Whatever the reason, I’m feeling it and I’m wondering if you are too. As soon as I turned 50 (six years ago), I began to experience things that I have never experienced before – being shushed, ignored, passed over, played off, cancelled on and betrayed. This is all new for me, and maybe I should be grateful that I haven’t had this happen my entire life. But I think that’s the point – it’s happening now because I’m in the second half of my life, and that’s the part that doesn’t sit well with me.
The good news is that with age comes strength and wisdom and I have built pretty thick skin. So in those moments when I feel passed over or “benched,” I am able to take it less personally and move on. Even while I’m in the moment, I am able to literally detach myself from the situation, which is a skill! And while the feeling of being passed over is noted, it motivates me to work harder. Which is why Abby Wambach’s words had me cheering from my bench when she said:
“Here’s what’s important. You are allowed to be disappointed when it feels like life’s benched you. What you aren’t allowed to do is miss your opportunity to lead from the bench.”
Oh Abby! Your words resonate with me! Lead from whatever position you are playing, or not playing. Don’t give up even when you are benched. In fact, when you are benched, keep coaching. Keep using your voice even when you are not heard. Keep showing up even when you are ignored. Keep fighting for your seat at the table, no matter what your age is.
“Keep fighting for your seat at the table, no matter what your age is.”
I just hosted my Unexpected Speaker workshop this past Friday where we worked on using our voices to engage an audience and have our stories heard. Funny that I do this for a living and yet each year, I feel a little less heard, not in my workshops, but in life. I want to help change that, not just for me and my fellow midlife sisters, but for my daughters, nieces and young women I mentor.