Discover more from Your Midlife Matters with Alana Kirk, the Midlife Coach
What are your midlife Friction Points?
(and do you Tolerate or Tackle them?)
Where are your friction points?
No I don’t mean your thighs.
In your health?
In your relationships with your children?
In your marriage?
In your home and family management?
In your job or career?
In your mental health?
And the biggie (which should be first, but for effect, I’m putting last, because the writer in me likes a bit of drama) - in your emotional health?
Every person has friction points. Every life has friction points. Every relationship has friction points. The level and number are down to us, because often we tolerate them, rather than tackle them.
And that dear reader, is the worst friction of all. The weather warnings that cause havoc in your life like storms that hijack your life-is-a-picnic vibe.
For women at midlife, it can often feel your life is more friction than fun. More hurdles than handles on things. More things rubbing you the wrong way (no, still not talking about thighs), than anything nice rubbing you the right way (who doesn’t love a shoulder rub?).
We spin so many plates, struggle and juggle so many responsibilities, feel responsible for so many people, feelings and expectations, it can feel a volatile vortex of friction. So tackling every one immediately might not feel the easiest path.
But here’s what happens. The moment something becomes an irritation, problem or friction, it pulls at your energy - your physical energy (a broken fridge shelf or hoover that ends up causing more work for you), emotional energy (a constant fight with your partner over who does a task), psychological energy (the crap you never got over / help / therapy for and you carry it around like a boulder heaped on your shoulder), health energy (putting up with a pain or symptom),.. and very soon if you don’t tackle it immediately, it becomes the norm. Even though it frustrates, irritates, hurts, delays, slows you down, or holds you back, it becomes the NORM. And once it is a norm, it stops being seen as something you can tackle and becomes something you simply tolerate.
And it can drain so much unnecessary time and energy from your day, your relationships and your enjoyment of life.
Let’s take Home and Family Management (it gets capital letters because it is a MIGHTY midlife job). I had to add in this label to many of my coaching exercises alongside career, relationships, money, health etc because it came up so much with many of the women I coach. The sheer seismic scope of things that need to be managed and organised in a family home often feels like it needs a SWAT Team of experts to swoop in and storm through it all. Instead it often feels like a WTF! team of one. Within that complex, conundrum of co-ordination, the potential for little frictions is huge. Something as simple as something breaking. Or a picture that needs hung on the wall but instead, leans forlornly against the wall for 18 months because no-one takes responsibility for it until finally it has been kicked over so many times it is fecked into the utility room to fall apart until eventually it is smashed and is thrown into the bin.
I had a broken fridge shelf. For 18 months. Every time I opened the fridge, the milk fell out. For 18 months. Instead of tackling it, I eventually started tolerating it, even though it drained me and made me swear and sometimes even hurt me when the milk carton fell on my toe.
I have a client who have tolerated something in her relationship for 20 years. All it needed was a conversation to tackle it. He never knew it bothered her.
I have a client who tolerated a pain in her body for over a year. All it needed was a check-up to tackle it (and surgery because she left it so long).
I have a client who tolerated a very lopsided division of labour in the home. All it needed was a family meeting to discuss what needed to be done and who would be responsible for it to tackle it (in an effective way that gave agency to everyone, not a dictatorship which hadn’t worked for 10 years because no-one actually listened).
I’ve worked with clients who think they are having serious marriage problems because the frictions have become the norm. It’s easy to sometimes think those frictions are a core part of the relationship, but often they’re not. They’re simply a symptom of not tackling it. That’s all.
When they make a list of the main frictions in the relationship, we can then work on ways they can tackle them.
So awareness is the first step. Pull yourself back from assuming your life is just the way it is - the NORM - and work through every aspect from morning to bed. Relationships. Work. Kids. What are the main friction points?
Then ask why is it a friction?
Is it because you think it should be one way and someone else thinks it should be another? (this could be parter, teenagers, toddlers, work colleagues).
To tolerate the difference of opinion means it is a problem never resolved because it becomes a win/ lose scenario. Your way or their way. They win, you lose.
But it you tackle it as a friction point, it’s a problem to be solved. You can listen to both sides and find a middle ground. A win win.
Many friction points in a marriage or home management just need to be removed. I have a client who has argued with her partner for years over who does the food shop. It affects so much else in their daily relationship. So in tackling it, rather than tolerating the disagreement, they took the friction point away by now doing an online shop together. I have another client who wants to run away because every Friday she comes home from a very long hard week of work (she is the main breadwinner) to be faced with a weekend of domestic work. The friction point affects her mood, her energy, her relationship. So we did some coaching work and she has tried to ease some of the friction by spreading the responsibility across the family more but also removing some. She takes two bags of laundry out to a launderette on a Friday afternoon and it comes back on Saturday washed, dried and ironed. A massive friction point simply removed. (Yes she can afford it, but she wasn’t using the money she was making and working so hard for to make her life easier. She made the decision to take the cost hit to remove the friction bomb).
Or is the friction point a problem that just needs to be solved / fixed / sorted? It may feel like you don’t have the energy to tackle it, but weigh up the cost of making an appointment, speaking to a financial advisor, researching a replacement and ordering it, having a family meeting, watching a YouTube video, seeking help and advice, getting a handy person round, etc versus spending the next 18 months screaming at the “fucking fridge” while clutching your brushed and battered toe?
Then rinse and repeat.
Constantly check in on the friction points (new ones always show up) and see if you are tackling or tolerating them…. and what is the cost of both.
Every Monday on my MidlifeCoach Instagram I post a short video where I offer a weekly prompt to help us all live this magnificent, extended, challenging, exciting midlife with more intention. This week was all about these friction points.
I’d love to know what your friction points are how you might tackle them. If you ever think they’re big enough to warrant a bit of coaching, details of my one hour Discovery Coaching Session are over on my Midlife Coach website - www.themidlifecoach.org
I'd love you to join me for my new online webinar called *REFRESH Your Midlife* on 3rd October where I'll help you REVIEW where and how you are, REPURPOSE your plans and habits, and decide how to REINVEST in yourself in terms of time, energy and thought.. ..and not just on the never ending To-Do list that September always brings. It will be fun, practical and focussed on you. Imagine that? Space and time to think about you. You can register here and paid subscribers get a 10% discount. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll sort you out.
Join me for The Confidence Conversation
If you are Ireland based, (or fancy an early Christmas shopping trip to Dublin!), I’m hosting an event on the 5th November. Following four sold-out events in Dublin and Cork, I’m back with award-winning stylist Aoife Dunican, The StyleBob and powerhouse personal trainer Tracy Byrne, founder of Burnzone, for a morning that might just change your midlife. The Confidence Conversation is a practical and potent event where we will empower you with the magic midlife medley of style, health and mindset. All details and tickets available here.