August 15, 2023

Surfing the waves of midlife

Surfing the waves of midlife photo by Silas Baisch on Unsplash

Catching up with a friend through a couple of quick Instagram DMs, I ended my update by saying that I felt like my husband and I were surfing through recent changes in our world.

I meant we were bracing for the next wave with some anticipation and alertness, knowing that right now, we need to be able to respond quickly and adjust, but we never know what the waves will look like or what direction they’ll be coming from.

Surfing is fun, and it’s full of failure.

Or so I hear.

Surfer Sara is for illustrative purposes only. I don’t want to misrepresent my particular brand of adventurousness (or the capabilities of my somewhat compromised spine, for that matter).

IRL, I’m a walk-along-the-shore, jump-in-the-waves, or read-a-book-on-the-beach type.

But this surfing metaphor helps me understand what it feels like to be in this time of life with so many uncertainties, challenges and opportunities.

In this metaphor, life feels like the ocean: expansive, beautiful, deep, scary, and unknowable.

The waves are inevitable and expected but always different and unpredictable invitations, obligations, and requests for our time, attention, and energy.

When the waves come, and I can get up on my board and ride them – with a bit of finesse or even none at all – it’s exhilarating and sometimes exhausting.

When the waves catch me off guard, and I go under, even if it’s just for a moment. I come up with salt water up my nose and have lost my orientation to the sandy beach.

In those moments, I need a minute to collect myself. I might take a day to skip the ocean altogether, to walk on solid ground (the actual real-life practice that brings me back to myself the fastest) or, metaphorically, make a little bed tent and read a book under my blanket with a flashlight.

I trust myself enough to know that I’ll get back on my board.

Sara Smeaton Coaching SS-177 Photo by Marina Dempster
Hi, I'm Sara!

I'm here to reclaim the term 'midlife' and embrace the power these years offer us.

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Sara Smeaton Coaching SS-177 Photo by Marina Dempster


Sara Smeaton

Sara Smeaton is a certified professional coach and facilitator who partners with people in their middle years to help them grow and thrive personally and professionally. She works privately with clients in Canada, the US and the UK.

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