I’m a journalist, yes, but I’m also a mother, a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister and friend, and most importantly, I’m a woman.
I’m a happily single woman in my 40’s. It's socially unacceptable to be a single woman nowadays, but I hold my head high and stand in that space proudly.
From my own experience, my single years have been the happiest of my life so far, and I relish every drop of freedom, independence, and autonomy that I now have.
You don't have to be single to get something out of this blog; it's for all women.
The Future of 40 is a space dedicated to helping women realise their full potential - rejecting what we have been told we have to be, as women over 40.
We will decide for ourselves who will be, how we will behave and how we will live, and this is the true path to freedom and happiness.
I want to share with you my story in the hope that it may inspire you to think differently and (hopefully) improve your life
In my mid 30’s, after three relationship breakdowns, bouts of depression, anxiety, and mild addictions, I decided enough was enough, I couldn't live like this anymore. I took a long hard look at my life and realised that I didn't like what I could see.
It was a difficult time, looking around at everything I had passionately created, everything that I thought could and would make me happy, and realising it was all a lie.
A new kitchen?
I'd spent my whole life looking to outside influences to make me happy - other people, new clothes, new cars, makeup, holidays, the list is endless.
At one point in all of this chaos and madness, I can distinctly remember thinking that if my dated kitchen tiles were replaced with some beautiful Moroccan hand-fired alternatives, then I would be happy. I mean, they were beautiful tiles, but come on.
If I could focus on these external things which would give me short-term pleasure, and then quickly move onto the next thing, I wouldn't have the time to think about just how miserable I was.
Why was I so unhappy?
There are numerous reasons why, and of course we all have our unique stories from the past which influence our lives, but in between all of this there was also a very big realisation...
I had been living my life in a way dictated to me by our culture, by our society, by our social norms, NOT authentically to who I am.
A gloomy situation
I hated my job, I didn't like where I lived, and I didn't like many of my friendships. I had no real idea what I even did like anymore; I also didn't like myself.
I had no hobbies, I told myself I didn't have time. I was constantly running from one task to the next, as a wife, as a mother, as an ambitious career woman - trying to be everything to everyone, and soothing it all with a good glass of Sauvignon Blanc - New Zealand of course.
Luckily, I've always been very motivated, and I was motivated to get out of this tiresome situation. I couldn't fix everything. Indeed some of it would take years, but I did what I could do, and one of those things was to start training for another career - journalism - writing had always been a great passion of mine.
After writing daily for some time, writing bits and pieces for friends, and then a couple of short internships, my first professional writing opportunity came. It was a job writing for YOGA Magazine.
Now, I didn't know anything about yoga, I'd never even been to a class, in fact, in all honesty, I thought that yoga was weird and nothing to do with someone like me, whoever I was. But I would do it anyway as it was a fantastic opportunity, and also, it was in Ibiza.
It was the beginning of a profound journey, both personally and professionally, into myself and the world, yoga and meditation, and alternative models of health and approaches to living, and I've never looked back.
After much soul-seeking and personal development work, I started to question all the things that society had told me that as a woman I needed to be:
- The perfect homemaker
- Well read
- Well travelled
- The great dinner party host
- Financially savvy
- Helper at school events
- Thrower of great parties
- Fabulous cook
Are you as exhausted as I am just looking at this list?
It was like waking up - I didn't need to be any of these meaningless things, and I wasn't going to strive to be them anymore.
I was going to be me. I'm more than fine as I am, just as I am, as are you, as is everyone.
I started to live differently
I accepted who I am, just as I am.
What a relief, the fight was over. I began to see life in a new way, and I found I had far more time to concentrate on the things that are genuinely important to me such as being outdoors, creating things, (whatever they may be) meaningful friendships, and self-care.
Through accepting myself more, prioritising myself and having the confidence to take more risks, my life opened up to a whole new and exciting world.
I’ve worked for many years for women’s magazines writing about wellbeing, and I started The Future of 40 because I have had (and continue to have) many valuable experiences that are worth sharing and I want to share them with you in the hope that they will inspire, educate or entertain and help us to reach a healthier or happier place.
If you haven’t read any of my previous posts, you might like 'A Message to my Daughter' which is about understanding the way we’ve been manipulated to hate ourselves and our bodies.
‘Self-Hate, The Perfect Dress & Complete Insanity’ is about rejecting the notion that age is unattractive.
Just to let you know
Almost every single thing that I've done in my life that has been worth doing has been a great challenge for me:
- Leaving unhealthy relationships
- Quitting jobs
- Starting businesses
- Going back to university in my late thirties
- Getting a Masters Degree
- Moving to the other side of the world
People think (and say) that I'm fearless. I'm not fearless, I am scared every single step of the way, but I won't let it stop me from going down a path that I feel drawn to, because, for me, the alternative (not doing it) is unthinkable.
When my precious daughter left home last year, I decided to spread my wings and go and see more of the world. After living in a small town in Yorkshire for most of my life, I'm now living in Asia - I continue to 'feel the fear and do it anyway' daily.
If I can do it, you can do it too. Anything you want, anything you put your mind to, you can do it.
Will you join me? I sincerely hope so.
The only question is - what do you want to do?
LOVE HANNAH XXX
P.S On a final note, I genuinely enjoy hearing thoughts and opinions about any of the posts that I write – have you had a similar experience, does it resonate with you – or do you disagree with my reasoning? I love connecting with like-minded women so please do drop me a line here if you feel moved to do so.