Happy Thanks Friday
I’ve just opened my emails and all my in boxes are filled with Black Friday deals, for potential Christmas presents, for travel, for software, for coaching services. In fact, there are a gazillion opportunities to buy a whole load of stuff for next to nothing – whether you want it or not.
Black Friday, like trick or treating is an import from the United States and has really taken off here in the UK - we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s a holiday that is linked to America’s history so why should we? Or should we?
We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday but many of us give thanks on a regular basis for what we have and what we have achieved. I think about us as Mid-Lifers and the whole notion that now is the time to come into our own. The whole idea behind the New 5ifty is that it’s never too late to become the person we’re meant to be. It’s never too late to connect or reconnect with our passion. It’s never too late to be true to ourselves. For many of us the idea of making that change, for taking that decision to step out of our comfort zone and go for our passion comes from a position of saying what we were doing before was wrong. That we were wrong to remain seated snuggly in our comfort zone, that the choices we made for ourselves were wrong and that we were weak, and cowardly to do that.
But how about looking at it from a different angle? Now that we are approaching 50 or at 50, or like me over 50, how about giving thanks that we had opportunities to do what we had to do to survive. How about giving thanks for the lessons we learned from the choices we made. How about giving thanks that we are now able to make the changes we need to live the life we are meant to live. That those old priorities have now gone and set us free to prioritise ourselves.
This is the third or fourth time I’ve attempted to run my own business. Each time I’ve got to a point where money or the thought of me running out of money or the need for security has led me to make choices that took me further away from the business. I’ve looked back on those times and berated myself for ‘selling out’, for taking the easy option, when maybe the truth was that I was doing what I needed to do, the best way I could with the knowledge, experience and self-concept I had at the time. So why does that have to be a bad thing? Well it doesn’t.
According to Wikipedia Black Friday is “… an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving …regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952 and the day shopkeepers balance sheets turned black (positive) from red (loss)”.
There’s something poetic about giving thanks the day before a company enjoys huge profits. Or, metaphorically speaking, the idea of giving thanks for where we are and where we have come from before we take that leap forward into the ‘black’ of our lives or dreams.
Don’t get me wrong, we could also take a cynical view that retailers are exploiting our fears and anxieties about over spending at Christmas so overcharge us at other times of the year so that we’re conned into believing the Black Friday deals are so great, but that’s not for today’s post. Today I choose to take the woo-woo and kumbaya approach. That also means I’m going to ignore the debate about whether or not that particular aspect of America’s history is worthy celebration. I’m going to steal the concept and give thanks for where I’ve been and where I am as I prepare to propel myself to newer heights, to a place closer to my true self than I have ever been before.
So here goes:
I am thankful for the jobs that got me out of a financial hole and increased my job experience over the years.
I am thankful for opportunities to work in different areas and find out about different types of people in different kinds of contexts.
I am thankful for the experiences, good and challenging, that helped me to develop a sense of empathy that has made me the coach I am today.
I am thankful for the things I’ve said yes to and the times I’ve had to say no.
I’m thankful to the people who have served as teachers and role models. The women I looked at and said ‘I want to be like them when I grow up.’ The people that paved the way and made it possible for me to be me.
I am thankful for the things that have happened and the things I’ve had to do that make it easier for me to understand the issues for people at Mid Life.
I am thankful for the lack of support and the fear and the struggle that I experienced as I approached 50 that led to the creation of The New 5ifty.
I am thankful for that voice within that always said ‘Taiwo you are bigger than this.’
I am thankful for the people in my life who, at different times in my life said ‘Taiwo you are bigger than this.’
I am thankful for my faith which led me to answer when I was called.
I am thankful.
What are you thankful for?
Happy Thanks Friday