Today I Give Myself Permission To Appreciate My Achievements #atozchallenge

Letter AIt’s 1 April marking the start of the A to Z April Blogging Challenge. As this post is brought to you by the letter A, it’s time to give a huge thanks to Arlee Bird for conceiving the Challenge and for giving more than 1600 bloggers the impetus to fire up their blogs this month. Arlee is a true blogger and gentlemen and deserves the tag of awesome – another great A word.

Now, onto the Challenge post!

Most of us arrive at middle age wishing we had achieved more. More what exactly is up for grabs, but it’s just more. Whether we have visions of how midlife was for our parents and wanting our own experiences to be different and yes… more or whether we feel we have not met our own expectations, the feeling of something not being enough lurks.

Somehow, somewhere along the way we picture a different midlife scenario, one were we have ticked most, if not all, of the metaphorical boxes that one is supposed to tick off by mid-life. The weight of expectation feels heavy and rather than asking “Are We There Yet?”, we don’t ask at all, because we are afraid of the answer. Either that or we are just too tired to savour what we have done.

About four years ago, I came to realise that every big achievement is made up of many small achievements. The prize of the big achievement can never really be yours until you build a solid  foundation, until you have put tab A into slot B. Putting tab A into slot B requires patience, persistence and postponement of the need for instant gratification, so why shouldn’t it be appreciated? I know a good many people who fail to see that putting tab A into slot B is still an achievement, so focused are they on achieving the bigger goal. This is fine, except that when the bigger goal is not reached fast enough or the focus is solely on how far there still is to reach it, feelings of despondency and failure kick in.

I spent quite some time over the last couple of years castigating myself over what I felt I had not achieved. The film reel in my head was playing but intermission never came, all I felt was a greater sense of urgency to reach the end of the film.  Expectation will do that to you.

So, you’ve reached forty something and feel you have much left to do? You’re right, you do  – there’s the whole second act to live through BUT stop for a minute and savour what you have achieved so far. Chances are you have achieved a great many things from the time you graduated from high school, even if the film reel of how it is supposed to be in your head is not your current reality. Whether its surviving more than a decade of marriage without killing your spouse, becoming a parent and surviving the sleepless nights, building the foundations of a career or business or just being able to greet each day and your fellow citizens with a kind word and a smile you have achieved something. Whether it’s having travelled the world or some part of it, created a home, forged community connections, being a good sibling, maintained a blog for a time you have achieved something.

In his book, Life: A Guide, Adam Fuller describes the years between the ages of 43 to 49 as being in control, but only just as the demands of others tend to take precedence over our own issues. It is time to let our spirits catch up with us otherwise the sacrifice will be to lose the relationship with ourselves and our dreams.

Appreciating all of your achievements to date no matter how small is a great first step to letting your spirit catch up with you.


 Today I give myself permission to appreciate my achievements.

What is the one achievement you truly relish?

About the curtain raiserhttp://raisingthecurtain.netI have spent my life in offices. For now I am putting that behind me and preparing for the second act. Middle age didn't come with acceptable signposts so I am making my own through my writing. A journey shared is more fun than going it solo.

35 thoughts on “Today I Give Myself Permission To Appreciate My Achievements #atozchallenge

  1. What happens after 49 I wonder? Here I am in my late 50’s and I still feel I haven’t achieved many things, perhaps my expectations are too high. One achievement I truly relish..damn I actually have a few… Having my daughters, owning my own business for a few years, EPublishing my Memoir, holidayed in Europe. I should be grateful..I should be content, but alas I am not. Perhaps because of my current situation..this is making me feel a little in the doldrums right now, but I strive for more. I guess there are achievements and there are things that we have done in our lives that we put down to ‘just being ok’, depends on the size of the achievement and how we will obtain and what gratification we will redeem from it. Excellent Post Jude. xx

  2. The things is, as I age the matters I put in the just being OK category are seemingly more and more like achievements. Holding it together and keeping your shit together are MAJOR achievements. Putting one step in front of the other and inching ever forward above ground is an achievement. I understand where you’re at, but look what you have a done so far. Really look at it and the energy involved. You’re amazing!

