What Does a "Full" Day Look Like for You?

being present redefining after 50 self-care Mar 26, 2024
Full Day After 50

It's been a couple of years since I made the decision to "fade out" of my 25+ year career and a full year in which I've been totally client free and retired.  

My mindset each morning when I wake up these days is completely different from what it was when I was working.   I used to wake up instantly thinking about all of the things that I had to get done that day.   Anxiety on some level was always a part of my morning mindset.

The anxiety hasn't completely gone away, but overall, I now wake up each morning feeling much more relaxed about my day.

But, I wonder.....are my days full now that they are a bit more relaxed?

The Answer is Simple

Yes, my days are full.  When and only when I have spent part or all of my day doing activities that are aligned with my priorities and values.

A full day for me is spent:

  • with my husband, children, grandchildren;
  • with other family members who I love being around;
  • engaged in a fun activity with a good friend;
  • creating content
  • moving my body, being outdoors, reading in the sunshine.

There are rare days when I've not done any of the above during the day, but when those days happen, they do not feel complete.   They do not feel full.

"Full" Versus "Busy"

I got to thinking about a full day versus a busy day last month when I was taking my mother to the doctor.  Now, anyone who knows me or has been on this site for any amount of time, knows that my relationship with my mother is less than fabulous.

And, lately, she's been a regular part of my schedule each week - she is requiring more care and oversight on my part.   But attending to her, although it is taking more of my time, is not an activity which fits into my own personal "full day" category.    

So, I was taking her to the doctor that morning, and lamenting silently in my thoughts about how much time it was going to take.  It was somewhat going to be keeping me from participating in the list of activities that are in line with my priorities at this stage of the game.

However, it is an activity that is in line with my values.    So, there's that.

Anyway, at the end of that day, I felt that although my day had been busy, it had not been full.   Partly because I'd spent part of the day helping my mother, but partly, also because I came home after that and chose activities that were less in line with my values and priorities.    Scrolling on Facebook, for example.

Often, the activities that keep us "busy" but that do not "fill" us, are a result of our choices.   Sometimes we choose these because it's the right thing to do - helping my mother, for example.  Other times we choose them because they can help us feel busy.  They can often help us to procrastinate on a myriad of items.

Google's Thoughts on the Topic

Each time I do a blog post, I google the topic just to see what else is out there that's related to it.   Often, with my topics, there is nothing out there as it relates to our community of women.   This time was no different.

I googled:  "What is a full day for someone over 50?"

Here were the top 5 results:

  • What should be considered as a healthy daily routine for a 50 year old woman so that she can live fit for the longest?
  • What Checkups Look Like in Your 50s and Up
  • Wellness at 50:  50 Habits for a Healthier Body, Mind, and Soul
  • 8 Things to do After 50 to Help You Live Longer
  • 7 Morning Routine Ideas for Women Over 50

And the list went on as it related to walking after 50, intermittent fasting over 50, and various other health topics.   

The search results had ZERO to do with what a full day might mean for us after 50 - activity suggestions, reflection ideas, mindset around the concept of a full day - nothing.

Full Days in the Past Versus Now

My full days in the past consisted of varying degrees of activities with my children and family, working, going to school myself, activities with friends, and squeezing in self-care when I was able to.

Although the daily activities were different, the mindset for me was the same.   I felt I'd had a full day when I spent it in line with my own values and priorities. 

It's worth mentioning, too, that my values haven't changed, nor have my priorities.   What, I notice as I am older is that I have an easier time turning away activities that aren't in line with my priorities.   I say "no" more often and more easily now.

In this stage of life, I and I imagine many others in this community find ourselves with time on our hands.   There are days where we are busy with appointments, events, family, etc.    And days where we are not as.  

For me, this is a new experience.

I sometimes find myself wondering how to fill those time slots.  Time slots that I didn't used to have in my days.

Often when we can't always fill them, we are left thinking we haven't had a full day.

Sometimes, this is the case.   Other times, we are subbing in the word "busy" for the word "full."

Interestingly when I googled "busy' day versus 'full' day," google substituted the word "productive" for the word "full" over and over again in its search results.  This societal need to feel and be productive can feed into our whole mindset around this topic. 

It can lead us to feel less worthy or important when we've had a day that had some downtime in it where we decided to sit in the sun and read a great book for 2 hours or take a leisurely walk.

We may have a need to feel busy or constantly occupied because that's been our history or that helps us to feel like we still matter.

But, we've earned the right to have a two hour read if we want it.    To take the nap.   The walk.  To sit and savor the cupcake.   And at the end of the day where we've done those things, the right to call it a "full" day. 

What does a full day look like for you?   How has this changed since you were in your 30s and 40s?   Please email me at [email protected] and tell me.   I love hearing from you guys!