By Kay Newton
Menopause reminds us that while we still have time left if we want to do something else, we better get our skates on! Rachel Lankester started putting her skates on when an early menopause at 41 prompted her to start questioning everything about herself and her future role in the world.
She went on to launch the online hub Magnificent Midlife, celebrating and empowering women in midlife and beyond, and is now a midlife mentor helping women create magnificent next chapters.
Rachel and I both agreed there is nothing like a global pandemic to make you realise exactly what does and doesn’t matter, and what you actually need! It also reminds you daily of your own mortality.
“I reckon the potentially biggest impact of COVID-19 will be that we have had the time and environment in which to contemplate a new ‘normal’ for both the world and ourselves,” says Rachel, who is also the editor of The Mutton Club e-zine and the host of the Magnificent Midlife Podcast.
She adds: “I don’t find this depressing, I find it really exciting. Finally, the world seems to be waking up to the possibilities of difference. I don’t want to go back to ‘normal’. I was already determined to make my life the best it could possibly be, but now I feel even more inspired to just get on with it. No more wasting time!”
The 53-year-old believes the lockdowns around the world may have restricted our movements but that doesn’t need to restrict planning the next chapter of our lives. “Darwin proved long ago that it’s not how strong you are that determines your survival, but the extent to which you are able to adapt to change,” she points out.
Use Rachel’s points below to make sure you’re on the right track towards the new chapter in your life:
- Start with your values. Find a good extensive list – Brené Brown has a great one. Take time to work out your top three. There’s no point in creating a sparkly new next chapter that isn’t aligned with your values.
- Understand your strengths. We often go through life focused on improving our weaknesses. But if we can align what we do with what we’re best at, we’re likely to be much happier. The Clifton Strengths Finder is fantastic for this.
- How do you want to feel in various areas of your life – career, money, home, sustainability, fitness, food, sensuality, interests, education, hobbies, romance, relationships, family, community, soul, faith, intuition? Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map work is great for this. Brainstorm feeling words that inspire and empower you. What feelings do you not want to feel? Find a journal and write down your thoughts. Let your subconscious mind take over and guide you.
- Create your Chuck-It List (the opposite of a Bucket List). What don’t you want? What do you never want to do ever again? What will you do to stop yourself having to do that ever again? Just write whatever comes to mind.
- Start dreaming. Remember, you’re never too old and it’s never too late. Make an inventory of all the things you love doing and all the things you’re good at. What do people always ask you to do? Write everything down. You’ll find the gold for what will create a magnificent next chapter in the intersection between what you’re good at and what you love – your ikigai as the Japanese call it. It’s thought to be the secret to a long and happy life, and centres on the central core of making life meaningful.