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Home » #18: Women Making Impact – Season to Bloom

#18: Women Making Impact – Season to Bloom

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SUMMARY

Suri discusses how women can find meaningful impact through four intention-based seasons. This is the season to bloom, where we can finally feel at home in our own skin.

SHOW NOTES

Links mentioned:

This episode was made using:

TRANSCRIPT – edited for clarity

RECAP: This is the final Episode in my Women Making Impact in and outside the home series – spanning 4 Episodes:

  • We began in Episode 15 with the season to explore starting from our late teens to early adulthood
  • Then in Episode 16 we moved to the season of love – the family-building season of our lives
  • Episode 17 talked about the season to root, which is that messy middle space when we’re slowly processing all that we’ve learned so far; all the soft skills like relationship building, our self-care needs, boundary setting, money management, and time management – while exploring new information that can help guide us toward our next season in life. 

Finally, this week, we explore the Season to Bloom, which is when we reach middle age from our mid-40s and onwards. Again, this is just an offering of my thoughts from what I’ve gathered around me through conversations and research. I hope you’re learning from me, as much as I’m learning from you. Thanks for joining me.

INTRO: Hello. Welcome back to Doing Things on Purpose, the podcast that empowers women to take charge of their time, health, relationships, and money by doing things on purpose. I’m your host Suri Stahel, and I’m so glad you’ve taken the time to join me here again today.

CHECK-IN: Let’s begin as usual, with this week’s mom check-in, simply because self-care is a non-negotiable, if we want to serve optimally and live joyfully, each and every single day: 

  • How are you doing this week ladies? 
  • Yesterday I thought I wasn’t doing so well, but today I feel somewhat better. My younger sister just gave birth yesterday, so welcome to the club!  
  • It’s December, and I’m still doing my daily yoga following the free playlist from Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. What about you? 
  • If you’re interested in trying yoga and wondering when to start, next January would be the ‘perfect’ time to do that. Because to usher in the new year, Adriene usually posts her annual 30 days of yoga series, which features new videos, uploaded daily, to support us throughout the month of January. As usual, I’ll include links from this episode on the show notes at suristahel.com/18.
  • Also, are you remembering to rest enough in between all of the effort and work that you put into your life? 

Which activities do you absolutely have to do vs. ones you choose to do? Is there something you can let go there?

  • If you’re feeling stuck about tweaking your daily schedule, setting priorities, or just shifting your mindset, please feel free to send in your question to suristahel@gmail.com
  • In terms of organizing your days this December, make sure you’ve put down all the things that need to happen this month on your Google calendar or App of choice – oftentimes, if it’s not scheduled in, it’ll take much longer to get done, and you’ll forget things.
  • Whether it’s putting up the Christmas decorations, wrapping presents, baking cookies, attending the office party or planning gatherings with family and friends – it can seem overwhelming if we don’t plan ahead. 
  • I’m far from suggesting that you fill up your schedule, but to spread out those activities, punctuated by periods of rest.  
  • I know many moms are already feeling overwhelmed now. So I invite you to do less and to keep things simple. Take your time. Enjoy the process even though the outcome may not be clear to you yet. 
  • You can always learn and grow from your experiences. I’ve learned that I hate last-minute shopping for instance. It often leads to me buying impersonal items that are only symbolic, instead of thoughtful. 

Gift-buying tip: Nowadays, I tape a sheet of paper to my children’s closet, and they’re free to decorate and write out their wish list items throughout the year. Maybe it’s for Christmas, or maybe for their birthday. They just love spending time considering, editing and decorating that list. And I also ask my relatives for their kids’ wish lists ahead of time, since I’m not so good at crafting personalized gifts myself.

  • For moms looking to save money, I think edible gifts such as home-made cookies, useful items such as craft and stationery for the kids, or experience gifts such as an IOU for a trip to the zoo; can be perfectly wonderful. 

Because building stronger relationships is what celebrations are all about. I hope this can help you feel less burdened, and help you look forward to the festive season ahead.

Season to Bloom (mid-40s to mid-70s)

So moving on to today’s Episode which is Women Making Impact in the Season to Bloom. 

As I mentioned early on in this episode, this is the season when women in their mid 40s enter midlife. It’s when we start to get more confident in our own skin and we’re more clear about who we are.

We’ve spent the last 10 to 20 years nurturing our family, learning about relationships, boundaries and priorities. And as our kids start school, we’ve had some time to venture a little further beyond our family nucleus – to re-engage with the outside world in a more active way.

Since we’re discussing an age group that I’ve not yet gone through personally, it was honestly hard for me to imagine what this time could look like. I knew that women are definitely ripe to bloom in this phase of our lives. But I needed some input from the older generation to help guide me to find out ‘how.’

This has opened up a whole new resource for me.

If I could sum up how fulfillment in this stage of life could look like, it would be about 5 things:

  1. Self-understanding
  2. Reinvention
  3. New learning
  4. Search for wisdom
  5. Need to pay it forward through engagement

Our 50s is when we finally reach our peak in evaluating and understanding other people’s emotional states. Which means, we become better listeners.

It marks a time when we’ll encounter profound changes in many areas of our lives. But let’s first start with how we can expect our bodies to change. 

How do our bodies change?

What are the universal physical changes that women can expect to experience during this time? 

