What if I don't want to over-achieve in midlife?

I’m sick of all the pressure.
The pressure to micro manage the next part of my life.
I’ve done that.
From college to jobs to better jobs to marriage to babies.
Then cycle again as I take my kids through those same steps.
I say I’ve earned the right to hit pause.
I say I’m ok with no plans, no goals, no commitments.
I say I like myself as is. 
That’s right. Fat, wrinkled and gray. 
And don’t forget tired.
So…
I’m done with reading articles on Facebook about how to cram more in a day and get more done. 
I’m done with society always pushing the agenda of more, more, more.
I’m done with feeling inadequate because I don’t want  to over-achieve in midlife.
How about you? Are you done?

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29 comments

  1. Well, I’m having the opposite problem–no energy to do anything that might help me out of my depression (already on medication that worked before). I’m not on FB (& never have been, Thank God). I am so tired in the morning. I don’t really want to wake up (depression there). I have to take caffeine pills cuz my insurance (Aetna) decided that after 25 years on this medicine for excessive daytime sleepiness (like falling asleep driving) is not going to be covered. My meds provider wrote the necessary letter, but Aetna only approved it for 1/2 the dose I had been on & it doesn’t work so not useful at all.
    I am SO TIRED. I’m trying to be a morning person like I was, but even if I do get up at 7:00 or so I have to take caffeine pills & nap until they take effect.
    I used to go to exercise classes in the morning at the gym. Now I can barely shower every other day…
    This is by no means a quality life. Taking time off to relax & not put pressure on yourself is the opposite of what I need. BTW I’m 63-yrs-old & do miss the hypomania. But I realize now that it wasn’t good for my body even though mood-wise I felt wonderful.
    I played tennis sometimes 8 hours a day; ran 6 miles a day; got down to a loose size 2 & got a lot of accolades for that. BUT I ended up injuring my body so much–surgery on both feet for plantar fasciitis; surgery on both knees for torn cartilage; surgery on both hands for carpal tunnel & I was in my mid-30s!
    I’m old enough to know that things can be brighter in the future. My meds provider wrote a script for one of the newer meds for those who like me have excessive daytime sleepiness without a sleep disorder, per se. Insomnia from PTSD & regular bipolar 1 sleep problems, but Aetna has again refused it. Now have to have provider write them & on & on & on…
    Good stock tip–buy caffeine pills!

    1. P.S. I never was a great over-achiever. Had to drop out of college. I guess my greatest achievement according to psychiatrist at Mayo Clinic was working so hard to pursue wellness so that I could be a good mother & wife to the best of my abilities. First suicide attempt at 15 & a huge painful, confusing, time that was years long before I finally got diagnosed & started treatment & received some HOPE. But I never seem to “arrive” at the place when all is well. I have to continually work to help myself when symptoms appear–depression right now.

  2. Just what I needed to hear today. Tomorrow I’m definitely going to lie in bed reading all day, atleast till the 9 year old gets back from school. Even writing can take a break one day.
    We are living in a world of over achievers and immense peer pressure to perform all the time.
    It’s sad that so many of us don’t stop to smell the flowers, anymore!
    Even fitness activities like running and cycling revolve around the number game! Who cycled 100 kms versus who cycled 30 kms!
    I’m 45 and I want to live my life slowly, moment by moment and not get pushed by the pressure to perform.
    Elena I really am thankful to you for writing this.

    1. I can’t believe the response this post has received. It was just a rant turned into post and I wanted to delete it almost immediately. But it seems it has resonated for so many and that I am not alone in feeling pressured to over achieve. You take that day of rest. You deserve it!

    2. I feel exactly the same. I’m 49 and wishing my life away. I can’t wait for the weekend, can’t wait for holidays. I rush my way through each day never completing all the tasks I intend to do. What I want now is to enjoy my life – to embrace the seasons, to stay in bed listening to the radio and reading a book, to sit with friends chatting over coffee not having to rush away to meet deadlines. I’m so pleased other people feel the same.

