A year ago, I was one of fifty over-50 bloggers (and the only Irish one) to launch The Fierce 50 Movement worldwide. This has now evolved into Forever Fierce: The Midlife Revolution, embracing all women at that empowering stage of their lives and has now grown to almost 5,000 members around the globe. I’m delighted that the Irish involvement has also expanded considerably.
My two previous posts featured two women who shared why they were FIERCE at midlife. Their stories resonated hugely with many of you but, if you missed them, you can read Marie’s story HERE and Jennifer’s HERE.
Today, exactly a year after our launch, I am using my platform to share the answers of five more strong, fabulous, Irish women to the question below:
What does it mean to be FIERCE at midlife?
Their stories will give you hope, and fill you with admiration for they are all courageous and feisty women.
1 Kerry Manning-Colson
Midlife has presented me with challenges. Lots of them – from health challenges, to a marriage break-up, dating in my fifties and the inevitable progress of time. My hair has turned silver in parts, my neck has sagged and hair has sprouted where it shouldn’t.
I am fiercely determined to be fabulous despite it all. I honestly believe that no matter what is thrown at you – you have a choice. Embrace it with as much positive energy as you can muster (and that isn’t always easy), or you can let midlife steamroller you.
Yes, I have a walking stick – but it is a stylish one! I embrace fabulous fashion, travel, food and all that life offers me. Hopefully inspiring other woman to be fierce in the face of midlife.
It is in the face of the harder things that you learn how to really be fierce.
2 Deborah Blacoe
Freedom, liberation, emancipation. All words which have connotations of a former struggle. All words which conjure up pictures of the just reward for belief in a ‘cause’ or the search for equality. They are not words which one would automatically connect to a middle-aged woman, living out her life as a stay-at-home housewife in an upmarket, manicured suburb of Ireland’s capital city, Dublin.
And yet, when I consider my present state of mind, my self-belief, these words and all the synonyms which could possibly be used to represent their meaning, I can absolutely pay testament that they represent me, a fifty plus woman who, to all intents and purposes, has become invisible to the rest of the world. I am invisible because I am deemed to be inherently ‘barren’, useless and past my sell-by date.
I am not worried about this perception. It is exactly this conceit which has given me my freedom. My freedom to be fierce, to be present, to be true to myself. In short, middle age has made me fierce. If I am considered invisible, surely no one will mind if I become a little eccentric? No one should care if I speak my mind, no one should be upset if I choose to disagree with the majority? I can now own my own thoughts, my own beliefs, my own feelings, because I have reached a point where I have finished the battle for position and for credibility.
Age and experience has given me a status of perspicacity which cannot be achieved except through maturity. I have fought the battles, I have cried the tears, I have juggled the balls, and I survived. I have battle scars, but they only serve to remind me that life gave me hurdles and I jumped over them. I am woman and I am fierce.
3 Marie McCabe
When I think of the word fierce and relate it to me and where my life is now, I think of it as a very strong sense of myself that comes right from the core of my being. At 61, I’m totally at ease with who I am and where I’m at in my life. This strong sense of myself hasn’t come easy. It’s evolved over a lifetime filled with many challenges along the way. However, everything that I’ve lived through has made me who I am today.
I like to think that I’m a kind and loving person and help in my own small way to make life more pleasant for those with whom I interact on a daily basis. I’m reminded of one of my late mother-in-law’s many wonderful sayings……’whoever you are be noble; whatever you do do well; whenever you speak, speak kindly; give joy wherever you dwell’…… Beautiful Eileen was in my life for 12 precious years and left an indelible mark on my being and my soul.
Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says “Oh crap, she’s up”!
Being fierce to me is about standing in my personal power and boy that feels good. No longer affected by the judgements or perceptions of others, my biggest question has become “What is non-negotiable for me”.
In other words, what does the empowered woman I have grown into need in order to function and be who she wants to be?
Being assertive is so much more powerful than being passive aggressive and bearing in mind the term “we reap what we sow”, my journey into assertiveness has been extremely rewarding. I am better in and with relationships as I am not looking for someone to fulfil something in me that I needed to fulfil in myself.
Being fierce at any age is good, being fierce at 50+ is empowering!
5 Anna de Marigny
New beginnings and reinvention pose a challenge at any stage in life but more so, I think, when we hit 50.
When my marriage of 20 years was standing dissolved along with my husband’s business and my sense of stability, I felt as if I was driving a car, which careered downhill with the brakes failing.
It was a dark time, and only my sense of responsibility towards my two lovely daughters and my work as a secondary school teacher kept me from crashing totally.
I was born in Ireland because the maverick rugby-loving Galway father was keen to have a son to play rugby for Ireland. My parents always referred to Ireland as “Home” even though home for us was Durban, South Africa, where we were brought up.
My mum had moved back to Galway after my dad had passed away, so I was eager to be there to help her as well. I took the plunge and arrived in Ireland in early 2008 just as the country was about to experience the worse recession in decades. Initially, substitute teaching was a great option but by 2009, due to budget cuts in education, it had all but dried up.
I lay awake wondering if I had made the biggest mistake of my life trying to re-invent myself in my 50s. I knew I didn’t want to be on my own, but also aware that meeting the right person at my stage of life wouldn’t be easy. So I registered for match.com and embarked on a series of coffee, lunch and dinner dates, one or two of which evolved into slightly longer relationships which were never quite right.
And then, I met a Galway man and having heard each other’s backstories, we discovered that our aunts were friends since childhood. He was thoughtful, intensely likeable and made me laugh till I cried.
We married last year, in a quiet ceremony in Ballyvaughan attended by our five children and their partners. We have renovated a cottage in the rural west and are proof that taking midlife risks, scary ones, like moving continents, starting new careers and finding love again at fifty can pay off big time.
If you’re a woman at Midlife and Beyond looking for a fiercely supportive community, join our Facebook Community http://cgo.style/FFierceFB
You will be welcomed with open arms. Tap on the link HERE to read more about our Midlife Revolution, our fierce founder and what makes other women fierce.
I also encourage you to share your story in the comments below and to read over the next few days or weeks (depending on how busy you are) the stories of some midlife women from around the world.