Over 50 & Thriving Series

Forget Comparison and Shine

May 2, 2019
Stop the Comparison and Shine

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.

Meet Miriam

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

My blog:  Out an’ About – Loving Life On and Off the Tracks

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29 Comments

  • Reply Toni Pike May 2, 2019 at 07:28

    What a wonderful, inspirational message!

    • Reply Miriam May 2, 2019 at 14:09

      Thanks very much Toni.

  • Reply Deborah May 2, 2019 at 10:21

    Miriam and Sue, I really love this. I think I’ve been really struggling with my identity since deciding I didn’t want it to be solely focussed around whatever it is I’m doing as a job. I always blame the fact I’m not a mother / wife / partner but conscious that it’s also a lack of a sense of self and that’s something I need to work on.

    • Reply Miriam May 2, 2019 at 14:11

      Hi Deborah, I think sometimes we get caught up in thinking our identity is linked to our job. Just as we do when we’re a mum or a partner etc. It’s an ongoing process discovering who we are and creating our best self. All the best to you and thanks for reading.

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au May 2, 2019 at 11:25

    Hi Miriam – lovely to meet you and a lot of what you wrote resonated strongly with me. I think 50 was a turning point for me as far as rediscovering myself and being kinder to “me” . I started blogging at 52 and that opened a whole new world for me and I haven’t looked back since. I still struggle with comparison and perfectionism and wanting everything to work out – but we live as imperfect people in an imperfect world, so we do what we can and in the process we live and laugh and grow – and thrive! xxxx

    • Reply Miriam May 2, 2019 at 14:20

      I love your last sentence Leanne! It’s so very true. And yes, 50 was a turning point for me too. As was choosing to take a different path, after my last conventional job turned out to be a disaster. But it’s all been a work in process and I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason. I’m also happy to say that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else today (except for maybe a beach in Hawaii lol.) Thanks for your comment. Great to hear from other like minded women. xx

  • Reply Miriam May 2, 2019 at 14:07

    Thanks so much Sue for inviting me to be a guest on your Over 50 and Thriving Series and for putting this together so well. Delighted to be included amongst your very inspiring community.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 3, 2019 at 09:17

      Hi Miriam, it is my pleasure. You can see how popular your story is and I found it very inspiring. I love your writing and I’m a huge fan. Thank you for being my guest and have a beautiful weekend. xx

      • Reply Miriam May 3, 2019 at 13:20

        The feeling is very mutual Sue. You have a wonderful weekend too. xx

  • Reply Retirement Reflections May 2, 2019 at 14:47

    Hi, Miriam – It is wonderful to see you here on Sue’s site. What wonderful advice from your Mom. Following your posts, I am glad that you write about travel….and so much more!

    • Reply Miriam May 2, 2019 at 20:25

      Thanks so much Donna. Yes, mum’s words still ring very loud and true in my mind and I’m glad I followed her advice. Writing, and blogging in particular, has opened up my life in ways I never would have imagined. xx

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle May 2, 2019 at 15:51

    It was so lovely to meet you Miriam (thanks Sue!). Turning 50 has changed me in so many ways. It’s kind of the decade where you take a good hard look at how you’re living life and reassess. It’s also a time to prioritise yourself and take better care of ourselves. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your Mum. I lost my Dad in December 2017 and so can relate very much to the process of watching them decline and then the grief once they are gone. I also can relate to ‘comparing oneself to others’. I do it all the time and I always am not as good as them in one way or another. Just recently I went to a blogging event and felt that I was not worthy of being there (imposter syndrome). Everyone else had more followers, were more talented, more outgoing, more creative, younger and cuter, better this, better that. So yep I get it. I also know to ignore that voice inside me that tells me that stuff as it IS the thief of joy (that quote is so true). xo

    • Reply Miriam May 2, 2019 at 20:33

      Hi Min, I’m with you. Turning 50 somehow shakes us up a bit and makes us reassess how we’ve been living our life. I’m sorry to hear about your loss as well. It’s hard losing a parent, or anyone we love for that matter. As for these comparisons, it’s almost human nature to compare but I’m slowly realising, especially in this vast world of social media, that the best we can do for ourselves is focus on ourselves. We’re ALL worthy, regardless of the number of followers we have. Comparison might be the thief of joy but we can grab it back! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  • Reply Denyse Whelan May 2, 2019 at 19:21

    Oh what a real and joyous post to read. Thanks for sharing Miriam’s work Sue. I want to read your post that’s embedded in this one. Losing your Mum and now the prospect of your sister too is one heck of a load to carry. I wish you as many gorgeous moments as you can grab as life moves on in its mysterious ways.

