My new mantra

I’m a 40-ish woman. I’m pretty confident that anyone reading this in that age bracket has gone through enough matras over the years to fill a self-help book. In my teens it was all about ‘fit in, fit, fit in.’  Then in my late teens, early twenties it was all about ‘ stand out, stand out, stand out.’  Then it became less about me and all about the world, ‘escape! explore! Seize the day!’
Then my 30’s hit and it was all about being deliciously selfish – ‘be the best. Work hard, play hard.’ Then parenting arrived like a punch in the face and it was all about keeping my sanity. ‘just get throguh each day! Be a better parent tomorrow.”
Now? Now my mantra is not to have a mantra.  I’m so over with mantra’s. I’m done with the litte voice in my head always telling me how to behave, and how I should be. I’m so finished with self-imposed rules and regulations.
And as a kick-start I’m giving something up for Lent. It was going to be baking and dark chocolate and then I realised that the vista of 40 days without the central comfort compenents of my life was too appalling, I opened a packet of Bourneville chocolate and let it go.
So yes. My mantra / lent sacrifice is not to mantra. But I’ve also gone a step further and banned a word. Recently I have banned my middle sparkle from saying the word ‘but’. Everytime i ask her to do something she replies with a sentence beginning with ‘But… I’m doing something / too tired etc etc etc’. So I’ve banned the word. It was easier than banning her.
I’m considering banning rolling eyes too. And the word ‘whatever.’
So I’m now imposing a word ban on myself. I am no longer allowed to use the words “I should be doing……..” When I do something even remotely relaxing, or for myself, those words pop into my head. So now they’re banned.
So no mantra and no ‘I should be doing…..” I’m just going to be. Damn, that sounds like a mantra. Oh well. Let it be.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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