Why Adele is No Longer Last on the List
I’ve just come back from a fabulous holiday in Santorini with my lovely hubby. God knows, I needed the break!
Although I have lots going on in my various businesses, I was determined to practice what I preach and prioritise my own self-care by taking some time off. The fact that my self-care included a plunge pool was a happy bonus!
While away, I tried to unplug from the online world as much as possible. Still, one thing I couldn’t resist reading was Abby Aguirre’s fantastic interview with singer Adele for Vogue.
Have you read it yet? I recommend it.
Adele’s interview links in well with the years anniversary of my book, No Longer Last on the List!
It’s been a year since I published my book!
The timing of the interview felt serendipitous to me. This week, it’s a year since I published my book, No Longer Last on the List.
The themes from the book have been on my mind as I’ve reflected on the last 12 months.
What a year it’s been!
There have been some low points (please, no more lockdowns). But also some incredible high points professionally! Such as being shortlisted for a book award and appearing as a guest on so many fantastic podcasts.
Adele’s interview bought many of the topics from the book and what’s been on my mind into sharp relief.
We sort of fall for the myth that other people have it all in life, don’t we? Celebrities are the extreme of this.
Fame, fortune, adoration, financial security, choices, confidence – it’s theirs for the taking. I mean, yes, the press can be vicious and love to build people up just to tear them down, but I bet most of us look at someone like Adele and think, “Wow, she’s living the dream”.
What the interview highlighted is that even someone who seems to tick the boxes for what society deems “successful” can face adversity or lose their identity or purpose for a while.
Even Adele, with her talent and acclaim, has had to learn to rise above the weight of other people’s expectations and put her own needs first.
It’s seems that none of us is really that different, after all.
I don’t want to talk about everything covered in the interview because I really do hope you’ll go away and read it yourself. However, I would like to pull out a couple of the key bits that resonated with me.
Adele’s “Year of Anxiety”
Several times in the interview, Adele mentions her “Year of Anxiety”, 2017, when she had to cancel two major shows due to needing to rest her voice.
It’s clear that this was just one of the crises she was facing. She started asking difficult questions about her life, “Who am I? What do I want to do? What makes me truly happy? All those things.”
In the end, the answers led Adele to realise that both she and her husband had been going through the motions in their marriage and neither of them were truly happy. She talks about wanting her son to see her really love someone and be really loved in return.
Eventually, she filed for divorce.
Although I don’t talk about divorce as such in No Longer Last on the List, much of the book is about letting go of what other people want for you or expect from you and listening to your own instincts about what’s right for your life.
Adele’s interview exemplifies this. She describes how she has been on a “journey to find true happiness ever since”.
While most of us don’t need to make changes quite as life-changing as divorce, we may need to do some soul-searching about what we truly want from life.
Breaking old patterns
Therapy has clearly been an important part of this journey for Adele. And with so many people struggling with their mental health at the moment (thanks, in part, to the pandemic), it’s a welcome reminder that it’s OK to ask for help.
One of the big reasons I love being part of mastermind groups is because they’re so supportive. We all need people in our corner. And sometimes we need people who will help us create powerful new habits and let go of what doesn’t work.
According to Adele, she kept repeating old patterns of behavior, especially in her relationships. She believed people would hurt her or that she would never be a priority for them, describing many of her relationships as “toxic”.
Our past experiences definitely help to set up the limiting beliefs and traps we fall into. There are a couple of chapters dedicated to this in my book.
Limiting beliefs are the stories we tell ourselves that keep us stuck. “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not clever enough”, “People always leave”, “I let everyone down” – the beliefs differ but the impact is the same.
Adele is obviously working hard to challenge her limiting beliefs, break old patterns and spend time with people who lift her up rather than bring her down.
I’m totally here for that! To me, that’s what self-care is really about.
Understandably, Adele frequently mentions her son Angelo in the Vogue interview. She talks about how some of the most difficult moments surrounding her divorce have involved her son.
One of the stand-out quotes for me is:
Even during the turbulent moments, Adele had faith that she was doing the right thing. “If I can reach the reason why I left, which was the pursuit of my own happiness, even though it made Angelo really unhappy—if I can find that happiness and he sees me in that happiness, then maybe I’ll be able to forgive myself for it.”
The singer could have stayed in her marriage to avoid hurting her son in the short-term but she has a deep wisdom that putting her needs last wouldn’t have been fair to anyone and would have caused more pain eventually.
Both Adele and her husband would have been living half a life and they would have been modelling that for their son. They all deserve more.
By prioritising her own happiness, Adele is showing Angelo what it looks like to turn to yourself for purpose and fulfilment, rather than expecting other people to be responsible for how you feel.
It is absolutely true that you can’t be there for other people without taking care of your own oxygen mask first.
“I just want to love you for free. Everyone wants something from me”
Interviewer Abby Aquirre specifically mentions these lyrics from one of the song on Adele’s new album: “I just want to love you for free / Everybody wants something from me / You just want me.”
Again, this resonates strongly with me.
The more responsibilities we have in life, the more we can feel like everyone wants something from us. This is when the weight of other people’s expectations can be overwhelming.
There’s a whole chapter in No Longer Last on the List about this. When people have an opinion about everything from the way you parent, the job you do, the clothes you wear or the size of your body, no wonder it’s hard to prioritise what you want over all that noise.
In the interview, Adele talks about living as a recluse and withdrawing from the limelight to cope. Many of us keep ourselves small and safe as a coping mechanism against what other people think.
Even her choice to turn to exercise to improve her health and manage her anxiety has been dissected endlessly. She talks about women being hurt by her weight loss because they looked to her to represent them.
Seriously, Adele almost broke the flippin’ internet when she lost weight! I’m not surprised she’s decided to consciously break away from other people’s expectations in pursuit of her own joy!
One of the endpoints to the interview is when a friend of Adele’s, Laura Dockrill, describes the singer belting out “Young hearts run free” to a packed pub and knowing that she had come through the “fog” of anxiety and depression.
Dockrill looked at the friend she’s known for 20 years and realised, “Okay, she’s back”.
I often think there is an element of revisiting our younger selves when we go on a journey to find our own happiness.
What did you enjoy as a child? What were your passions? What lit you up inside?
What did you dream was possible before someone told you no? Were there activities that made you lose track of time?
I deliberately included practical activities in No Longer Last on the List designed to help you ask these questions and leverage the answers.
If you’ve been putting yourself bottom of your priority list or you feel a bit lost, just channel your inner Adele and imagine how cool it would be to look in the mirror and think, “Yeah, baby, she’s back!”
If you haven’t read No Longer Last on the List yet, what are you waiting for? It’s an amazing self-growth book for busy women who deserve to be at the top their priority list without guilt. Grab your copy here.