By Melissa Jeffcott
One of my earliest memories is around 6 or 7 years old, and being asked to take a piece of writing I had done to the school principal's office. It was about some magpies, and I used some sweet descriptive words like swooping and swiftly, thereby becoming the toast of the Grade One literati (Population: me). I received Principal's highly coveted blue Excellent stamp bordered with stuck on gold stars- a double whammy of awesomeness in my brain. I was then asked to go class to class and read my work out to all the other grades, something that appealed to my already developing extrovert ego whilst simultaneously scaring the pants off my shy introverted exterior.
From then on in my mind, writing was something that was inextricably linked to being good and getting attention, and throughout my childhood and teenage years I loved to put pen to paper. Funny stories, heartfelt tales, murder mysteries, and historical drama were all part of my repertoire (not to be confused with the hysterical drama that made up my teenage journal). There was no doubting that writing was a part of the essence of what made me feel complete and unique.
But sadly as I entered into the adult world, I left this important part of myself behind, along with my handy skills with a basketball, and the ability to eat whatever I pleased without gaining weight. I'm not sure why, but I think I just got caught up in the doing (aka going out, partying, studying, working, repeat) rather that the reflecting and processing. As time went by, and overseas travel entered my realm, writing briefly came back to me, as in those days there was no internet to tell everyone your exact whereabouts at all times. In fact, if I didn’t utilise Post Restante (look in up in the antique section of Wikipedia kids) then my friends and family may never have known I was alive for months on end.
Like many women, my thirties were taken up with child rearing, wrangling, and the never ending balance between trying to keep my study/career in the picture, be there for my kids, and occasionally go to the toilet uninterrupted. This is a time where many women start a blog, and realise much to their relief that there are lots of mums who feel the same way they do. But to be honest, I really had very little idea about blogs or the concept of blogging up until a about year ago (never look to me to be at the start of a trend- I was trying to bring back flares and peace signs in the 90’s)
In an effort to rediscover my writing mojo, I joined an online blogging course (Bright-eyed & Blog-hearted) last year, and with the continual support and enthusiasm of the related Facebook group, I pressed publish on my first post. That was nearly four months ago now, and I have to say that it is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Even if no one read a single thing I wrote, the very act of putting pen to paper again (finger to keyboard just doesn’t sound as romantic) has been truly liberating for me. But, in a very gratefully received added bonus, some people have actually enjoyed my writing and I have to say that makes me feel very happy.
So if you are on the other side of forty and think blogging is just for twenty something long legged green smoothie toting yoga goddesses, or wine guzzling toddler taming sleep deprived mamas in their thirties, think again (and yes I know I just stereotyped 2 decades of bloggers in one sentence- hey, I'm a writer, call it creative licence!) I think being over forty is the perfect time to start a blog (if you haven't already) and here are a few reasons why.
You know yourself better. In your forties you tend to be more sure of who you are, what you like and what makes you happy. Therefore, you can write from your point of view of the world with a sense of authenticity and uniqueness (and lets face it that is what makes a good blogger stand out from the crowd).
There is a demographic out there waiting to hear from you. There don't actually seem to be many women blogging about life in their forties, which is a shame because I think it's a great time of life. Generally speaking, your kids (if you have them) are a bit older, and you have a bit more time to stop and think about what it is you truly want out of the rest of your life. Many women I know of this age seem to be entering a transformative period, where they are questioning and reflecting on different facets of their lives, such as their relationships, career, and self. Reading about other women going through similar issues can certainly make it easier for someone to feel supported and more ready to step outside their own comfort zone.
You don't tend to care about what people think as much as you used to. What I have noticed in my blogging group, is the absolute fear some younger women have of putting themselves out there. As I have mentioned in many of my posts before, I truly believe that most people don't care about what you do nearly so much as you think they will. I look at it like this, you either like my style of writing, enjoy reading it, have a chuckle to yourself, make a comment if you feel inclined, and then go on your merry way, hopefully to return in a weeks time to read the next post. That all makes me feel very happy. Or, you take a look at my blog, think no thanks, that's not for me and move on. That doesn't really bother me too much. When you look at it like that, it isn't actually so scary to press publish and put yourself out there.
So, there you have it, I may not be everyones cup of tea, but I'm speaking my own truth and feeling good about it. Writing and blogging have given me a new lease of life on the other side of forty- so who wants to join me?
Melissa Jeffcott is a mother of three and life coach helping women on the other side of forty reignite their spark for life. With a background in psychology, and current training as a certified life coach, Melissa aims to help empower women going though the often transformative time of entering your forties and beyond. On her website, Melissa writes about life as she sees it, with plenty of heart and a sprinkling of humour. Melissa is somewhat addicted to social media, and will happily say hello on Facebook, and Instagram.
Images: Natalie Jeffcott