We are all guilty of comparison, I know I am. Comparing myself or performance or life or whatever to others rather than recognising my individuality and unique qualities that make up ME.
My next guest in the Over 50 & Thriving Series, surprised me with her response when I asked her to be a contributor. Miriam Blaker from Out an’ About has always seemed so ‘together’, connected with her inner self and talented in so many areas of her life, but her opening paragraph will show that we all have self doubt at times. I was also reminded reading her story, that many of us are going through tough times yet on the outside no one would really know. That shows a great inner strength which we all have and can draw on when we need to.
I haven’t met Miriam, a fellow Aussie, in person but I follow her blog and Instagram and just love her travels within Australia and also her thoughts on inspiring others to follow their dreams. You can connect with Miriam through the links at the end of her article and I would recommend that you do.
Forget Comparison and Shine
When Sue first approached me to write a post for her Over Fifty and Thriving Series I’ll admit, though delighted, my initial response was: “Not sure that I quite live up to some of the inspirational women and stories that I’ve read …” Her reply was “Firstly, stop the comparison, I wouldn’t have asked you to be a guest if I didn’t feel you had a story to tell.” Thank you, Sue. And therein lies the start of my story. I have always compared myself to others.
When I think about it there’s no logical reason why I should feel this way. I’ve lived a relatively ordinary, yet contented life. I’ve studied, worked in various jobs, in the tertiary sector and within the corporate world. I’ve travelled overseas on my own, married a nice guy, raised two beautiful kids to be decent well-adjusted young adults, carved out a successful freelance career and established my own column in a leading Australian travel magazine.
I’ve pursued my dreams and I’m still dreaming of things I want to achieve. So, how is it, that along the way, I’ve felt there was something missing and feelings of self-doubt and lack of self-worth have sabotaged my inner peace. That quote “comparison is the thief of joy” is so true and for many years it stole heavily from my life. However, now, at 53, I’m happy to say that I’m finally breaking free of this comparison.
A couple of years ago, two years on from when I started blogging, I published a post titled Fearless at 52 in which I not only came out of my shell, recorded and sang a song but I wrote the following:
We play so many roles and wear so many hats that we forget what we love, and what makes us tick.
In a nutshell, we get caught up in life. Fast forward 31 years and I’ve been … a daughter, a sister, a student, a rebel, a traveller and a searcher. I’ve been an office worker, a professional, a girlfriend, a vagabonda (as my mum used to call me) and a wife. I’ve been a mother, a nurse, a cook and a cleaner, a stress-head, a taxi driver, a garbologist and psychologist and many things to many people.
Amidst all the roles I’ve played, and still play, I feel like I’m returning to the one that fits me best. Today, as I turn 52, I am simply me. Raw, authentic, imperfect, flawed, passionate, highly-sensitive, frisky, emotional, vulnerable, powerful, fearless me. I feel like something’s woken within me. And I’m ready to take on the world again.
This “awakening” came during one of the hardest periods of my life. During this time my amazing, strong, positive mother passed away after an eighteen-month battle with the ramifications of brain surgery that went horribly wrong. I wrote about it on my blog in The Longest Goodbye, and it was a post that changed the way that I wrote forever.
My beautiful mum gave me the greatest gift. In her silent suffering I found my voice, through my writing and my blog. Watching her quality of life fade away, day after day, yet, so stoic and strong and so accepting made me realise how precious every moment is.
She used to say to me
“Miriam, why don’t you write about something other than just travel”.
So I wrote The Longest Goodbye and read it to her, a poignant moment that I remember so clearly. Afterwards I said to her, “mum, see, I can write more than just travel.” She was, and still is, my inspiration.
Now, two years after mum’s passing my sister (who’s eight years older than me) has been diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. It’s advanced, aggressive and incurable. She seems to have resigned herself to her fate but for me, though devastated, I’m finding it hard to not believe in miracles, to not believe there’s a chance that she could beat this.
I’m forever the optimist but it fades when she presents me with hard facts. Yet, I’m a big believer of what the mind can achieve. I’ve seen the results in my own life. So, all I can do is support her, spend time with her and rejoice in every day that we spend together.
A few weeks ago I took her for a day trip to visit the spectacular Lotus Watergardens in the Yarra Valley and later to the Redwood Forest. It was a special day we spent together in nature and I’m going to try and have many more.
Thriving after 50 is a choice.
I love my life, my family, my close circle of friends and the adventures that I constantly seek out. I’m currently in the process of remodelling and repainting our kitchen however give me a choice and you’ll find me in the mountains, on the beach or camped somewhere, immersed in nature. I’ve spent the last couple of weekends in the beautiful High Country of Victoria, with my daughter who’s just turned 21. With one 18yo son still at home, I’m almost, but not quite, an empty nester.
I’ve thrown myself into reading, meditating, learning and understanding more about a new way of thinking, about changing subconscious limiting beliefs that hold us back. I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason and that through all our ups and downs we learn and grow.
I love the simple things, walking Harry my dog, dark chocolate and red wine, spending time with friends, a good dance workout at Zumba, playing my guitar, seeing live music and of course travelling to new places. After all, a freelance writer needs to keep up the research!
With the kids grown, I often wondered what my new purpose was. Now I understand. With passion and meaning, I’m writing, evolving and forever learning. In my own small way, through my blog posts and articles, and uplifting messages of hope I’d like to think I’m making a difference in this world.
My message is simply this:
you’re never too old to start something new, to learn new ways of thinking, to open your heart, to reinvent yourself, to step out of your comfort zone and take on the world.
It’s never too late to heal yourself, to be active and to feel alive.
As for this comparison, there’s room for everybody to shine in this world. We all have a uniqueness that can never be replicated. I intend to shine on, just as we all do.
I’m a wonder lusting woman, an adventurer and freelance travel writer, passionate about travel, exploring our world and inspiring others to go after their dreams. I’m a big believer in turning ordinary moments into extraordinary ones. musician, a freelance travel writer and magazine columnist. Utterly passionate about travel and life and turning the ordinary moments into the extraordinary. My motto: “Just do it! You only live once.”
Connect with Miriam