Amy Schmidt’s new book, Cannonball! Fearlessly Facing Midlife and Beyond helps us to draw on inner reserves of courage as we face the changes wrought by menopause and midlife. She tells us more in her guest post below – enjoy!
Watch me now…..
By Amy Schmidt
Think back to those hot summer days when you couldn’t wait to get to the pool. Your mom would lather you with sunscreen, and you’d be kicking off your flip flops as you were running to the edge of the pool to jump in the water.
“Watch me. Look at me.” You would yell to your mom as she was trying to find a lawn chair around the edge of the pool, and they were few and far between, as everyone wanted to be at the pool that hot, summer day.
Now bring your mind to you where you are now on your journey. It’s a hot summer day and you are ready to head to the pool and jump in the water. Maybe you’re ready to climb to the top of the high dive and jump off like you did as a kid, but something is holding you back.
What’s holding you back from jumping in again and again, and wanting everyone to watch you?
Is it fear? Is it that good old perfectionism thing or wondering if everyone will watch you, and realizing it might not be pretty? Are worried about getting yourself up the ladder at the side of the pool?
Why do we get stuck on the third rung of the ladder?
Fear sets in at midlife, and all of those crazy changes we go through at menopause.
My first tried and true panic attack happened to me at 44, right at the time I entered peri menopause. I was standing in my Dad’s hospital room after flying from Germany to the U.S., desperately wanting to make it in time to say good-bye. I don’t remember a thing about my flight across the Atlantic that day. I just knew I wanted to get there yesterday. I just couldn’t get there quick enough.
I can remember the day like it was yesterday, as I walked the long, bright hallway of the ICU. Beeping and buzzing sounds still replay in my mind.
I remember the feeling of panic come over me. Shortness of breath, and the room closing in. I felt like I had to escape. I crumbled to the floor just outside his hospital room, feeling as though I couldn’t breathe. My brother came and sat next to me. He threw his arms around me and said, “Amykins, he knows you’re here. He’s so proud of you. And he wants you to write that damn book. Don’t let fear overtake you. You got this.”
Fear had set in for me many times along my journey. The fear of not being perfect. The fear of not making the right choice for my kids, or my family.
Why was fear getting in my way?
For many women at midlife and beyond, we feel like time has passed us by. We get stuck in the would have, could have and should have. We look in the mirror and see the face of a 50 year old, and not the face of a twenty-something that used to be….
For me, this stage of life had challenges. The loss of both of my parents. The health hiccups and wake up calls around weight gain and blood pressure that seemed to creep up out of nowhere. Times of great anxiety which was something I wasn’t used to experiencing.
We all share commonalities at this stage of life and together we are a force. If we open the dialogue on things that scare us, or experiences that we have that stop us in our tracks…we form a community of power and greatness.
When I started to write Cannonball! Fearlessly Facing Midlife and Beyond, I started and stopped too many times to mention. I would begin to overthink things, and wonder who would read it? Would it be okay if I share my journey? Would people judge me?
Those times when I started to second guess myself were a wake up call for me. I was passionate about my message and sharing my story. I have always had a heart for encouraging others, and if my story could allow others to reflect on their journeys, and begin to create their highlight reels, I had done my job.
I think back to my brother holding me tight on the cold hospital floor, encouraging me to publish the book that I had always wanted to write.
The power of connections and community at this time in life is so valuable. It creates a safe place, and can empower others to propel to their next challenge whatever that looks like for them. They can be inspired to further their journey, whether it’s going back to school, or trying something new, adjust to a new relationship, whatever that looks like for your circumstances….since no two are the same.
On those days when we want to pull the covers over our heads, or we get stopped at the third rung of the ladder, we need to use these six words. GET UP. GET DRESSED. GET GOING.
On those days when fear and panic set in, take a deep breath. Revel in your accomplishments and savor those experiences.
Think of two things you want to accomplish that day and set out to do it. If plans go a different way, don’t give in, just simply recalibrate and forge ahead.
We got this. Let’s climb to that very top of the ladder of the high dive. Run to the edge. Wrap our arms around our legs. It won’t be comfortable and we have to start ugly at times….but Cannonball off that high dive with confidence. When everyone is watching as the water spills over the edge. Make your splash with confidence.
I’ll meet you there.
Be sure to check out Amy’s website Fearlessly Facing Fifty and listen to her podcast.