Contrary to popular belief, studies show that women above 50 view wrinkles and menopause as the least mentioned challenge that they’ve experienced in their lives so far. 

Change can be scary especially when it’s unexpected, because many of us don’t inform ourselves ahead of time. But for the most part, menopause becomes a normal part of life. 

Nevertheless, here are some good-to-know health-related information that I’d love women to keep in mind, as we enter midlife and beyond:

For women worldwide, menopause generally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.

6 Health check-ups for women over 40:

  1. Dental check and teeth cleaning at the dentist – annually
  2. Diabetes Screening – every 1-3 years (Type 2 diabetes can initially have no symptoms while quietly damaging the health of your organs: eyes, kidney, nerves, heart and blood vessels)
  3. Cholesterol check- every 2-5 years (prevent heart attacks and stroke)
  4. Blood pressure check – annually (prevent heart attacks and stroke)
  5. PAP smear test at your Gynecologist – every 3 years (detect cell changes and prevent development of cervical cancer)
  6. Mammograms – note: 20% false-positive rate:
    • The American Cancer Association recommends annual checks from the age of 45.
    • The Swiss Medical Association (MediX Schweiz) recommends optional bi-annual checks after 50. 

3 Extra health check-ups for women over 50:

  1. Colonoscopy – after 50, check every 10 years or do a stool test every 2 years (colorectal cancer screening)
  2. Eye pressure check at the ophthalmologist – every 2-3 years (identify risk for glaucoma/green star, which causes nerve damage and blindness)
  3. Bone density test – First scan around 50 or post menopause, instead of the recommended age of 65 (detect low bone mass and osteoporosis, which increase the risk of fractures). About 20% of women over age 50 have osteoporosis and 50% have what’s considered a low bone mass. 

A printable list of these health-checks can be found below, and under my health guide at suristahel.com/health.

Health Checklist for women 40+ and 50+

 

The Seattle Midlife Women’s Health Study

One of the most significant research I found was from the 2016 Seattle Midlife Women’s Health Study. It’s a 23 year study of 508 women in the US which began in 1990 and continued to 2013. The study’s purpose was to illuminate women’s experiences of symptoms during the menopausal transition but most interestingly, when the women were asked to list down their most challenging aspects of midlife, 81 women responded as follows:

Few women mentioned menopausal transition as a meaningful factor. Instead, the most frequently reported challenges revolved around stressors which co-occurred at the same time:

  • Divorce/breaking up with a partner
  • Health problems
  • Death of parents

Other themes mentioned included:

  • Changing family relationships
  • Re-balancing work/personal life
  • Re-discovering oneself 
  • Financial concerns 

Basically it is to say that when it rains, it pours. So how can we be more resilient and prepare for that? 

Because this theme keeps repeating itself, even in the early phases of our lives.

We’re always having to balance many things at once. 

This shows that that tendency, is not about to go away. So we have to learn how to deal with that.

One phrase I heard recently about how to build a satisfying life, was thinking about it as not so much a game of balance which sounds precarious – but as a distribution of resources:

Give what you care about – your work, your children, your spouse, your health and your spirit complete undivided attention, at least once, every single day.

The percentages can vary. But at least once a day, pay attention to all of those pieces. Don’t let any part of your life that you care about, get only the leftovers. 

What’s clear in many studies of women in midlife is that women’s need for strong connections and relationships is what guides us through, helping us develop and flourish.

Sociologist Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot and author of the book The third chapter: passion, risk, and adventure in the 25 years after 50, talks about this being the season of:

  • Engagement over retreat
  • Labor over leisure
  • Reinvention over retirement

Emphasizing the importance of active engagement, purposefulness, and new learning as themes in the stories that people write about in the third chapter of their lives.

For those entering midlife who are finally tired of being afraid, they become less cautious about learning a new skill or trying out new things that they were too shy or insecure to do before. 

If we so choose, this is when as better listeners and willing learners, we can unlearn old-ways of doing things:

  • We become more collaborative instead of individualistic. 
  • Cooperative instead of competitive. 
  • More open and vulnerable instead of hiding our mistakes.
  • We practice patience and restraint instead of chasing speed and achievement.
  • We want to be wise and not just smart.
  • We choose to engage and be curious instead of being isolated.

The Bottom Line

Whatever profession, area, skill-set or new experiences that you’ve explored and found exciting in the last Season to Root, make this next Season to Bloom, a time when you unapologetically show yourself.

  • Find like minded people to engage with (peers, coaches) 
  • Search out communities that can support you (friends, events, conferences, forums, courses, Facebook Groups, Reddit, social media). 
  • Keep learning, playing and growing (higher education, online courses, mentors).

Some additional resources to look into:

OUTRO: I hope this episode has helped you dream a little more. 

To look forward to blossoming into your big, beautiful self during this extended phase of your life. 

While we don’t all have to lead big, bold lives – we can each create meaningful impact in our own unique ways by living a life of joy, in service, and with connection.

  • If you need help finding a community for you to connect with, depending on your area of interest, email me at suristahel@gmail.com, and I’ll try to help you out. 
  • Or message me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
  • If you liked this episode, please remember to rate it five stars and share it with a friend. The show notes can be found at suristahel.com/18.

Thanks again for listening in. This is Doing Things on Purpose with me Suri, and I’ll catch you again next time.

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