Value, Peace and Power in Confronting Life’s Difficult Topics

Value, Peace and Power in Confronting Life’s Difficult Topics

“Les Chuchoteuses,” by Rose-Aimée Bélanger, Montréal, Canada

I found another “pearl” I had to share with you.  Here’s something from Sondra Wright, whose articles I’ve been enjoying for some time on her blog 40PlusAndFabulous.  I wanted you to get to know her, too, so I invited Sondra to guest post here today.

Value, Peace and Power in Confronting Life’s Difficult Topics by Sondra Wright

Read by Sharon O’Day

It seems strange to have to invite women to sit down and talk.  After all, isn’t talking one of the things we do really well?  I mean, my entire life I’ve heard how we’re so much better at verbally expressing ourselves than our male counterparts.

And on the surface it would seem so.  Women eagerly seek each other out to talk office gossip, shoes and handbags, kids’ report cards, and who did what to whom on our favorite reality TV shows.  Occasionally we may even touch on some deeper topics like illness, divorce, and sexuality.

But when it comes to the real topics that matter most in our lives, topics like planning long-term for our future health needs, whether or not we have adequate resources for our future financial needs, or making sure our loved ones know what our future medical wishes are, who’s talking now?

These are the tough topics many of us would rather have a root canal than discuss.  They’re the monsters that evoke certain fears in us, and so we hide our concerns and seek relief in the arms of avoidance.  But avoidance brings a relief that is only temporary, as unfinished business always finds its way back.

Peace and empowerment, however, come from facing challenges head on, staring them in the eye, and addressing them with the power of our choices.  And as you do, what you find may surprise you:  your choices really DO matter, these nagging topics never had any power except the false power you gave them, and you were never alone.

There are others out there.  Women like you who share the same joys and pains, dreams and fears, but just like you, simply are not discussing them.  It’s time to break the silence.

The reality is, as unique and as individual as we are, our journey is a shared one.  There are things we all have in common and experiences we will all share:  each of us will lose someone, none of us will live forever, and every one of us deserves the best.

My suggestion is simple; invite some girlfriends over and have “the talk.”  A bottle of wine, a little fruit and cheese, and some background music are all optional, but will certainly lighten the mood.

Invite a financial planner, estate planner, or family law attorney to the party.  Throw in a couple of games and prizes and make “tough talk” fun.  Creating a safe, fun, and educational environment for women to come together, explore concerns, discover solutions, and feel validated is extremely necessary, highly rewarding, and the best gift you could ever give a girlfriend.

Need Resources, Handouts, or Discussion Materials for Your Group?

AARP has launched the Decide.Create.Share(SM) Initiative, a public education effort designed to help women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s take charge of their futures today so they will be adequately prepared for a safe, healthy, and secure tomorrow.

You may even be able to attend one of their live information sessions, with free long-term care planning, held in select cities nationwide.

Visit AARP’s Decide.Create.Share (SM) Initiative for more information and to get guides, fact sheets, brochures, and webinars; in short, all the tools and sound advice you need to start securing your future.

Be sure to let us know in the Comments section below what challenges you’ve faced trying to have “the talk” with yourself or someone else!

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Bio:  Sondra Wright is a certified behavior specialist, midlife transitions and personal development coach, and expert on women and aging.  With a passion for helping women 40 and over debunk myths, shatter stereotypes, and break through barriers that prevent them from becoming all they can be in midlife and beyond, Sondra has become a sought-after speaker and bestselling author with her breakout book 40+ and Fabulous: Moving Forward Fierce Focused and Full of Life!

 

  • What a great idea to have a group talk and making it fun! Your post made me think of how much of a taboo exists around discussing finances with others. (Maybe it’s a cultural thing being across the water!) But there are many women I know in the age groups you highlight but we never get together to look at what options are available for us even though our situations may be very similar.
    You’ve got me thinking Sondra! Thank you!

    • It would be interesting, Carolyn, to someday look into how different we are “across the water” in how we think about and (don’t) talk about money! I hear a lot of similarities, but there might also be differences …

    • Sondra

      Absolutely Carolyn!! There’s no reason at all it shouldn’t be fun. We have parties all the time anyway; cooking parties, jewelry parties, skincare parties. Why not throw some financially savvy sisters parties into the mix?!! WhooHoo!! Let the fun begin!

  • What a creative idea! I have always said that I stay sane because of my incredible group of girlfriends. Throwing a financial planner into the mix would be fun!

    • But I’m amazed, Martha, at how many BFF’s don’t know what’s really going on in each other’s financial lives, especially when one or both is married. It’s as if it would be breaking a marital vow to discuss something they might otherwise discuss if it were just the two of them. Yet the power of the friendship comes from the joint learning and growing …

    • Sondra

      Fun and it takes the pressure off Martha!! You get the party started for your group! Ready – set – go!!

  • motherhoodinsights

    This is a good idea, I have this in my thought for quite a long time now but I never had anyone whom I can talk about financial…It got me to think more seriously about this 🙂

    • This is a conversation that you want to try to have as soon as you can, because nothing is gained by waiting. Find a friend, or someone in your community, who has some financial knowledge. The important thing to remember is that whatever your “numbers” are today, they represent a moment in time. But without knowing them, and knowing what financial steps to take, your financial journey can be ten times as hard! 😉

    • Sondra

      Take note and take charge my friend. There’s no time like today to act on a thought that’s been with you for a while.

  • Olga Hermans

    I like that idea of making it fun while doing some other things concerning our finances. I think we women still think that finances are mainly our husband’s responsibility and when our relationship with our husbands aren’t going that well, we rather don’t talk about it….

