I’m a Grandmother who has lived a big life. And I try to be what I call a ‘elder grandmother’ – a caring custodian who dares to speak up.
In my life I’ve worked hard to build every pillar of a happy life – friendships, career, family and relationships.
Successful yet missing something
Yet despite enviable success, I found myself feeling a deep sense of something missing.
I continue to see the same symptoms in women every day.
This gnawing sense of void pushed me to examine why even when we have it all, we can’t find happiness.
More silk dresses than day wear
When I was 45 I made a very big life change. I was super successful in my career and I had more silk opening night dresses than day wear in my wardrobe. I know that many people envied the life I had.
But they didn’t know the grind of what it was really like working 60-70 hours per week and the exhaustion of having to look good, smile and be everything to everyone.
I came from a background of poverty, I lost my parents young and was discouraged from achievement in my teens.
Letting go of society’s success markers
So to let go of ALL the pillars of success in my life felt like sheer, utter, blo*dy-minded stupidity.
But I did it. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever done. To face my mid-life with an empty hand.
Madness in fact. Something inside bugged me so deeply – there must be something more than this.
I saw similar situations in my friends and the more I looked, in women everywhere.
I saw the women feeling the same sense of emptiness as me leaving often highly successful careers, marriages dissolve and lifelong friendships end.
There seems to be a ticker box scenario.
There are all these external elements that we are ticking off – these pillars of what society defines as success…as happiness.
But we reach a point of great confusion.
Supposed to be happy – yet empty
We find ourselves thinking ‘I have all of these things that are supposed to make me happy but I still feel really empty.’
One of the most challenging things about this scenario is that it is often accompanied by an incredible sense of shame.
This is because we think ‘I have everything. I should be grateful.’
Like me, these women find themselves thinking that there are people starving in the world, so many refugees, people who don’t have a home or beautiful relationship.
Then comes the seemingly inevitable question, ‘What’s wrong with me?’
This is the time of decision.
We find ourselves either trying to maintain the status quo, keeping a sense of safety and routine. Carrying on.
Or we realise these external pillars don’t equate to happiness. We take steps to look internally, asking ourselves a series of confronting questions.
Making a choice
These women choose to begin a journey to change – to transformation.
Both of these decisions take tremendous courage.
My journey began with these kinds of questions, ‘Who am I outside of my career? Who am I outside of my role as a mother?’
‘Whose life am I living?’
The questions than began to address not so much the past and present but my future. I began asking myself:
It is a confronting, sometimes terrifying process, that was ultimately one of the most rewarding in my life.
I began to live my life not for my partner or my child. Nor did I hold my life to society’s expectations of happiness.
Finding your purpose
There is something incredibly inspirational to be deeply connected with a deep and driving passion.
It’s a sense of purpose. Not a purpose lived for any external factor.
It’s actually a deeper connection to the real you and your real reason for being here.
That is truly beautiful.
The only way is deeper
I encourage any woman who is feeling a sense of doubt, a feeling of something missing to have the courage to look deeper and start asking questions.
It can be incredibly empowering.
There is nothing more vital, more beautiful – and more happiness generating – than a woman who is living her true purpose.
A BIG BUTTERFLY THANK YOU
Out of the cocoon and flying - big thank you to my amazing daughter Akira and granddaughter Maitreya, my family, Athena Tarina Heartfull, Razel Wolf, Kristin Viken, Jules Ober, Toni Childs, Linda Overstrom, Sarah Hunt, Amanda Blennerhassett, Prue Blennerhassett, Cass Curran, Phoebe Lines, Lisa Fitzpatrick, Leigh O’Malley, Ankya Klay, Kate Nutt, Helen Paige, Kirstie Fisher, Colin Heaney, Kevin Fitzgerald, Roberto Rojas-Morales, Roxana Minnona and many others. Huge thanks to my wonderful partner Brad Heydon.