I get a lot of news articles on reinvention and midlife delivered to my inbox. I had to laugh today when I received several listing out the worst of what midlife means for women. After all, women just seem to fall apart after the age of 40.
- Our bodies change
- We need glasses to read anything at all
- Our beauty begins to fade
- We lose relationships
- We lose self-confidence
- We no longer enjoy sex
- We have hot flashes, night sweats, and brain fog, oh my!
Yep, we really start fading away once we reach that four-decade mark …
Unless you decide you’re not going to listen to what they tell you starts to ail you. Unless you determine you’re going to approach middle age differently.
All of a sudden it becomes … Fabulous!
Think you don’t get happier as you age? Think again. Science proves it!
We cram education into every waking moment in our earliest years. We work in overdrive as we move into our prime. But then when we reach midlife, something changes. Our priorities change. We no longer have the same priorities to worry about. In fact, we can throw a lot of our worries away.
Sell off your house, get rid of two-thirds of your stuff, and choose to move and slow travel for the rest of your life? Sure, why not?
Because you don’t have the go-go-go attitude that comes along with youth, you are more self-confident, more self-assured with where you are. You’re happy! And that’s a pretty good place to be.
I Sleep More
I remember when all I did was stay busy.
I got the degree because my parents pushed. (Gratefully so, but they still pushed.)
I got the job and moved around because I wanted to work my way up the ladder.
I joined clubs and groups and committees to further my goals. I needed to prove who I was. To make a name for myself.
And I became BUSY for the sake of being busy. If I had an hour to spare, I had time for something else. If I slept more than four hours a night, I didn’t have enough to do. I could sleep when I was dead, after all.
But then it all started catching up with me. If I sat down, I fell asleep. So I never sat. Busy, busy, busy.
When I started falling asleep driving, I took notice. Ever fallen asleep at a stop light? Terrifying.
It was a long battle back to sleep. I had to recondition my brain that I wanted to sleep. I had to work with a naturopathic to supplement and get my hormones back into shape. I had to darken the room, banish my mobile devices. I had to turn everything off so that I could give my body what it needed most.
I Love Love
Every marriage or relationship has its ups and downs. Being married 30 years, I can tell you it’s been a roller coaster, with peaks and valleys throughout the years.
When I was busy, making time for each other seemed like a necessary chore. We calendared date nights as all the magazines told us too. And half the time we spent talking about business. Busy, busy, busy.
Sure, he was my partner. Sure, he was my friend. But love? I’m not entirely sure I understood that he was still my lover in the broadest sense of the word.
Take me or leave me. That was my attitude. I barely had time for anything. How was I supposed to take the time to look good for him? I’d known him forever. He’d just have to deal with me. Or so I thought.
Suddenly, something changed. We faced an empty nest and everything changed. We changed our lives. We moved. We adjusted everything. And I wanted to be better, for me, for him.
I tried harder. I look better. I spend more time on what I wear, how I look, and the way I do what I do when we’re together.
I’m not saying I wear dresses and pearls when I clean the house. But I’ve ditched the old clothes and attempt to look my best – even in my yoga pants. I’ve bought my first bikini in – maybe twenty years? – because he wants me to wear one on an upcoming trip. And I’ve worked on me enough to realize I look pretty damn good at 53. Why not feel comfortable in my own skin! (And a bikini!) 😉
I tell him every day how much he means to me. I make an effort. Because I’m in love. I’ve made love my priority and I practice my skills and approach every day.
I Look Different, But I Like Myself More
Way back in elementary school, I was a quiet, shy girl. I had very light hair and pale skin. Years later, I had a friend who told me when she first met me, she thought I was an alien. I never spoke, always watched. My confidence grew (slowly) through school as I covered up all of that with fancy hairstyles and makeup. I curled and permed to give myself BIG hair. I have one photo from prom where I swear the makeup was on three inches thick.
Fast forward and the wrinkles are there, the skin sags a bit more, things are a little more … droopy. 🙂 But I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life.
As I aged, I began working on the inside. All of the insecurities in my mind were filled with knowledge and experience. And with each step forward, I could take off a little of the “war paint” I had applied to look the part.
Straight hair? Not a problem. I even throw my hair up into a ponytail now. And trust me when I say that’s a very big deal.
I also have stopped with the war paint. I found Boom cosmetics a year or so ago, and I love both her product and her voice. She recently ran a promotion on Facebook asking women to post two photos: one old and one new. (What do you think of mine?) Then write up a few words about who you were in each photo, and how you feel about who you’ve become. The beauty shines through in all of these lovely middle-aged women.
Who would go back to that old person? We’re so much more amazing right now. Wrinkles and all.
I’m More Persistent About Finding An Answer
Remember that quiet, shy person I spoke of above? Yep, whenever things happened in my twenties, I’d sit back quietly and never speak up. Things happened to me, and my life was built around what everyone else wanted.
One day a thought rolled around in my brain: I don’t want to do this anymore.
It was a small task. But I built up the courage to say no. And it felt good. Great!
And that’s where the research began. I started questioning everything. And it changed everything.
That’s how I ended up vegan. I wasn’t willing to sit back and wind up in the same position as my dad. So stressed out from his job that he died from a heart attack at fifty-four.
That’s how I started my own business. I said no to the corporate lifestyle once and for all.
That’s how I sold off my forever home and two-thirds of my stuff to slow travel the world for the rest of my life.
If it doesn’t work anymore, I take the time I need to figure out my path. I carefully lay out the strategy to take me to where I want to be. And it’s working out so far.