The title of this post is partly plagiarism at work, I’m afraid. So, before going any further, I’d like to offer both my thanks and apologies to Joan Anderson. Although I tried really hard, this particular phrase resonated so strongly that I couldn’t come up with anything else that meant the same things to this particularly ‘unfinished woman.’
At various times over the years I’ve come across writing that’s spurred me to muse on aspects of my personal development. Last week I picked up Joan’s memoir (A year by the sea – thoughts of an unfinished woman) and was swept up in her uncomplicated prose and superbly crafted storytelling. Reading about her year of self-discovery was in many ways like reading parts of my own story and those of many of my female friends – women of a certain age (no longer young, but definitely not yet old) who are finally grasping that our journeys are anything but over.
We’re living longer, we’re working longer, and many of us are fitter and stronger than our mothers were at similar ages. With all of that is the emerging realisation that we’re ‘unfinished’, that we’re works in progress meandering through life towards new understandings of who we are, what we want and where we’re headed.
Why is it that so many of us only come to realise that we need to look after ourselves and our own development when we’re into our 50’s? Will our daughters fare better, I wonder? Will seeing us making these journeys help them to understand sooner that they don’t need to live their lives through the scripts of others?