    Denyse x

    • Reply Miriam May 3, 2019 at 09:00

      Hi Denyse, yes, life goes on and I guess it’s up to us to make the most of every single day. Thanks so much for reading and for your kind words. xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 3, 2019 at 09:20

      Hi Denyse, joyous is the perfect word for Miriam’s post. I also can empathize with her as losing my Mum, Dad and Brother all to cancer in their mid 60s is something that actually comes to mind each birthday now that I have reached 60. Miriam is just such a beautiful soul. xx

  • Reply Candi Randolph May 2, 2019 at 20:09

    Thank you for sharing with us, Mariam, you are a strong woman with a passion for life! I agree that you are never too old to learn something new…to grow and develop as a person. That is what life is all about.

    • Reply Miriam May 3, 2019 at 09:04

      Hi Candi, I couldn’t agree more with you. Life’s all about stepping out of our comfort zone, learning and growing as a person. Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment.

  • Reply Debbie May 3, 2019 at 10:31

    It’s so lovely to see Miriam here Sue! I love reading her blog and have actually met her in real life and can honestly say she is just as amazing, awesome and inspirational as she is in her blog! Miriam always has the right things to say and we are both on a similar path. I love her message here and her blog is a real joy. Thinking of you Miriam as you go through this next bit of life with your sister, I remember getting to know you through your mother’s illness and am sending lots of love your way. xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 3, 2019 at 12:29

      She is a lovely person isn’t she, Deb? I haven’t met her but love following her blog. x

    • Reply Miriam May 3, 2019 at 13:17

      Aww Deb, you’re so kind (just like Sue). Thank you so much for your lovely words here. You know that I feel the same about you and I love your blog too. I’m so glad we met in person, it’s honestly one of the best parts of blogging isn’t it, meeting other like minded people. Love and hugs back to you. Have a great weekend. xx

  • Reply Kathy Marris May 3, 2019 at 16:27

    I so agree with awakenings happening during difficult phases in your life. I had this experience 5 years ago and I completely changed my life as a result. These days, being a 62 year old, I’m feeling much more comfortable with myself as a person, however sometimes I do get hung up on “body issues”. I wish I could just accept my body and be thankful that I’m happy and healthy.

    • Reply Miriam May 4, 2019 at 20:30

      Hi Kathy, isn’t it amazing that, even as we get older, we can still get hung up on body issues. But I’m glad to hear that you’re feeling more comfortable with yourself. It’s a life long journey isn’t it. Thanks for your comment.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 5, 2019 at 09:09

      Hi Kathy, all you need to do is look at that gorgeous photo of yourself. I understand the body issues I have those too but you are beautiful the way you are and you are looking after your health and wellbeing plus enjoying life. Now with a grandchild on the way life is great for you! xx

  • Reply Nancy W Dobbins May 4, 2019 at 00:25

    Hi Miriam,
    It’s so great to see you here on Sue’s blog!
    I found your message so relevant to me…
    “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.”
    This is exactly how I feel; that and that thriving over 50 is a choice – as is happiness.
    Thank you for this lovely, thoughtful post, and to you, Sue, for inviting her!

    • Reply Miriam May 4, 2019 at 20:34

      I’m so glad my post resonated with you Nancy. Thank you for your very kind words and yes, it’s all a choice isn’t it, how we live, our mindset and making the best out of every situation. Keep smiling and thriving. xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 5, 2019 at 09:14

      Hi Nancy, I love Miriam and her attitude to life. She is a beautiful soul. xx

  • Reply Pat May 4, 2019 at 05:38

    Miriam Very inspiring! I continue to struggle with identity and “leaving a legacy” since retirement. I think not having kids (by choice) makes this even more of a challenge. But I also do believe everything happens for a reason. So I continue living the life I’ve laid out, and becoming aware of when I’m putting my own limiting beliefs in the way. And I agree with Sue, you do live up to the company you’re in.

    • Reply Miriam May 4, 2019 at 20:39

      Hi Pat, we all have those limiting beliefs don’t we, regardless of where we are in life. I struggled so much with issues of identity and purpose for many years. Like you, however, I’m also a big believer that everything happens for a reason and that we’re all exactly where we’re meant to be. Warmest wishes to you and thanks so much for dropping by.

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