I was saddened to hear about the death of actor Helen McCrory last Friday, 16th April. She was an amazing talent and featured in some of the best known movies and tv series in the world. I first really noticed her in 'Peaky Blinders' in 2013 as the fearsome 'Aunt Polly' and admired the fire and passion she brought to the role. What a woman! What an icon! She has also been in several Harry Potter films, James Bond and tonnes of tv dramas. I always thought how vital and sparky she was. 
 
Helen was only 52 and was in the prime of her career when she died of cancer. She was married to Damien Lewis and she leaves behind two children, Manon, 14 and Gulliver, 13. My heart goes out to all of them at this heartbreaking time. Their grief must be unimaginable. 
 
We all think we are going to live until we are old and, unfortunately, this is not a gift we are all given, however much we want it. Sometimes, we live as if we have all the time in the world and tell ourselves that we can deal with that decision next week, next month, next year, but the older we get the faster time goes! Have you ever noticed that? 
 
"I'll do it when I retire"  
I have a very strong sense of my own mortality - I'm not sure why. I always feel that I have to live my life 'on purpose', rather than drifting through it like some languid bayou. There is a sense of urgency to make decisions that will matter and count. 
When I got married, 18 years ago, I worked for American Express. I had a great managerial role in HR and brilliant prospects but I knew it wasn't right for me. My husband and I decided to quit our jobs, get married, sell our flat and travel around the world for a year. We were just into our thirties and knew we had to grasp the opportunity to do something wonderful, before we settled down too much. It was an exciting and stressful time. Some people thought we were crazy and others admired our thirst for adventure. 
I remember talking to a colleague, the day before I left the company, and she shared an aspiration she had to change careers. Her dream was simple - to become a beauty therapist. She looked wistful as she shared her secret and then added, "I'll do it when I retire." She was 33 at the time. I remember feeling sad for her. Why would you wait for twenty years? Money and security was probably the answer but still I felt sad. This comfortable holding pattern just seemed like a half-life. One were she lived for the weekend but existed during the week. 
 
Comfort is the Enemy 
Human beings will do anything to stay comfortable. We are wired to take the easiest route and to keep secure. When we enter a room, we do not break through a wall, but use the door. It's the same in life. How can I get what I want and stay snug? Sometimes that means we make choices that are "adequate", "pay the bills" or "will do". I know many people who have jobs they don't like but "the pension is good and the hours are flexible". Many of us spend a third of our life working, so this is a huge chunk of our existence. Also, many of us will work late into our sixties, or beyond. Surely, we deserve to be happy and fulfilled if possible?  
For many people, we know that change is uncomfortable, there is risk (or perceived risk) and we can be afraid of failure or the unknown. I get that. I have lived that and still do as I grow Thrive over 40. The thing is, anything worth having will have a little discomfort associated with it. If was easy, everyone would live the life of their dreams. 
 
Daydreaming 
 
I am a massive daydreamer. So much so, that I have received a couple of speeding fines when I have been lost in my own head. My brain often wonders off and thinks "what about that?", "how about this?". This is my unconscious mind working overtime to process what I am dealing with. Do you ever have a car journey and you can't really remember any of it? Our brain is an amazing super computer that gives us signals and information to pay attention to. Sometimes we do listen but mostly we ignore it and move on.  
 
When was the last time you had a daydream? What was it about? Did you listen to it? Act on it? Does it keep coming back? What is it telling you? 
Do you think about the future you want and can you see it vividly? Do you have a dream that you keep putting on the back burner? Something that excites you and frightens you in equal measure? Do you tell yourself "not yet" or "not ever"? Why is that? 
 
Listen to your daydreams - they are filled with wisdom and thruth 
 
We have one crack at this thing called life and you deserve to make it a good one - one that will allow you to thrive.  
 
Some things to think about: 
1) What is my dream? 
2) What is stopping me? What are my barriers to change? Is it money, fear, control? Something else? 
3) What habits do I currently have that help me? 
4) What habits do not help me? 
5) What limiting beliefs do I have about myself or the change? Are these creating a barrier? 
6) What will happen if I do not change and I carry on with my current path? 
7) Will I be happy with my choices and achievements when I am old and reflecting back on my life? 
8) Will I be able to say that "I did it!" - whatever that means to you? 
 
Seizing the day and living your best life is a very personal thing. Some of us are content and fulfilled and have our lives running just the way we want them to. There are others amongst us who know a change is coming but don't know how to make it happen. You might be thinking, "Do I have it in me?" Of course you do. A journey starts with a single step. The first one is always the hardest.  
 
 
Thrive over 40 are running 'My Life, My Way' starting 28th May 2021. This is a 6-week programme, helping women reflect on their life direction so they can move forward into the positive future they deserve. Please book your free discovery call with Mel Bligh (below) or get in touch via contact@thriveover40.co.uk if you'd like to find out more. 
 
 
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