break, but as I hit my forties and started single life, spotting that it was something I tended to do was a big step forward. The conversation last week made me realise that I’m slipping into old habits so I’ve decided to rectify this by going shopping to treat myself to a bag I’ve wanted for a million years. I haven’t stopped daydreaming about it since I first saw it, so it has to be an investment, surely?! And if times get really tough and my catastrophising becomes reality, I can always live in it as it’s quite big.
I guess what I’ve learnt with the benefit of hindsight – and my lovely friend – is that sometimes women create little boxes that we shrink ourselves to fit into without even realising it.
It can take years for the blinkers to come off. But when they do, we realise that with hard work and a vision, the possibilities are endless, and that we only need one person to reach our goals.
Claire can be found on Facebook and Instagram as my40pluslife.me