I am proud to call Michelle a friend! SO proud! I have so much respect and admiration for this amazing woman. I’ve known Michelle for years, we also met online through an infertility support forum many many years ago. Life has a funny way of working out and just at a time when Michelle believed she was living her happy ever after, she lost her husband tragically in a freak accident. And yet, this woman has handled her grief with so much grace, it’s been an incredible process to witness!
Michelle believes, and I agree, happiness is a choice, she also says: “I may have lost my husband BUT I have not lost my life. It is mine to live and I owe this to myself and my son.”
Read her full story below, you will be blown away by her outlook on life!
Name and age
Michelle Rumney – 46 (sticking with that for a few more weeks)
How do you feel now that you’re in your forties?
Honestly? Mostly, I still feel 18 or 20 although my body would disagree completely.
But I know that I am not the same person I was at that age, mentally, physically and emotionally there has been a lot of water under the bridge to create and sculpt the person I am today. Like a sculpture, we begin our lives as a basic “lump” of clay which life sculpts and moulds with everything life throws at us. Right now, I know I am an unfinished sculpture and I am not sure I ever will be complete but I look forward to seeing what the sculptor has in store for me.
What has been your greatest achievement since turning forty?
Events in our lives change us forever; milestones alter us and our plans. Getting married, changes us and our dynamics, buying a house together, having children and even getting pets. Suddenly we are “adulting” and making major decisions in our lives.
So, I only had my son at 38, six years after beginning our infertility journey. He has been a joy in my life and has taught me so much about myself, even in his young life. I lost a second pregnancy when I was 41 and after that my husband and I decided not to try for any more children. This was a defining moment and one which altered our priorities. When the pressure to have more children was removed we both began to live more. Both of us began enjoying our outside interests again and I could see the positive impact this had on our relationship.
I spent more time riding my horse and my husband took up hang gliding and paragliding again. These had been passions of his before I met him but had long been shelved to run a business and have a family. Suddenly, the time and resources were available to pursue this again.
I would never have dreamt of telling him he could not partake in something that gave him such pleasure and relaxation. However, never in my wildest dreams did I for a minute think that his passion for flying would also leave me a widow 2 days before Christmas and my 6 year old without a father.
18 months have passed since that fateful day and during this time I have had to face so many life altering decisions on my own. Packing up his personal possessions, selling the flying equipment, putting our family home on the market, finding a new home in a smaller complex, knowing that we could only take 2 of our 5 dogs with us, buying a new car and making a difficult decision to move my son out of private schooling at the end of this year. But most of all finding the inner strength and confidence to begin a business for myself this year.
This has been the most difficult and greatest achievement for me. It has been the scariest and loneliest journey. It’s taken guts and determination. Not wanting to blab to all and sundry of my ideas until they came to fruition. Having no one to bounce ideas off during hours of insomnia. Doubting myself and my product. I have had to dig deeper than ever before.
Rubadoo – as it is called – began as an idea in February this year. Hours, days and months of planning culminated in my launch on 23 June. Rubadoo has been trading for just over 2 weeks now and need never have doubted my products. The past 2 weeks have been tribute to that and proved that the time spent developing my products has been well worth it. Long may it last!
Over the past year and a half, so many people have commented on how well I am doing and how strong I have been. It has made me take a long hard look at myself and I think I attribute this to the following:
- I may have lost my husband BUT I have not lost my life. It is mine to live and I owe this to myself and my son.
- Refusing to let this event define my life – I am Michelle Rumney. I may be a widow but I won’t be defined as – this is Michelle and she is a widow.
- Being self-assured enough to know that somehow we will be ok
- Making a conscious decision to be happy – this one is not always easy and I have many internal conversations with myself
- Surrounding myself with positive people
I have also learnt that I am a far more compassionate person in my forties than I was in my 20s. I have always been compassionate but I was far harder and tougher when I was younger, probably because my job was largely rather tough and required managing staff and or clients.
I like the softer, stronger and more self-assured Michelle.
Now, as a mature woman, do you have any regrets? Anything you wish you could go back and do differently?
Although, I loved the diploma I did at Tech and did really well at it. If I could go back, I would certainly have chosen a different career path to what I did. In hindsight, I should have gone to chef school. But at 18 I was too immature emotionally to think beyond the immediate gratification and enjoyment of doing something as creative as I did. (I have a Diploma in Theatre Craft – Make-up and costume design). Subsequently turned to textile design for 20 odd years.
Secondly, would definitely have looked into having children sooner after getting married although I never married till 32 anyway.
If you could talk to your 20 or 30 something self, what would be one piece of advice you’d give yourself.
We all have “life plans” – married at 28, 3 kids by 35 and the house and picket fence etc. Never cast your “life Plan” in stone and leave room to be flexible to adapt with life. You never know what will come your way.
What has been one/some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed within yourself since turning forty?
When I was young, I think, I was not in touch with myself as a person as much as I could have been. I spent a great deal of time trying to establish for myself who or what I was. Now in my forties I have reached a point in my life that nothing or no –one can define who or what I am but myself. I am proud of the woman I have become.
What do you still hope to achieve in your forties?
Well whatever I still hope to achieve I will have to hurry – only 3 years left to do so.
Having begun a business of my own for the first time in my life this year, I hope that I can grow this business to a point where I am confident that I can financially sustain mine and my son’s lifestyle.
I also hope to run my first half marathon ever! I was always a sprinter at school and can honestly say that I don’t always enjoy running but this a personal goal I have set myself and I would dearly like to achieve this.
What advice would you give to women who are fearful about approaching forty?
Never be complacent and think that your life is perfect and never take anything for granted – one second or one decision can change your life forever in ways you never suspect. So live each day as if it is your last, and encourage those you love to do the same.
What is one of societies stereotypes about women in their forties that you wish you could change?
Over time the image of 40 something woman has changed somewhat. When we were children, most woman in their 40s had children leaving school.
Today’s woman in their 40s are all about family first but a top priority also remains themselves. I think they realise without investing in themselves they cannot give the best of themselves to their families. There is a greater and healthier balance to our lives of work, family and fun. Even though, life is far more fast paced now than it ever was.
Any parting thoughts or comments?
A quote from Nikita Gill to all woman in their 40s or not….
“They keep saying that beautiful is something a girl needs to be. But honestly? Forget that. Don’t be beautiful. Be angry, be intelligent, be witty, be klutzy, be interesting, be funny, be adventurous, be crazy, be talented – there are an eternity of other things to be other than beautiful. And what is beautiful anyway but a set of letters strung together to make a word? Be your own definition of amazing, always. That is so much more important than anything beautiful, ever.”
Mich, as I said to you earlier this week. It is an honour to know you, I have no doubt your grace and your strength touches the lives of so many. Stay beautiful!
Would you like to be featured in our Fierce, Fearless, Fabulous Forty series?
Then drop me an email.