There’s an oft overlooked type of gift that can’t be wrapped in paper or put in a sparkly bag. It’s a bit more subtle than an exotic red blend but lasts a heck of a lot longer. We have worked hard to earn these gifts. In fact, we own them, but many get lost in the shuffle of daily life.
What am I talking about? The gifts that reside within. The many gifts that can come with age, such as our increased confidence, resilience, and comfort in our skin. In my forthcoming Embrace the Middle book, I talk a lot about the gifts of midlife. I share my research results in this realm, and encourage midlife women to be as aware of our gifts of age, as we are of our challenges. We seldom lose sight of our physical decline, caretaking demands, and losses, but how often do we focus on the goodies?
Here are a few common midlife gifts:
- More perspective. We know what is worth getting excited about. If we overcook our holiday turkey or spill wine on our tablecloth, we increasingly react with an “oh well,” rather than “oh, shit!” Life has given us perspective. And that is a wonderful gift.
- We are less concerned about what others think of us. As one of my interviewee’s said, “I have very few shits left to give.” Her funny words reflected a common theme amongst midlife women. Rather than wanting to please others, life increasingly becomes more about pleasing ourselves. Yes, mam! Goodbye heals and spanx. Hello Clarks and stretchy pants.
- We have more self-awareness. In my research, self-awareness was one of the top gifts of age. We know with greater certainty our values, triggers, likes, and dislikes. We understand why we may behave differently in different circumstances or why that certain someone presses our buttons. Awareness is a priceless gift. It opens to door to more choice and is a starting point for healing.
- More fulfilling friendships. Age has taught us that time is precious. And with this, we increasingly spend it with those coveted friends, phasing out the obligatory or convenient ones. The depth of these friendships reflects that depth of experiences we have in midlife. Friends that lift us up, and who we lift up in kind, are a priceless gift.
These are but a few delightful gifts that can come with age and experience. Which one would you like to unwrap and wear? Savor it, give yourself the kudos you deserve for earning it, and notice if and how it influences your holiday experience.
Wishing you all a joyful, healthy, and meaningful holiday season, awash in gifts of all kinds.