Living Your Best Life at Any Age
I was so excited this past weekend to attend the BlogHer17 Conference in Orlando, Florida! I always assume that I will be the oldest person attending these conferences because the blogging world is so full of 20 somethings. In addition to that, I didn't know a single person there! I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I was in good company because I was one of the many 50 somethings there and everyone that I met was so friendly. Every time I step out of my box and do something that makes me feel uncomfortable, I get a little more confident.
While standing in line to register for BlogHer, I met a beautiful woman and her equally beautiful daughter, Dana and Macey. We immediately started talking and were inseparable for the rest of the trip. Dana and I are the same age, and I feel like I have a new sister. We shared stories of our lives and raising children, learned new things together and just had a great time getting to know each other. One thing that Dana and I have in common is that we have a shared passion for living life to the fullest. Over the time that I was in Orlando, I met so many different people that had been through very hard things and were still positive, energetic and excited about life. The theme of the conference was, Women Empowering Women, and the age gap for the most part seemed irrelevant. The younger bloggers have an advantage over me because they all grew up in the age of blogging and computers, and obviously, I did not. They seem to just innately understand things that are very difficult for me to grasp sometimes, but they were all very generous and willing to share their knowledge. We had so many opportunities for education about how to grow our blogs, use Instagram and Facebook Live, and learn how to make money blogging, but the best learning really came from one-on-one conversations with people that we met outside of the learning sessions.
One very interesting conversation that I had was with one of the few men in the group. He was there to network with bloggers and raise awareness for an event that he puts on in Orlando to empower women. He started this event when his mother went through a divorce after being married for 20 some years and he wanted to do something to make the transition for women in the same situation easier. His event is a weekend full of successful, strong women in the Orlando community speaking to all ages, with vendors and lots of networking. I was so impressed by his determination to help to empower all women!
Our encounter with this young man, led to a conversation about why some women struggle with confidence, and their identity in their 50's. Most women who are my age (not millenials) are taught to be caregivers and to put the well being of their families before their own. We work, sometimes full-time jobs, are the primary caregivers for our children, take care of our homes, prepare meals, pay bills, drive carpool and forget that taking care of ourselves is just as important as any of that! Our children grow up and sometimes we realize that we have lost ourselves. I started thinking about how I can encourage women to re-invent themselves at a sometimes difficult time in life. Especially when our whole lives have been about our families and children, and suddenly they have lives of their own and we have time on our hands.
When I say re-invent, I don't necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with who we are, but that there a possibility of taking our life experience and the wisdom gained from that experience and figuring out what we are passionate about. We all love to do something, and are good at many things, but so many of us have focused our time on others, making it difficult to know what the next step needs to be. If we follow our passions and listen to that little voice inside, usually what comes up is a way to contribute to society and give back in some way. When we are passionate about something, it usually translates into service to others, whether it's writing a blog and sharing recipes, inspiration, etc., volunteering in our communities, serving on a board or starting a book club or a business!
Through it all, one of the most important things to realize, no matter what the situation, is that taking care of ourselves is not selfish, but the best gift we can give to our families and the people who love us. I want my children to be proud of me. I want them to know that life can be so great as they get older and that enjoying every stage of life right where you are is what we all should be doing. One of the things that I heard often at the BlogHer Conference was "to go out and be you". I encourage everyone who might be reading this, no matter what their age to "go out and be you"! We can't ever control someone else's actions, and we shouldn't let them affect us in our lives. Everyone has their crap to deal with, and we all need to be responsible for our own happiness. Just think what a different place the world would be if every single person focused on how to be personally happy and stopped worrying so much about what everyone around them was doing. When you meet a happy person, you immediately feel happier yourself! It's contagious!
The line-up of speakers at BlogHer was amazing including, Chelsea Clinton, Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood of America, Serena Williams, Yasmeen Hassan, the global executive director of Equality Now, and many more. So much of what these women spoke about was the plight of women in the world. Not only in other countries, but right here in the United States. I was shocked to learn some of the statistics! Even though some of the facts we learned were truly horrible, it was very empowering to be in a room with 2500 women (and a few men), learning about what we can all do to help. The most important takeaway for me was that we have to support each other as women, take care of each other and ourselves. Women are strong and have been undervalued in society for too long. That is changing on so many levels because women are coming together for the common cause of helping each other. We are raising strong children, boys and girls, with different attitudes about equality.
Are you wondering what the next step will be for you? One small step every day in the direction of your passion is all it takes to start to build momentum. What will you do with your life? No matter who you are or what your circumstances, there is an opportunity to make the most of this one chance to have a great life.
I'm heading to Bald Head Island today and I'll be blogging from there! Thanks so much for reading today! I would love to know your thoughts on this post! Leave your comments in the box below and follow me on Instagram @crazyblondelifeblog.