Have you heard the one about the eagles?

Recently I’ve been watching documentaries about wildlife (not my usual viewing, to be honest) but it got me thinking about things. Apparently, at the grand old age of 40, eagles have a difficult choice to make: die of old age or put themselves through a painful period of rebirth.  They fly high to their eyrie and proceed to pull out their old and tattered feathers, pull out their talons and break off their beak so that when their feathers, talons and beak grow back, they extend their life span by a few more years.  This is a popular story, but unfortunately that is just what it is: a story.  However, the beauty of this myth is loud and clear.  Rebirth can be an incredibly painful but necessary process in order to get the life you want.

 

However, snakes of all ages DO shed their skin regularly as they outgrow their old one and to maintain their health.  This can be stressful and uncomfortable for them, but they still have to go through it, whether they choose to or not.

 

Just like snakes, it is natural that we too go through change and periods that can be difficult, uncomfortable or even downright painful.  Why do we think that we should be immune to it, just because we are adults?  Nobody has it all figured out.  Most of the time, we have some general goals and make decisions based on information, but the idea that everyone has it all planned out to the nth degree and that we’re the only ones just ‘winging it’ is simply not true.  The reality is that most of us are figuring it out as we go along and hoping that nobody notices!

 

I read an article a few years ago about women who didn’t ‘make it’ until their 40s or later, and this has stuck with me since then and has been an ever-present reminder for me whenever I’ve doubted my own abilities, direction and ambition.  Vera Wang didn’t become the internationally renowned fashion designer she is now until she designed her own wedding dress when she was 40.  Toni Morrison didn’t publish her first book until she was 40.  Arianna Huffington didn’t start the Huffington Post until the age of 55.  J.K. Rowling was 36 (okay, not strictly over 40 but near enough!) when she published her first Harry Potter book. The list goes on and on.  There are so many examples of women who have spent years if not decades transforming themselves from one thing into another until they achieved success, whatever their own vision of success is. Their paths weren’t necessarily paved with gold along the way.  Many of them were single mums struggling to make ends meet, working in other roles as they pursued their goals in every spare moment they had. Times were tough for so many of them and yet they pushed through.

 

What I’m saying is that life can be tough at times for all of us.  We all have challenges to overcome and push through, and yes it can be painful.  But just think of all the good things that could come your way, of all the goals you want to achieve, of all the changes that are necessary to make in order to be the person you want to be.  Make the change, go through the process, and keep going.  As my old boss used to say: It’s time to put your crash helmet on, keep your head down, and go for it!

 

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