In the last year or two – I have made some massive life changing decisions, that if I’m honest – scared the crap out of me.
A middle aged forty something year old female – taking the ultimate leap of faith and making changes to my life that could have gone either way. But, thank goodness, they went the right way – leaving me at a point in life where I am truly happy. Fulfilled. Content and actually at peace with myself.
My personal changes in life were ending a long term relationship and then also making the decision to put my health issues first and not only sell my beloved horse, but step out of the saddle completely – is it long term? I have no idea… but for the interim, it’s permanent. I started a college course and passed with distinction.
And it’s really only after I had time to catch my breath, that I looked at the life I led because of fear… uncertainty, the absolute petrifying first step into the unknown – which had I not taken – I’d never have seen the life that I now live.
I am truly at peace and happier than I have been in a very long time emotionally, mentally and physically, other than the odd day of intense pain, I am ok! I have not stepped entirely away from horses – still having my two little angel Shetland ponies who keep me in the horsey loop . Do I miss riding? YES – every day – but I don’t miss the pain, the anxiety of the pain I know would follow, I don’t miss the guilt consuming me when I’d look at my beloved horse, knowing he was living a life around my physical capabilities, instead of the full and active one he deserved.
But more what led me to write this – is the amount of people, ALL women, who approached me after sharing my journey in an article, to primarily identify with my issues of the peri-menopause, but more so to say my honestly inspired them… to take the next step in their own journeys. Women who have not been enjoying riding for a long time, but because, like me, it’s all they’ve ever known, they are afraid to say you know what, I want to stop being competitive, I want to enjoy going to a show for a coffee, or watch my kid ride – or not have to go to a show ever again, or how they wanted to stop pretending that going for a hack in the rain is something they pretended to enjoy, so as not to give someone else the soot of talking about them. There is no right or wrong way to feel – people change. Circumstances change. Confidence can debilitate us as grow older- those fences we have always jumped, can suddenly be looked at the difference of a month in hospital in our older years , opposed to bouncing off the ground right back into the saddle when we were In our 20s.
Women spoke to me who suddenly realized that life is too short to stay in a job that they have worked in because they are there so long – knowing that there are better paid jobs or opportunities out there for them – but the thought of leaving all they’ve known – is too fearful. Same with relationships – the fear of being alone, seemed to be what holds a lot of people together – but is that fair on either side? Preventing both of you from finding that perfect partner – or just being happy single?
Women like me, entering peri-menopause or menopause age suddenly have their lives turned upside down with a million and one side effects – for those that can and do continue to ride and own a horse through it – I salute the hell out of you – but not all of can do it and if you’re one of them – it’s nothing to be ashamed or down in the dumps about – I am a firm believer that women are landed with the hardest burdens in life and we just can’t do it all the time!
And it’s not just those older amongst us – a girl in her 20s whom I follow on Tik Tok, recently came out with the admission that the anxiety she felt when riding horses, took the pleasure she once felt away. She woke up dreading show days – knowing that her 10 year old self’s dream – had been lived to it’s fullest, but now she had new dreams she wanted to follow.
We as human beings are ever evolving. Whilst many of us want to and indeed will ride horses – or stay In a relationship/job til our dying day.. for others, there are new and exiting roads in our paths. Will the scare the hell out you – making the decision to follow the path to the unknown? Hell yes! But what if it leads to a life you never before envisaged – what if there is so much more for you? New opportunities – new life choices – new dreams? And if it fails, you can always go back…It’ better to have tried and failed, than never tried at all right?
There is no right or wrong in life. Nothing is set in stone. Our lives are short. None of us have a clue how things will end, we can’t change the past – we don’t know the future – but the present – is very much in our control.
Better to look back on your life and instead of wishing you had done things…looking back and thinking sure, it might not have worked out – but at least I gave it a go – or smile, when you think of where that leap of faith took you.