  3. Amen! After I lost my job last year I took a serious look at where I was and where my family as a whole was and realized, I’m tired! Slowing down and not being super busy is ok! I see and appreciate so much more now. My family and relationships are so much better.

  4. I’m totally with you on this one, Elena. At 57, and with no children, I haven’t even taken a career break in almost 40 years. Then I found I had to reduce my freelance work to the bare minimum when my mother fell ill earlier this year and needed my full-time care for a few intense months. Her passing has made me review the stuff of my life, and I find that what I want most is to *not* chase the next goal or challenge, or even fulfil whatever my potential is supposed to be… but to simply… BE.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your mother. I know exactly how you feel. My mom passed last year. It took me awhile to figure out how to just “be”. I hope you find peace and happiness in this stage of life.

  5. This post helped me take a deep breath, because I am so busy and yes, I do have goals as I prepare to have a book release this fall. But if it is two weeks later than I hope, then I’m going to relax about it and know that everything will be okay. I do love a day or a stretch of time without commitments, though. I had a two week vacation and tried to keep it as commitment free as possible. Two walks per day, reading while sitting on the deck, time to prepare dinner starting in late afternoon, and eating before eight were all luxuries I wish I could do more often!

  6. Some time ago I took a break from Facebook. I got tired of feeling inadequate when reading articles about how to do this better and how to add that to improve appearance, successes, achievement. Now I scan through and ignore articles unless it appears to be something humourous, spiritual, affirming in a positive way! Thanks Elena; yes I am trying to accept that we are human beings vs. human doings! Some doing is necessary; however, so is being! 🙂

    1. Like matter, we don’t always have to be in motion and we need to appreciate stillness. Facebook isn’t always good for our souls. Knowing how to navigate it is key to using it to enhance our lives not make us feel inadequate or lacking.thank you so much for your support on my blog. It is much appreciated.

  7. Omg! I am SO glad that I found this blog and all these fabulous women and their comments.”Protect your peace” That’s my mantra these days and if I wanna “underachieve” the rest of my days,I have most def earned that right.Caring for aging parents,a “conduct disoder” substance abusing 21 yr old daughter,a stubborn husband who refuses to go on blood pressure medication,a cat,a dog AND a part time nanny gig (which I love by the way,after 30 years in high stress healthcare) takes its toll and I have declared the right to just do nothing when the mood hits me.Easy peasy as much as possible

    1. I cared for my mom for years and she passed last year. I felt awful when I did nothing after that. Now I embrace it as my right. You sound like you have a lot on your plate too. You deserve peace and I wish you more of it!

  8. Hell yeah! I’m 51, have one more yeah of getting up before 7 to organize my 17yr old off to school, then I wanna work part time & some days stay in bed ALL DAY just reading, writing, eating avocado on toast, & watching my cat sleep. Bring it on!

    1. How come staying in bed all day watching tv for teenagers is ok but we won’t allow ourselves the luxury? Never mind watching the cat, be the cat! Lol

  9. After breaking a bone in my hand a few days ago, I realize I need to slow down and quit running around like a chicken. If I have to wait another year to publish my book, then so be it. I have meaningful part-time work as a professor and that comes first, not because it helps pay bills, but because I LOVE it!

    1. The key is doing what we love because we have decided it is right for us no matter what others say. I’m sure your book can wait and it will be even better!

  10. I can relate. Timely article as I set reset this week. Slowing down the hectic pace of tyrant of the urgent. Doing the best I can and it will have to be good enough. No desire to climb the corporate ladder at 54. I’m okay with that decision .

    1. As we get older, I think we have better judgement about what is important and put less stress on ourselves to conform. Good for you for slowing down.

    1. Thank goodness the concept of “supermom” came about well after I had my kids. I don’t think I would have been too anxious to participate in that either.

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