Turning 50 is prompting Kerri Sackville to make some big changes in her life this year. As the columnist, social commentator, author and mother of three explains, she’s determined to embrace her individuality and stop making compromises.
If I wasn’t already obsessed with New Year’s resolutions, this past New Year has been even more significant than most. In 2018, I turn 50, and I am absolutely determined to live the second half of my life as well as possible. (And yes, I’m aware ‘half’ may be a little optimistic, but hey, I may as well aim for a full century.)
I have been through a lot in my first 50 years – I’ve been divorced, I’ve been bereaved, I’ve had three children, I’ve changed careers, I’ve battled anxiety, I’ve struggled with health issues, and I’ve worked my butt off to look after my kids. So I have set myself resolutions that are all about looking after myself.
I spent years in relationships bending myself out of shape, trying to be exactly what the other person needed. I did it when I was married, I did it in friendships, and I did it when dating after my divorce. I did it in little ways – pretending to enjoy sailing when I hate it with a passion, or letting things slide that bothered me. And I did it in big ways too: making myself less than I really am – less quirky, less opinionated, less needy, less me. I won’t do it anymore. I plan to be ruthlessly myself and if people don’t like the real me, then I don’t need them in my life.
I am a ridiculously forgiving person. If someone wrongs me and apologises, I’m over it before the words have left their mouth. What’s more, I’ve forgiven people who have never actually apologised. I accept that they are who they are and they were probably doing the best they could. I rarely forgive myself though. I flagellate myself over all the mistakes I’ve made and lie in bed at night running through my litany of foolish choices. No more. From now on I will forgive myself as wholeheartedly as I forgive other people. I’m human. I’m fallible. I was doing the very best I could.
If there is one thing I have learned in my nearly-50 years, it is that it’s vital that I feel my feelings. I used to try to push bad feelings down and they just chased me around, sometimes for years. So now and in the future, when I’m sad, I will feel the sadness. When I’m angry, I will feel the anger. I will give myself time every day to immerse myself in these feelings for a bit, and then I’ll get on with things. I will remember that everything passes, good and bad. And there is lots more good to come.
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