I often used the term “seasoned professional” to describe my career in medical device marketing. I wanted to convey my level of experience yet not sound too, gulp, OLD. Being “seasoned” conjures up a vision of a great steak with the right balance of salt, spices, and sizzle. Claiming to be merely “experienced” or a “veteran” sounds like I’m trying too hard.
Thinking about my former job and contemplating what my next career might be, I realize that it is okay to be the older, wiser one. It is shameful that most companies don’t see it that way but I’m okay with that. I don’t want to relive my twenties or thirties and I certainly don’t want to look like I’m trying to turn back the clock. And just like my physical self is not 30 years old, neither is my motivation. In my younger years, I would work tirelessly to get ahead, to make myself the person who could get shit done. I was good at it and it paid off. But when I was 30, I could do that and leave the office to go have my other life – there was no email or iPhone to encroach on my personal time.
Today, everyone is expected to be dialed in outside of normal business hours simply because we can. This is not for me. I want to do more with my life than just toil.
Well, now that I am approaching the mid-century mark, I get it. I am not the young, pretty, flirty woman I was 20 years ago. Men don’t look at me like that anymore, strange women don’t compliment my fabulous outfit, and the lay public refer to me as “Ma’am”, not “Miss.” But I’m great with who I am right now; a woman who wants to inspire others facing mid-life challenges, to help others find solace in mindful practice.
I am happy being the seasoned person, the one who can guide and mentor those younger than me, and who truly values the wisdom that comes along with that long and storied road to HERE. I read a recent post by Therese Skelly on Evelyn Kalinosky’s blog that inspired me — it was about celebrating the fact that you may be the oldest woman in the room, but you are also the wisest. Skelly shares how uplifting it can be to know you are no longer striving to prove yourself, that you are content with celebrating your role in the moment, even among the pretty young things. She also comments how our seasons allow for rest and rejuvenation, and that we need to take heed of this.
I will relish my season at the mid-century mark, and I will lovingly embrace this time off to explore what’s next. I know that exploration is what I need right now; a revitalized life awaits.
I couldn’t agree more. Beautifully said.