As The Shawshank Redemption so eloquently told us, we’ve either got to “get busy living, or get busy dying.”
I think those words are particularly poignant for those of us women over 40. Something often happens to us when we hit that particular mile marker. We become…settled. We begin walking through life instead of really living it. We trade adventure and new experiences for routine and comfort. And sometimes that’s what we want. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But often we find something is missing. We look at our lives and ask, “Is this all there is?” Have we really reached a place where it’s time to be settled down, accept the lot we’v been handed and just slowly wait till it’s all over?
Of course not. No matter what your age, life has so much more to offer. There’s always more to experience, to learn, and the opportunity to always keep growing. But it means taking a few risks.
Taking risks in your 20s is easy. Because, really—what do you have to lose? But in your 40s it’s a little more difficult. The fear and the self-doubt sets in. So does the weight of your decisions, and their implications. But even in your 40s, you can still build the life you’ve always wanted. It just takes a little more gumption. A little more effort.
Earlier this year, I realized I hadn’t been making that effort. I’d let my life start slipping away from me. I’d stopped taking the risks. I’d started giving in to the fear. I could see it in every aspect of my life. From how I was running my business, to what I was wearing and how I was spending my weekends. I’d stopped seeking adventure and new experiences, and was settling into the same old dull routine.
When I took close look at my life, I realized it wasn’t enough. There was still more I had to accomplish. More I had to learn. More I simply had to experience. So it was time for me to start taking a few risks.
Some of my risks will be small—like trying a new fashion style, a new recipe, or a new activity. Some will be big—traveling to new places, learning new things, meeting new people. But they all count. Overcoming the fear is battle you fight every day. And like any muscle in your body, I’m convinced that the more you exercise your bravery, the stronger it (and you) will become.
So, it’s time for me to get busy living. Along the way, I’ll chronicle the experiences and hope you’ll find a little inspiration for your own life—the inspiration to take a few risks of your own.