I am choosing to walk into 2020 with a different story. Yet the story of the past decade shaped me, and will always be part of my narrative.
When I turned 40 in 2015, I decided that a decade-long approach to achieving my goals held the key to mitigating the anxiety that surrounded the annual failure of achieving my New Years’s resolutions.
Looking around at entrepreneurs I admired, I could see that there was no such thing as an overnight success, and that over a period of 10 years, one could grow a fantastically successful business and make a significant impact. I decided to approach my 40s with that same mindset, and adopt a decade long approach.
Before this realisation at the dawn of my 40th birthday, I lived life in a rush. I wanted everything to come faster than it did. When success did not arrive in my timeframe, I was riddled with anxiety and an overwhelming sense of failure. This was not a healthy place to be.
Let me take you back 10 years to 2009. I was juggling running my own business with a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and a 1 year old. The global financial crisis had caused our corporate sponsors to abandon us, and we cancelled our major event that year. At home, our monthly mortgage repayments were still being paid on time, but we were only just keeping our heads above water.
While there were numerous highlights, like watching our children grow, making new friends and building our expertise and careers, the stress of every day life took its toll on my physical and mental health, as well as our marriage. In 2011, a promotion at work for my husband meant that he starting travelling to Asia for 2 weeks a month.
In 2012, to save our sanity and our marriage, we moved moved to Singapore to be closer to the regions that my husband had to travel to for work. That same year I sold my business and decided to take a break to focus on my health. The break did not last long and before I knew it, I was working in the entrepreneurship sector and travelling to conferences around the world, learning about startups and forming meaningful friendships.
Singapore was utopia. I started to get my energy back and partied hard to let off steam. We found a live-in housekeeper and enjoyed the warm weather. Even with all this, my health wasn’t really improving. I would have 6-8 good months a year, then something would set me back in dramatic fashion. Relocating to a new country had its challenges.
In 2015 I turned 40 full of optimism that I could be rid of my 30s and embark on a new decade-long approach. Although so much improved, so much went to shit.
2016 was a horrible year, and I did not think my marriage would survive. Ever the problem solver, I realised it would take a multi-pronged approached to restore me. This included exercise, mindfulness, therapy, vitamins, massage, personal styling, daily gratitude, finding like-minded entrepreneurs, reading, personal development, business coaching. I found solace in writing and in deep connections with friends.
On the business side, I embarked on a new business venture in 2017 which looks promising.
Here I am at the end of 2019*. Next year, I turn 45. The half-way mark of my 40s odyssey. So many things have already been ticked off My Maximalist, I sometimes feel I need to pinch myself about how blessed my life is.
Or not. My husband and I have made this life for our family. We made the difficult choice to leave Australia and move to Singapore. Every day we work hard to provide a wonderful life for our children, and for ourselves. We have made intentional and strategic decisions, which in turn, have brought blessings into our lives.
If the past decade has taught me anything it is this:
- Every body struggles. Empathy is so important.
- Everyday struggles are real. These struggles make you and break you. How you overcome them is part of your unique story.
- There is no correct way to live your life. The only constants are love and kindness, and faith that things will get better.
- Overthinking is the devil on your shoulder. Flick that devil away. Your past can’t change. Your present is the only thing you can control.
- Your health should be your no.1 priority. Listen to your body.
- Relationships take daily work. Do not neglect those closest to you. Always take an interest and be encouraging.
- You are never alone.
*I'm still standing!!
Wishing you a Happy New Year.