Well we made it through Christmas and New Year – just about – with a tiny sense of freedom that allowed us to share it with our families before the Government murmurings of a potential third lockdown for 2021 became a stark reality. Is it just me or is this renewed raft of lockdown measures that will once again keep all of us mostly indoors beginning to feel strangely normal? We know what to expect now and we most certainly know that we can do it. Again. Back to home schooling, ridiculously decluttered homes, nonstop baking, innovative indoor hobbies and, conversely, probably more fresh air than we would normally see at this time of year as we all take to the streets and fields for our daily permitted walks. For me, once again it gives me the luxury of time, and with this comes the indulgence of my guilty pleasure - endless podcasts!

Over the Christmas break I discovered a brilliant Podcast – The Shift (on life after 40). Created and hosted by journalist and author Sam Baker, it discusses and explores the candid truths about being a woman post-40. The Apple Podcasts Preview says: “In this frank, funny, sometimes painfully honest new podcast series, Sam talks to a variety of women about the good, the bad and the ugly side of being a supposedly grown-up woman in a world that would quite like to ignore us.” It literally speaks to Studio10 and everything we stand for, covering issues that are so close to my own thinking, from “confidence to career reinvention … mental health, body image, menopause and so much more.” I love it, and with downloads that have just surpassed 100,000, it seems there are many women over the age of 40 who love it too.

It comes at a time when more and more mid-life women are standing up to embrace their age, who are discovering a confidence to be visible, and finding their voice to openly speak out about the many taboos surrounding the process of ageing in today’s society – issues that in previous generations were simply swept under the carpet. For men and women alike, nothing seems to be off limits now, but for women in particular this is a huge leap forward. Women are talking to women – as The Shift so perfectly demonstrates – and raising a consciousness that we are not alone in the changes we face as we reach 40 and beyond.

As a woman in my fifties – I have to say I love my age! I have a confidence and sense of my own worth now that can only come with experience, and it is my age that allows this. Of course it holds new trials and tribulations that we must learn to navigate as we adapt to this new stage in our lives. The angst of youth is replaced with the inevitable anxieties of ageing as we come to terms with the shifting landscape that mid-life entails. Everything from career changes, empty nest syndrome and the menopause to still battling the hidden barriers that ageism within our society places before us. The difference now is that this is all being talked about, and we are challenging the outdated misconceptions of what post 40 looks like.

I firmly believe that as long as we remain interested in the society we live in then society will be interested in us. We create our visibility be remaining current. What is possible as we move through our years depends entirely on who we choose to be and what we choose to do. Our choice and our attitude. We are strong, independent and resilient women because of the years that lie behind us. In reality we have more to offer now than ever before, and podcasts like The Shift are exactly what we need to help us recognise this – with determination, passion and a huge injection of humour!

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