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A Pep Talk for Her on International Women’s Day

I originally wrote this blog in 2019 and each year, I find myself re-reading it, taking strength from it for the journey that I’m on and reminding myself of the lessons written here.

I am going through that period in a woman’s life that so many do – especially if they’ve taken time out of the workforce to raise their kids – where you are no longer the person you used to be but you are not quite the person you are destined to become. You’re a work in progress. And progress takes more time than you’d like it to take.

At this point can I just say that women are amazing? I think we’re amazing. We raise our kids, we work (in a job or at home) and for most of us we carry the mental load of our entire families. Ask Mum. Mum will know. Mum will do it. I recently declared that my brain was going on strike – that no one else could use it but me. Unfortunately that didn’t work out very well….

It’s up to us to respect ourselves. It is so easy to get bogged down in guilt, stress, workload, kids and partners. And if you are feeling bogged down – STOP! Take a breath. Breathe. Think about yourself. Take the time. It’s important. You are important.

What do you want? Not sure? What do you like best? Do that. Or at least do it some of the time. Make time for you and the things you like to do. You will be happier, more chilled and your family will thank you for it.

Don’t listen to the naysayers. Don’t buy into their concept of who you should be. This is huge for so many women. Be you. Be bravely you. And be patient. The you that you wish to be takes time to develop.

I used to think that I had no more time to change who I was or what I wanted to do in life. I’m 52. Then I read a lovely story by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic, about a 70 year old woman who became a world leader in a completely new field within 10 years and 20 years later was still enjoying this phase of her life. That was a wakeup call for me. I’m not dead yet and neither are you. There’s plenty of time to manifest the life you want.

One day your kids will leave home and you won’t see them anywhere near as much as you’d like to. It’s our job to let them go. What will you do then? Do you work fulltime? Do you love your job? If not, do you have something that fulfils you outside of work that has nothing to do with your kids? A sense of fulfilment is really important to our happiness. And it’s different for everyone. Life is now. Get onto it. Fulfil yourself! There will be ups and downs. Baby steps and leaps forward and sometimes you’ll fall in a heap. You will doubt yourself. But this is life. This is the journey. Life is the journey. If you’re tired of striving – stop – stop striving for whatever it is – be still. Be still and listen to your heart. Then if it feels right, move forward – or not – up to you.

You are a woman. You are capable of incredible things. Don’t hide your light, as Nelson Mandela said. You have one life to live and time ticks on. As Gretchin Rubin, author of Happiness at Home wrote, “the days are long but the years are short”. These are the messages of inspiration that I take with me on my journey. The reminders to live the life I want to live and to live it now. It’s precious, this life and you are too. We need to stand together, drop the criticism of others, the negative attitudes and lift each other up. Be happy for your sisters and supportive when they need it.

Everyone’s journey is different but they are all valid and worthy. On International Women’s Day and every day of the year, my message to you is to – BE BRAVELY YOU.

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