Rebecca Weef Smith: ‘It’s uphill, not downhill after 40’
-May 8, Hannah Hargrave, Living -
When Goldie magazine editor Rebecca Weef Smith, 54, puts her mind to something she makes it happen. In her 20s she climbed the ranks of the fashion retail world, she raised two children, dealt with family tragedy, retrained as a counsellor in her 40s, earned a Masters in Positive Psychology in her early 50s and just last year launched her very first magazine!
So, when Lumity asked her for advice for anyone who says it’s downhill after midlife, she had some wise words of encouragement.
The Happiness Curve
“The first thing I would say to someone thinking it’s all downhill is that biology and science are supporting us when we age,” explains Rebecca who worked as a therapist while freelancing in the fashion industry and admits to having her own breakdowns in the past. “There is something called the happiness curve. What we term as midlife crisis actually does biologically exist.
“The low point in our wellbeing will generally come in our 40s. When we have achieved perhaps lots in our life but we have an existential moment when we think ‘what on earth is this all about?’. After that it’s all uphill.
“Suddenly we realise it really doesn’t matter if we have the car or the handbag. What matters is our relationships with other people and our satisfaction with ourselves.
“Our brain actually supports the idea that we get happier as we age. If you take that then why does society take a different view? Look at the science and make those decisions for yourself.”
Positive psychology interventions or PPIs as they are often referred to encourage positive feelings and behaviours. For example we all now know that gratitude is really good for us and we can take very simple steps to feel better about ourselves.
“Utilize those. Don’t make life more complicated for yourself. If you’re feeling stressed open the window and go and take some deep breaths. Go have a shower and have a cup of tea.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Try
“What’s the worst that can happen,” says Rebecca. “To anyone embarking on anything new whether it’s a relationship, a mindset, a business, a hobby once they hit 50 remember you’re never too old. The only person limiting you is yourself. Who cares what anyone else says? Whats the worst that can happen? The worst is that you don’t enjoy it or it doesn’t work out. Then stop doing it and do something else. I’m sorry if that sounds superficial. But I don’t see the point in making life too complicated.”
Everybody Has Struggles
“I’m not very good with people who moan,” admits Rebecca who has been through some very tough times herself. “We will all have times in our lives when tragedy hits, where we have hardships. During those times we have free will and we have the ability to take choices and make decisions.”
“When we are younger if something happens in our life, we think that’s it. That’s the end of that road, the door is closed forever. But so often it opens in another way.
“Have that mind set that you can make the most of the opportunities. They are there for all of us, I don’t believe one person is luckier than anyone else. But sometimes life gets in the way so we can’t see it or we can’t make the most of it at that time. But the right things happen at the right time.
“Take my relationship with my husband. There were so many cross over sections in our 30-years both living in London that we could have met one another but we didn’t. I was married to someone else, he was in a relationship and it wouldn’t have happened. When our paths crossed they did so at the right point when we were both single. What a waste it would have been any earlier. Do not give up.”
If you feel you’ve come to a crossroads in your life you might want to read our article on what women can do if they’re going through a midlife crisis and how meditation can help combat the menopause.