From Hot Flashes to Cold Hard Truths: My Plan to Escape Midlife Madness

Something happened recently that has never happened to me in my 42 years. I completely forgot about an appointment.

It was Monday morning and my last “day off.” I woke up at 9am after an unusually good sleep and was having a cup of tea, catching up on TOWIE. I picked up my phone and saw that I had a lash appointment booked for 9:30. It was 9:27

I completely freaked out. I knew I had a lash appointment; I remembered thinking the day before that I needed to set my alarm for the morning as I had turned it off. Apparently, I had forgotten to do that as well.

I messaged Zoe, mortified; I was still shocked at what had happened. Fortunately, she was very understanding and rebooked my appointment for Wednesday morning. Despite this, I mentally berated myself for the rest of the day. Not a great start to my final day off, or my week for that matter.

As the evening set in and I’d let out my emotions in a crying session and prepared myself to dive back into the world of work the next day.

My eye started to feel a bit tender, when I looked in the mirror, it was slightly swollen. I put it down to my earlier emotions and went to bed.

The following morning, the eye was a little red and swollen but I went out for a walk, determined to get the working week off to a better start.

I love being out in the morning. It allows me to think clearly about where my head is at. That morning, I wondered why I didn’t feel a sense of accomplishment with everything I had achieved so far.

I get to work from home, work my own hours, and do my dream job. These are all things I have dreamed of. I have achieved a massive goal, so why didn’t I feel the satisfaction I expected? It’s annoying!

Then I realised that perhaps it’s my expectations that are the problem. I expected to feel a certain way, and because I don’t feel that way, I feel like a failure. I certainly did not expect to feel like a failure after achieving one of my life goals.

The topic of being a failure then branched out further. Thanks, brain. I have known for some time that I must make lifestyle changes. I feel like crap physically and mentally when I eat rubbish or drink alcohol, not something that used to happen to me before, or at least not enough for me to notice.

I need to nourish my body with the right food and exercise but rather than have fruit and yoghurt for breakfast and other things I know that are good for me, I want Coke Zero and biscuits which make me feel like shit!

All of this is self-sabotaging behaviour because, deep down, I don’t believe I deserve to be successful or happy. If I am honest, even when writing this, my initial concern was worrying that people who read this would be rolling their eyes and thinking, “This again, isn’t she over all that yet?”

Then I realised with a jolt of clarity it’s not the reader thinking that, it’s me. Well, not me, but that inner critic, that voice from the past. Let’s go back to my chimp name, Barry, for continuity. The point is, that voice is coming from inside, not outside, where I keep projecting it.

The following day, after yet another early wake-up, which is now becoming the norm, at least on days when I don’t have to get up! I was tired. I had planned to exercise and was torn between being kind to myself by giving myself a break and pushing myself out of my comfort zone and just doing it.

How do I find the right balance? What is the right thing to do? How do I know if I am being Lazy (Barry’s words) or if I genuinely need a rest, and how do I not see the difference?

If I push myself, I could stress my body. If I rest, I stress my mind because I don’t know how to be self-compassionate. I’m not even joking. I can tell myself, “It’s ok; you need to rest; you deserve it.” oh yeah, I can say those words out loud if I need to, but I don’t believe them, not a single one.

Whilst those words trip off the tongue, Barry, is whispering in my ear telling me I am lazy, that he knew I wouldn’t do it, what is the point in trying? I will never stick to anything because I am not good enough and I don’t deserve to be happy.

I accept and believe those words, just as I accept and believe that the sky is blue (on most days) despite evidence to the contrary.

But what I don’t accept anymore is Barry. I want him gone. I want that voice burned and the ashes dissolved in acid, never to be heard from again. If I can work on removing Barry, I will be free to work on my goals and enjoy achieving them.

I’m not doing all of this hard work to fuel Barry’s bloody fire. I’m doing it for me. Because I bloody do deserve it – and I hope that one day I can truly believe that.

So on the subject of moving forward, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: my lifestyle needs an overhaul. I can no longer ignore the fact that how I have been treating my body for the last 40-odd years no longer works for me.

I don’t want to feel like half a person in the next 40 years. I want to feel energetic, upbeat, and have a zest for life, and that’s not going to happen by quaffing wine and scoffing takeaways as I have been.

I also want to focus on my business, paying off my debt, and, most importantly, I want feel like myself again. I don’t want to live the rest of my life feeling like half a human.

The best thing I can do is to close my diary for the next two months. The build-up to Christmas is always overwhelming, and I don’t need the added pressure right now.

I have something in my diary every week until Christmas, so it’s not like I’ll stay in completely, but I will decline any further invites to save my sanity!

I am going to avoid alcohol as much as I can in December and do a dry January (with the exception of the bestie’s birthday) and hope that this leads to a new path for my health and lifestyle.

The reduction of alcohol will positively affect other areas, such as my eating habits, mood and general health and well-being.

I have also been toying with the idea of starting an accountability group, so if that interests you, drop me a message, and I will look into some options.

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