The life you planned vs. the life you have

Japanese girl in winter (drink version) Yesterday a friend shared a quote on her Facebook wall that resonated with me. I borrowed it (thanks Tanya) and immediately posted it on my wall…

You must be willing to get rid of the life you’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for you.

—Joseph Campbell

I started thinking about the life I’d planned and the life I have now. Many of the things I thought I’d be, would have done, and gotten to see, didn’t happen. But because they didn’t, I’ve been blessed to experience the things that did.  Travelling, new friendships, and a career I never thought I’d have, have all come as a result of my own best laid plans falling flat on their face.

Today, Women at Forty invites you to share your stories of “The life you planned vs. the life you have.” Have you been able to get out of your way long enough to live the life that’s been waiting for you, or are you still struggling with your best laid plains? We’ll share your answers in today’s posts.    

Click here to see what others have already submitted…

If Three 6 Mafia can win an Oscar…

oscars This is the rallying cry of a friend of mine. She’s the creative force behind Bella Flowers Books, a fellow blogger, and one day she’ll have an award winning screenplay. How does she know all this? Well, if Three 6 Mafia can win an Oscar…

Whenever she sounds the rallying cry, our little group of entrepreneurs laugh. Hard. And then we all nod in understanding and get back to work.

For those of you who have no idea who Three 6 Mafia is, they’re the group behind the 2005 song, “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp“, which won Best Original Song at the 78th Academy Awards. I am not a fan, nor could I identify the group’s members in a crowd of people. But millions of people worldwide can. And they have an Oscar.

I wonder if way back when Three-6 Mafia was merely a Couple of Guys and An Unorganized Gang, they ever thought to themselves, “one day, we will have an Oscar.”  I mean, I’m sure they thought Grammy definitely, but Oscar?!? Not so much. I imagine that even after receiving the nomination, when fellow nominees were proclaiming “It’s just an honor to be nominated,” Three 6 Mafia was more like “word?,” “for real?”  “seriously?”  But maybe not. Maybe they knew all along. Maybe they trusted their talent and knew that others would too – even if the word pimp was in the song’s title.  They were obviously on to something, because now Three 6 Mafia will forever be mentioned in the same circles as Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro. Maybe it’s not that hard out there for a pimp.

I never thought I’d be saying this, but maybe we can learn a lesson or two from Three 6 Mafia. Maybe if we trusted our talents more, and doubted ourselves less… Maybe if we spent more time being authentic, being who we really are, and less time conforming to what other people think we should be… And maybe if we write our books, start our businesses, work diligently on our blogs and pen our screenplays, even when no one is watching, maybe we’ll be saying “seriously?” one day as we’re presented with an honor we never imagined receiving.

So the Woman at Forty question for today is this, if Three 6 Mafia can win an Oscar, what can you do? Tell us in the comment section or submit your stories to

Maria’s Story: Why we need healthcare reform

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Women at Forty is asking readers to submit their true stories of challenge and triumph.  In today’s feature, guest blogger Rachel Dachel tells the touching story of a wife, mother and friend who fought cancer and her insurance company, and won.

breast cancer awareness Healthcare Reform is a national hot button topic; it has been for more than 15 years, as First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton made universal healthcare her priority and signature platform. Unfortunately, neither reform nor universal care materialized, so healthcare in America has continued on “as is.” Insanity can be defined as “continuing to do the same thing while expecting a different outcome.” It sounds as though America fits the description—at least as far as healthcare in this country is concerned.

For too many people, healthcare is more than just something being debated in town hall meetings and on cable news shows; it hits close to home. Not just acquiring coverage, but also having medical coverage and actually obtaining treatment and having it paid for in as timely and stress-free a manner as possible. Illness threatens the lives of millions of Americans and sadly, uncaring bureaucrats and greedy insurance corporations have threatened their sanity, faith and financial future while deciding if the cost of saving a life fits into the profit margin. Such was the case with my best friend, Maria.

Maria and I met at work in the late 90s. We worked for a company that was known for providing excellent benefits to its employees and their families. Insurance had covered the birth of her three children as well as the nicks, scrapes and broken bones that came along with rambunctious boys. Her healthcare coverage was part of why Maria remained with the company and always lauded it. Well, until she really needed it. Continue reading Maria’s Story: Why we need healthcare reform

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

breast cancer ribbon large October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of breast cancer survivors and the loved ones we’ve lost, Women at Forty will display our special pink logo throughout the month of October.

Forty is the year women are encouraged to get their first mammogram.  I’m gearing up for mine, and am curious about other women’s experiences.  I’ve heard horror stories about the discomfort and pain involved in getting a mammogram, but I’ve heard far more stories about how having one ultimately saved someone’s life.

Mammograms are about as comfortable as a visit to the gynecologist, but ladies, it’s something we’ve got to do for ourselves and the people who love us.  If you’re uninsured, like so many of us are, and worried about the cost of a mammogram, the United Breast Cancer Foundation (UBCF) links women to free or low cost breast screenings and follow-up care at their local hospitals and health centers. To find out where free screenings are in your area, visit the Free Breast Cancer Screening page on the (UBCF) website.

If you’ve got a personal story about getting your own mammogram done, surviving breast cancer or living with loss after a loved one has succumbed to breast cancer, please share your stories with us. You can submit your stories to If you’d like to acknowledge a survivor or lost loved one, please give them a Women at Forty shout in the comment section of this post. We’ll feature your stories and tributes throughout the month.

Running Toward Forty, Maybe Too Fast and Too Hard

Today, guest blogger Tricia Amiel speaks candidly about reaching forty. Maybe, a bit too quickly…

Tricia Amiel Getting close…almost there, the golden age of 40.  I’m a single, divorced mom of two boys, and a daughter recently “adopted”, a former student from the high school where I teach.  At the moment, I’m consumed by the notion of transition, making decisions, planning for the life I promised myself I’d have at 40…

Somehow, on my 39th birthday this past July, a clock started ticking.  I remembered that I had stated some years ago that if I didn’t have my life together by the time I was 40, I would find the nearest bridge…  I see 40 as a magic age, when all the mistakes of adulthood thus far have been reckoned with, corrected, accepted, dealt with.  But here I am, less than a year away, and life is a muddy puddle of problems, fears, broken relationships.

So I started a mission… Continue reading Running Toward Forty, Maybe Too Fast and Too Hard