I don’t know what happens really; I don’t know if it’s a gentle awakening, a creeping sense of change or a sudden lightening strike, but it seems that many of my friends and I are suddenly thrown into a new era of conflict (and with ourselves!).
Now don’t get me wrong, conflict isn’t always a bad thing. Often, it creates an opportunity to challenge the status quo, ask the existential questions that perhaps have been pushed to one side as we live, love and work.
Then suddenly, it's like your eyes are open and you stare around, like you’ve been holding your breath, head down getting to this point. Now, here you are, metaphorically standing on a hilltop with your life so far, laid out around you, so what do we do at this point? We start scrutinising, criticising, questioning, doubting…
“Who am I? What have I achieved? Does this person make me happy? Do I like this career choice? why do I not fully recognise that person in the mirror…. and even, who’s body is this that I’ve woken up with?!”
Some of this sense of losing something we once had, whether that is a physical interpretation of youthfulness, independence, desirability, credibility, power is directly linked to physiological changes within our bodies… fuelled by our dear friends hormones, emotion and the other big one, fear! Whether it be a fear of becoming old, fear of mortality or fear that this is our last chance - distilled into FOMO on life if we’re not quick.
How we answer the call to this inner turmoil defines how we move forward. For me I see it as a positive and a chance to grow, a chance to change. Midlife choices! I guess the truth is nobody really knows when his or her midlife point really is. It may have passed; it may be years away… so we must live for what we know – NOW.
I believe we have to find ways to quiet this negative mental chatter, energy wasted on defeatist thinking to focus, move forward and feel empowered to change and at this stage in our lives.
Women evolve. Women adapt. Women grow.
Sadly, that sometimes means that in order to continue our own personal development, our own life… to stay psychologically and emotionally happy, we must move through the fear of change to allow our lungs to fill and give ourselves the headspace to reflect and choose.
We don’t have to consider middle age, these big questions and life choices a midlife crisis, something to be scared of. Isn’t it exciting that we are living in a world where many societies are starting to awaken to the possibility that women can be desirable, successful, independent and powerful past 40?
We have amazing role models, trailblazers who are breaking down the stigmas, the resistance, the taboos inflicted on us for decades, a community of supportive women who show how fantastic this next chapter can be.
So, perhaps the key is not to focus on what makes us happy – in the moment so much, but defining what feeds our sense of feeling good about ourselves?
A midlife crisis is often associated with desperation, trying to recapture something that is lost… but I believe this point in our lives is about asserting control over our own future. Being decisive, brave and confident that age brings newness, excitement and opportunity.
I feel myself in the midst of this chapter in my life and you know what, I’m excited.