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I’m Forty, What Next?

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All my life I’ve been a planner. I’m a Capricorn, and part of our makeup is that we are meticulous planners. I planned my Business degree to give me maximum potential for my future working career, then I spent my twenties working hard at that career, planning strategic moves to get promoted, as well as setting my sights on finding and settling down with ‘the one’. Having found him I then spent my thirties planning for and having the babies – then the rest of my thirties raising and tidying up after them all.

And now I’m in my early forties

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I have found myself pondering lately…SO WHAT NEXT?

Because I never thought beyond this bit. Ever. I never once sat down and thought, “So, forty to retirement, what will that look like for me?”.

I have to say, that I may be in the midst of a mini-mid-life-crisis. Not the type where you seek out a lover or a tattoo, (and I am not at all unhappy), but more of a ‘what-next-for-me’ predicament of sorts.

As my children need me far less (I mean, they still need me, and of course Motherhood is always my number one focus and reason for being),

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but as they physically need me less I’m finding myself with more time on my hands.

I could have more hobbies. I could do more on my own – but what exactly do I want to do? What IS Jess all about?

Other questions now go through my head. Is HR the career for me until retirement? Could I achieve more than this? Should I be doing more good in the world? Am I a decent person?

I guess it’s a point that a lot of women hit, regardless of age – when Motherhood suddenly starts to feel different and you can unexpectedly focus on yourself once more.

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When you’ve given your entire self to conceiving, carrying and raising babies; nurturing them, caring for them, protecting them, wiping up after them (so much wiping!), the shift in mindset is hard to process once your infants grow up.

Motherhood is wonderful and incredible, but it organically takes you from a young woman, (focused mostly on her own needs), into a completely self-less one, who puts everybody but themselves first. When the tide slowly turns back again, it’s hard to know how to deal with the change.

Maybe I will become a runner.

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Perhaps I will write more, (something I had no time to do during the early baby years). I should probably tackle that large pile of books now.

What else, is yet to be decided. There are still ideas whirring around in my mind, especially at 6.30am when the house is in utter silence, or at late at night when my eyes close on a busy day and my mind leaps into action. Process, process, process.

What post-forty looks and feels like for me is now ultimately in my hands. No-one can tell me what to do next, no-one can help me get there. I could go at it

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with full-steam ahead or I could take my foot off for a bit and sit back and enjoy what I’ve worked so damn hard for all these years.

It’s exciting, scary, daunting. This is the bit I didn’t plan for.

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Jess Soothill

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- 16 Feb 21

All my life I’ve been a planner. I’m a Capricorn, and part of our makeup is that we are meticulous planners. I planned my Business degree to give me maximum potential for my future working career, then I spent my twenties working hard at that career, planning strategic moves to get promoted, as well as setting my sights on finding and settling down with ‘the one’. Having found him I then spent my thirties planning for and having the babies – then the rest of my thirties raising and tidying up after them all.

And now I’m in my early forties I have found myself pondering lately…SO WHAT NEXT?

Because I never thought beyond this bit. Ever. I never once sat down and thought, “So, forty to retirement, what will that look like for me?”.

I have to say, that I may be in the midst of a mini-mid-life-crisis. Not the type where you seek out a lover or a tattoo, (and I am not at all unhappy), but more of a ‘what-next-for-me’ predicament of sorts.

As my children need me far less (I mean, they still need me, and of course Motherhood is always my number one focus and reason for being), but as they physically need me less I’m finding myself with more time on my hands.

I could have more hobbies. I could do more on my own – but what exactly do I want to do? What IS Jess all about?

Other questions now go through my head. Is HR the career for me until retirement? Could I achieve more than this? Should I be doing more good in the world? Am I a decent person?

I guess it’s a point that a lot of women hit, regardless of age – when Motherhood suddenly starts to feel different and you can unexpectedly focus on yourself once more. When you’ve given your entire self to conceiving, carrying and raising babies; nurturing them, caring for them, protecting them, wiping up after them (so much wiping!), the shift in mindset is hard to process once your infants grow up.

Motherhood is wonderful and incredible, but it organically takes you from a young woman, (focused mostly on her own needs), into a completely self-less one, who puts everybody but themselves first. When the tide slowly turns back again, it’s hard to know how to deal with the change.

Maybe I will become a runner. Perhaps I will write more, (something I had no time to do during the early baby years). I should probably tackle that large pile of books now.

What else, is yet to be decided. There are still ideas whirring around in my mind, especially at 6.30am when the house is in utter silence, or at late at night when my eyes close on a busy day and my mind leaps into action. Process, process, process.

What post-forty looks and feels like for me is now ultimately in my hands. No-one can tell me what to do next, no-one can help me get there. I could go at it with full-steam ahead or I could take my foot off for a bit and sit back and enjoy what I’ve worked so damn hard for all these years.

It’s exciting, scary, daunting. This is the bit I didn’t plan for.

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Jess Soothill

Hi, I’m Jess a Mum of boy and girl twins. I work part-time in HR and I'm a writer.

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