  3. I believe a big ole AMEN is in order. That little passage from Adam is dead on and extremely true for women, especially mothers. I think of my mom starting her career until she was 48. She acquired enough time to retire and collect a pension of her own. It can be done.

  4. I agree with Lisa (LWTTD).. many women can and do start careers later in life and have a very productive go at it.. never think it’s too late or it will be.. Great post and Happy A to Z Blogging!!

  5. I’ve had a rich and varied life and it all adds up to an interesting time. Life is good and it’s shaped by attitude and outlook. Life is only as bad as you allow it to be.

    Nice way to start your theme.


    • As they say, altitude depends on atitude. I wonder how many people are prepared to say they have lived a rich and varied life when all is said and done. So often they look back with regret. It’s great you feel that way.

  6. I’m only 21, but I often put myself down for the things I’ve done wrong. It’s encouraging to remind myself that, by the power of the Holy Spirit in me, I am able to and have done some pretty fantastic things. And I’ve achieved some things I’m pretty proud of. Thanks for this reminder!

    Living in the Light

    • How did you get so wise, so young? Love this comment. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and celebrating the small wins, Jaimie. If I realised that at your age, I would have saved myself a whole lot of negetive self talk.

    • Hi Ellen and thanks for the comment. We don’t often stop at all. I think if we reflected more often we woul expend less energy in the long run in trying to get where we want to go.

  7. Achievements should always be celebrated and appreciated. So congratulations for taking the time to think about them. It’s so easy to get lost everyday and forget.
    Great letter A and way to start the challenge

  8. Great kickoff to your month. We really do need to take pride in the smaller things we’ve accomplished, which really may not be that small at all, though we tend to see them that way. It’s kind of akin to living in the ‘now,’ something I find tricky to do.

  9. Bravo!! Oh, I should use an “A” word! Awesome!!! Your writing is calming and I so appreciate you.. Great post, am looking forward to the rest. As a late 50 something… I can honestly say that I don’t feel like I have truly accomplished all that I am destined to. Thanks. Have fun!

  10. Well said. For twenty years I have happily taken full credit for everything my children have ever done well or right, but now, at 50, I’m having to start planning for some more achievements of my own. Yikes!

    • Go The Empty Nester!! I know this can be scary, doing things without being under the label of parent… or wife… or sister or whatever. However, it can also be very liberating do something just for you. I’m here to cheer you on!

  11. I am learning to trust in what God has arranged for my life, and when things work out (or when they don’t, but I can see where I wandered off course) I call to mind a favorite quote from C.S. Lewis’ “The Weight of Glory” – “If God is satisfied with the work, the work may be satisfied with itself.”

  12. Great post, Judy. I think we’ve both been going through similar experiences over the last year. The older I get I think it is more about the process of getting there rather than the actual end point. Love reading your posts!

  13. Nicely done Judy! Older can be better, we just have to adjust our attitude ;D and keep on going….

  14. How does the saying go: Half of our life is gone before we know what life is all about … But that’s just one view, life can be good at any age.
    Well written article and nice start to the Challenge.
    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

    • Hi Silvia, it’s a wise saying. The other one I really like is life have to be lived forward but only understood backwards. All the best of luck to you in the Challenge. Will swing by your blog and check your Challenge posts.

  15. Achieving happiness and contentment are at the top of my list, right after doing only the things that make me happy. You have to know when it’s your turn at the plate.

    Inspiring post.

  16. I really like your focus on achievement and the idea that at middle age there is still so much more/further to go. Me too.

    • Middle age is a real fork in the road. Either you make a new roadmap to happiness or you remain on the old road which starts to become full of pot holes. At least mine did. Here’s to the future for both of us!

  17. Hi – then of course there’s the next part – there’s always lots to achieve .. and life really does open up so many doors … cheers Hilary

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