Winning after 40 – Shilpa Godbole
Shilpa Godbole is an artist, a writer, and a celebrated marathon runner. She combines her artwork with creative writing as a medium to put forth views. Most of her art and writings are women centric. She does mixed media art and personalized illustrations. On this Women’s Day, Shilpa pens down her thoughts about women, their challenges and the importance of self-awareness.
Here’s a fun fact for you, striking the wrong side of 40 means that nobody is really surprised to hear that you are unhappy and unsatisfied. You might find it astonishing, but nobody else does. It’s almost like it’s meant to happen and you are supposed to deal with it, period.
It hits particularly hard when you see other women in the same age group as you, happy and content, and guess what? Some of them also seem to be running the world. Go figure. They don’t seem to be fighting any internal tug of war within themselves. They are self-assured about their choices and thus are incredibly good at what they do.
The Way Out
I went through a period of self-doubt when mid-life crisis fell into my lap. I decided to take charge of it and started working out, eating healthier and making certain lifestyle changes. Waking up at an insane hour to manage household chores so as to arrange the time to go running or to the gym was not easy. I had to readjust my priorities a bit because I realized that life was passing me by and that every second counted.
There was slow and steady progress and I started liking the benefits of working out. It put me in a much better frame of mind. I got hooked to exercise which led to a dramatic change in my self esteem. I started socializing more and made it a point to do things that I enjoyed the most.
Losing weight along the way was an added bonus. My journey with running also introduced me to some incredible women who lived up to the quote ‘it’s not about “having” time, It’s about making time’. Women, who had deadlines to meet, groceries to buy, homes to run, professions to practice, brood to raise, timelines to meet, PTAs to attend, spouses to attend to, parents, in-laws, grandparents and many such undertakings, and yet they took out the time to run.
Notwithstanding the naysayers and creepy starter, these ladies show up day after day. They tie their shoelaces, hold their heads high, swing their arms, land one foot in front of the other till they find their very own rhythm. Some run for the solitude, some for clarity of thought, some to empower themselves, some, to be fit, some, to make their hearts stronger. Whatever their reasons, these extraordinary women inspired me to take up running.
Running made it easier for me to learn the mantra ‘love thyself’, which made my journey through the stereotypical mid-life crisis, exciting. It brought me one step closer to finding clarity on what mattered most and one step away from sweating the small stuff, by focusing on the glass-is-half-empty model.
I realized that when you start loving yourself and learn to focus on doing things that make you happy, it reflects in everything you do. Also, I learned that loving yourself doesn’t make you bad or self centered.
Running has been a high point in my life, as it made me realize who I am as a person and also gave me the strength and determination to love myself, warts and all.
Here’s to my friends, role models, mentors who helped me perceive that, the secret to “having it all” is to liking yourself and in knowing that in reality there is no “have it all”.
Happy Women’s Day 2016!