Just Start

So here I am, on the brink of a new life so to speak. Some days I feel excited, some days I want to crawl back in bed for a while. There’s been so many changes in my life lately, and that happens to us as we get into middle age, and I was feeling pretty frozen. Stuck. Immobile.

Then I bought a planner (still not sure what I’d be putting in it), and there was a little paper sign inside, and it just had these two words on it…Just Start.

How profound. Don’t overthink things, don’t keep dragging your feet, just start. Whatever. Just start weeding that overgrown flowerbed. Just start sorting thru your beloved parents belongings after they’ve passed. Just put one foot in front of the other after a spouse has passed. Just go to that job interview and give it your best shot. Just put that exercise video in the VCR and start moving. Just start that blog you’ve always wanted to start. Just start eating that brownie…no, seriously…just start taking time for yourself, doing what makes you sparkle.

Just start.

If you feel stuck, too, think about it. Just start. What doesn’t really matter, just as long as you get up and move forward. What makes you feel stuck?

In a short span of time, I lost my mother, my dog, my job (and my work friends), and my horse. Not everyone bonds with animals, but I do. Not having children, my pets have taken their place, and losing one is truly heartbreaking. Yes, they had lived long lives. But it’s never easy to say goodbye. And my mother had lived with me into her 80s, and we’d gotten so close.

I don’t really believe you ever stop grieving, you just get to a place where you can be grateful for the times you had and the memories will always be in your heart. My Dad died when I was still a teenager, and I can still start to tear up just thinking of him. He was a good person, so kind, and funny, and strong.

Losing a job in middle-age is hard, too. Businesses sell out, shut down, owners retire. It’s out of our hands. There’s age discrimination in the workplace, and it’s hard to find a new position when you’re over 40, let alone over 50. I was lucky, and found something. But the transitions get harder when you’re older, and I struggled with leaving friends behind and trying to connect with new coworkers. Yeah…that hasn’t gone as well as I’d hoped. Oh well. You can’t have everything, right?

I consider myself lucky to live in the country, and I’ve always considered myself to be strong and independent. I have family, and hobbies, and a new dog who has a spirit and character all his own. Bless his ever active, affectionate heart.

So, middle-age is a time of life in between child rearing and old age, right? I’ve read about people shifting over into new careers (something they like to do versus just making money) or starting their own business (tired of working for someone else). I think that’s great. It’s time to do what you want to do. Ok, but I’m not wealthy, and I still have a mortgage to pay. (are you with me on this?) So how can I start a new profession or start a business? And what do I want to do?

I searched the web for stories about middle-aged women for some inspiration. And you know what? I didn’t find much. The web is full of 30-something mommy blogs…and urban fashion blogs…not much for the 50-something suburban/rural woman who likes fresh air and a relaxed style. And doesn’t have a pension plan with a half-million dollars in it. (wish I did though)

And I wanted to connect with women like me…middle-aged, live in the country, want to look good but not obsessed about it, looking for purpose and meaning in this stage of life, love dogs and horses, gardening, working in the yard (or just sitting on the deck enjoying the breeze and a cold drink). Women who are coping with grown children, aging parents, job burnout, menopause. Women who find themselves alone and need to find new friends and activities, or, on the flip side, wish they had time alone. Women who want to accomplish something with this time in their life, enjoy themselves, and maybe give something back.

Maybe it’s time to think about what you’ve been meaning to do. Whether it’s cleaning out the freezer or taking guitar lessons or finding a new job or starting your own business, maybe it’s time to just start.

So, here’s to a little sign in a planner. Just Start.

And here’s to a new beginning, a new online magazine for the middle-aged country woman. Strong and capable. Loving, generous, awesome.

Here’s to us, you and me. It’s time to do what makes us happy.

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