    • Olga, that’s exactly why I wrote an article called “Your Man is Not Your Retirement Plan” (http://sharonoday.com/your-man-not-your-retirement-plan/). Whether our relationships are going well or not, it is ultimately OUR responsibility to be sure we are in control of our own finances and our financial futures! Then, if everything else goes well, we’re that much further ahead. But if it doesn’t, we’ll still be fine for the rest of our lives. THAT’s financial peace of mind!

    • Sondra

      And sadly enough Olga, when those husbands are no longer there, perhaps due to death or divorce, we’re often left clueless about our finances. But we can change all of that!! If each of us commits today to taking a proactive stance, then grabbing a girlfriend by the hand and helping her do the same, we’ll all be able to enjoy a financially wise and prosperous future!! Cheers!

  • Love this… such a great idea! There are tough questions and in a fun enviroment breaks the ice! 🙂 Thank you Sharon for sharing Sondra’s great message!

    • Glad you had a chance to read Sondra’s writings, Solvita!

  • Pat Moon

    There are 2 things that have helped me in discussing the hard topics: 1) simply growing older in age causes us to think ahead and not want to leave a burden for those left behind 2) dealing with my own mother and my mom-n-law who are both in their 90’s.
    When you are experiencing something first hand, it is part of your everyday life and therefore leads to conversations that need to be discussed. The idea of having a fun party among friends especially for those who are not actually experiencing the hard topics first hand is a great idea. Thanks for a great article.

    • Pat, I find that women are more willing to look at their financial futures after 50 or so. As you say, they might be dealing with the situation of an elder … or they’re suddenly keenly aware that they’re just a decade away from the end of the natural work cycle … but have to finance 30 more years! Obviously, the earlier the better … but we deal with it when it wants to be dealt with! 😉

  • barbara peters

    I love this lady and her work as I do yours for the same reason. Her topics are relavent and important! Enjoyed as always Sharron!

    • Thanks, Barbara. I’m glad Sondra agreed to write this for us, as I enjoy bringing a new viewpoint on my favorite topic: women and money!

  • Great information. The challenge I have is that my closest friends are excellent healers…and barely making it financially. Unfortunately, too many are in survival mode, barely able to cover their bills…not the kind of group where we could have “the talk.”

    • Instead of a professional advisor, Meryl, the “invitee” could be another friend who knows more about handling money than they do. Or copy a chapter of a good book that talks about money mindset, and distribute it in advance so you can discuss it as a group. I would even venture to say that the right conversation about money might actually open some of them up to earning more.

  • What an awesome idea!

    • Isn’t that great, Sherie? That would certainly take a little of the sting out of a topic women know they need to address, but have gotten so good at avoiding! 😉

  • Fantastic idea! And I loved this line, “Peace and empowerment, however, come from facing challenges head on,
    staring them in the eye, and addressing them with the power of our
    choices.” Thanks, Sharon, for sharing Sondra’s article.

    • You’re very welcome, Lisa. I love using this platform to introduce readers to new writers … especially when their message is so “dead on!”

  • I recently had a long talk with a good friend who is a lawyer about this exact topic and it really alarmed me – just how much I didn’t know and more importantly how much I was unprepared for. No one wants to be in a situation where an already painful situation is made worse because of lack of preparation….great ideas in this articlel!!! Thanks!

    • Michelle, we often get so hung up “living” life that we never focus on the topics that could have a massive impact on HOW we live it … sooner OR later. Glad you got the wake-up call!

  • Oh Sharon. You are so right!

    • Isn’t Sondra great, Sally? She’s so “dead on!” 😉

  • maggie currie

    Great article

  • I am learning so much from you Sharon, thanks for all you do. I am not well versed in financial matters…Thank goodness you come into my life 🙂

    • Happy to help in any way I can, Anita, I hope you know that!

  • so relevant and informative. Thank you! I love visiting your blog!

    • Karen, the topic of women and their control over their finances (or not!) is so “front-burner” these days that I feel I have to keep coming back to it and shining a light on each aspect. Glad it’s useful to you!

  • Tereza Litsa

    Nice ideas and very interesting article!

  • I love reading your articles Sharon. Every time I learn something new. Thank you!

    • I’m glad I can do that for you, Anastasiya! (But them, I have a few years up on you … 😉

  • Sondra’s article is so spot on! So often we just “don’t want to go there” with the conversation with even our close friends. It’s like if we don’t talk about it, it’s not real and so we don’t have to deal with it. Having good friends to talk about these very important issues is so crucial and that support and love will bring you through anything life can throw at you!

    • Lisa, the only problem with the “if we don’t talk about it, it’s not real” tactic … is that our subconscious is sneakier than we think. Those issues just play over and over in our brains, in the background, and get blown out of proportion because they don’t have the boundaries of reality and knowledge to hold them in check! BTW, your friends will thank you for starting the “out loud” dialog. 😉

  • I love the “tough talk” get together idea. Truth is that we don’t want to dig into the real issues. Making is a fun event might be an easier pill to swallow. Thanks!

    • However you can figure out to “swallow the pill,” Lisa … you’ll be glad one day that you did it. I know that’s a tough motivator, but time flies so fast …

  • Carol Giambri

    Sharon, thanks for great post. I didn’t know AARP had a program for the women 40, 50, 60. Always find your posts informative.

    • AARP has one giant funnel, Carol. 😉 They’ll welcome you at any age! But they do have excellent information …

  • Gretchen Pritts

    Great idea. Making something fun out of a topic that everyone wants to avoid. Thanks for the tip.

    • You’re very welcome, Gretchen. Whatever it takes to get people to have talks about those less appealing topics … because I know what a difference it makes once they’ve had them!

  • Very good ideas! I treasure my female friends that I can talk to about any thing!