Hushing the Inner Critic and Random Thoughts

A few weeks ago, I went to hear Canadian mystery writer, Louise Penny speak. In my years in libraries, author visits were always a highlight. Like many accomplished speakers, Ms. Penny spoke in general terms about her works and at greater length about her personal involvement in the writing process. After leaving her employment with the CBC, Canada's national radio network, she began to write "her novel." After abandoning a historical novel, she started a mystery but found that she couldn't write. It was not until she was advised to "silence her inner critic" was she able to complete her mystery and to go on to write a series of ten mysteries, the latest of which The Long Way Home is at the top of the New York Times best-seller list.

How often I find myself feeling unsure! Uncertainty is a fact of life but it is so important that we don't let it hold us back. Last night, I was at a group meeting where the question was asked, "What is one new activity that you have tried or experience that you have had in the last few months?" The responses were varied but, as a group of older adults, we all acknowledged how important it is to continue to add new experiences to our lives.

I used to have a book called Fear the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. Jeffers maintained that failure is a pathway to growth. Obviously, nothing can be achieved without a little risk. While intellectually I may know this, I still feel anxiety on a regular basis. Judging myself and finding myself not quite "meeting expectations"

Life is change! Retirement is probably one of life's biggest adventures. Whatever our financial circumstances are, we all have to face the challenge of how to spend our days when we are no longer employed. Some people find that relationships become more difficult the more hours that are spent together. When I bought our two wicker chairs, I thought that Monsieur and I would sit reading and gazing off into the sunset together. Monsieur, who would rather use the area as a rehearsal area, maintains that the chairs are too big and anyway, the balcony faces east.

Making changes, losing weight, starting new activities, meeting new people, travel….even  good things can cause anxiety.

"What if you fail?" that nasty critic voice asks. There are so many little niggling doubts. Yesterday at Weight Watchers, the meeting's topic was "Restart." When something doesn't work, you simply put it behind you and start again.  Impatience and negative self-talk are a pointless waste of time.

Going grey has been a major change this year.

One thing that I still struggle with is blog photography. My apartment does not have great light and I seem to have to resort to the Photobooth selfie from time to time. I find it hard to click and smile at the same time.
I am thinking about Scotland and what will be decided.
My travels this year have taken me many places and I have so many pictures. Looking back on my visit to Britain, I wonder what the future or tomorrow will bring.


  1. Mine can be deafening, nasty inner critic that she is! I'm getting better at talking over her or talking back to her. Sometimes I can even ignore her. . . .

  2. I am learning to ignore her. It is not so easy and at age 62, self-criticism is a hard habit to break.

  3. Inner critic is one of the most descriptive terms I've ever heard. Shared it -- along with the silence it part, LOL -- with so many people I know. Thanks for passing along.

  4. Thank you for this post. My inner critic could definitely stand some shushing.

  5. I am seventy and auditing graduate courses in anthropology at a nearby university. This is a totally new field for me. It is a challenge as the students are 40 to 50 years younger and were not even born at the time I took my bar exam. Although I am auditing, the professors let me do all of the course work and take the exams. My inner critic is often at work especially since I started my most recent course in behavioral endocrinology. My inner critic is practically shouting at me that I am too old to be doing this but I want to so I persevere. The course work is fascinating.

    I enjoy your blog and am always eager for a new post.


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