Strong Women Over Fifty

Positive Midlife Transition is not a Midlife Crisis?

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A Brief Look at Midlife as One of Life’s Transitions

All transitions can be scary. There, that's the truth. Midlife is yet another transition in life with physical and mental effects; however, remember puberty? Learning to walk? (probably not), your first broken heart? It is a challenging time when, as teenagers, we discover changes to our body and moods … yikes! The moment you find out that your body could potentially reproduce is the same moment a layer of your security blanket is lifted. This security blanket is 'childhood'.

The dynamics that had formed the unspoken consensus of what it means to be a child have changed. You have embarked on a new road leading to a new version of mutual respect. You may feel the level of security afforded by parental rules, expectations, and control is diminishing. At around twelve years of age, this was, of course, totally irrational and slightly premature, but there was a definite shift in the balance of independence and control.

Parental fears of you falling and grazing your knee become memories saturated with nostalgia because now, greater concerns emerge. These greater concerns lead to parental attempts at greater control. (And often house arrest or was that just me?). More often than not, heated arguments and door slamming rituals ensue. My point is, those times were not all Tinkerbell and unicorns

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like
— Lau Tzu

Midlife and Menopause are not a Crisis

The point I wish to make is this: when we speak about the menopause, yes it can be difficult for some women, yes it hits us all in different ways, and yes, the weight is harder to keep off. On the other hand, there are many positives too.

Beauty is subjective and takes many forms, enter the increasing number of women choosing to embrace their grey and redefine beauty. Consider also, that the wealth of experience we have to offer, not only to others but also to ourselves, is priceless.

No one has experienced ‘you’ as much as you. It may be time to practice mindfulness about the present and the past to indeed reveal our true authentic selves to ourselves. It is time to do anything at all that enables that awareness to rise within us because ladies, knowledge is power; knowledge about ourselves is a superpower.

With great power comes great responsibility
— Spriderman

Embracing Midlife Transitions

We could bemoan every transition in life if we wanted to wallow in misery, or alternatively, once acknowledged, we can do something about our current challenges. As with any transition, there are obstacles to negotiate (spots, hormones kicking in …) but once addressed sensibly and positively, we can move on to enjoying the new phase. Let's face it, new things are fun! Perennial women everywhere are challenging midlife stereotypes, breaking out of their society-imposed comfort zones and redefining ageing by living their best lives.

Positive Ageing, Self-Care in Midlife and Taking Action

Consider what you need to do personally to optimise your midlife; that could be HRT, yoga, sweet potatoes or Soya Isoflavithingymajigs. Use an organisation app on your phone if you need to, (Trello is a good option); take Gingko Biloba if you are prone to forgetfulness; take skin boosting supplements; find your comfort zone regarding exercise and, ultimately, be positive. Once those areas have been addressed, put them on autopilot – this is the brand new YOU, and get on with living what could be the best part of your life.

Life does not begin at forty, or fifty or even zero; life begins whenever you decide. Life begins ‘now'. The older you are, the more experience you have had, the more mistakes you have made and the more connections you have established. Therefore, the better position you are in to get the hell on with it and make a damn good job of it. This is unless, of course, you are anything like me where you never learn. You just muddle through the complexities of life with your skirt tucked in your knickers and loo roll stuck to your heel… in blissful oblivion.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
— Rumi

New Perspectives at Fifty and Beyond

I am grateful that I am an adult, that I no longer have to do homework and be ridiculed by red biro all over my work. I no longer have to be told when I can and cannot speak to the person sitting next to me or put my hand up when needing the loo. I can choose when I am allowed to eat treats and if that is chocolate before a meal, then so be it. If you disagree with an assumption someone has made about you, you can protest without fear of being given a detention or having your Xbox confiscated.

‘Ageing in an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.
— David Bowie

You may have a new independence if your children have left home. Alternatively, you may still be honoured with having younger children who help to keep you on your toes and youthful. Perhaps you wish to learn new things or take up a new interest? Perhaps you have realised that you never really wanted half of the stuff around you and you declutter? Perhaps you have been keeping company with people who are not the best fit for you … and for whom you are not the best fit either?

You have my permission (should you need it) to go back to when you were a toddler and re-learn the word ‘NO'! Others may find you difficult but then … do you really care? Gift yourself the privilege of discernment and choose YOU.

By choosing you, the authentic you, you are genuinely gifting yourself to those around you too. You will no longer waste the time of others when you appear as you are, with your unique set of gifts, flaws, and personality. This is preferable to a nodding, resentfully complying, and artificial self who will inevitably disappoint when you cannot or will not deliver.

A Mindful Midlife

Take care of yourself through healthy eating, time spent outdoors, some form of exercise, yoga, meditation, good skincare and decluttering your life. This will not only help you but enable you to be a better version of yourself for those with whom you choose to surround yourself. An astute sense of self can prevent preoccupation with oneself and afford increased engagement with others.

Quality time with no distractions

Show up for people who matter and if you are going to show up, be present! That means having a drink with a friend without having your phone on the table next to the coffee. You have set aside time for the person with you, not the person texting you or posting on social media. Show the person you are with, the respect they deserve by being there for them. You will not have that same moment again and each moment lost, is a thread of connection lost. Eventually, the rope will snap under too great a pressure.

So, embrace your age whatever that may be – five to fifty and beyond! Reflect on what makes you truly happy because then, you can visibly shine, and a shining star is a guiding light for all, no matter how long it has been in the sky.

Do not let there be a glass ceiling on your potential

Do not let there be a glass ceiling on your potential

I will leave you with these words of wisdom which, through their simplicity, articulate positivity, hope, and joy:

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
— Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay

What Thoughts Does International Women's Day Ignite?

Chic Over Fifty at Fuerta Ventura

Feminism Is Not A Tickbox

There are many good men in this world who claim to be feminists, who claim to respect women and strive, in their own way, to fight for women’s rights alongside them.  However, I have yet to meet a man who actually ‘gets’ it.  It is not in the big gestures, promotions, and declarations of respect.  Most of these areas are like moving particles gravitating towards the magnet of equal status and pay in the professional domain or a conversation touching domestic duties.

For I conclude that the enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; we deserve lipstick, if we want it, AND free speech; we deserve to be sexual AND serious – or whatever we please. We are entitled to wear cowboy boots to our own revolution
— Naomi Wolf
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Women, Choices and Comparisons

There is, unfortunately, a deeper core of attitude that permeates society and is the institutionalised patriarchy that permeates every expectation, conversation or action.  All too often equality is measured against male standards.  Pay women the same as men; give women positions of power like the men; give women a day off from chores by doing the dishes once a week. 

How about an alternative version, where women do not want what men have?  Where they make their own individual choices that may differ from male expectations?  Then, on choosing an alternative path, they are valued and respected for what they are and what they bring, rather than having to face comparison for not ‘achieving’ in the same way. 

I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world
— Meryl Streep

You Don’t Have To Step Into My Shoes

Worse still, is when a man attempts to put himself in a woman’s shoes in any given situation and assume that he can make a judgement based on what he would feel.  Undeniably, that is impossible because he has never been a woman, in a woman’s role, with women’s history and the deep-rooted emotional triggers that exist because of that very history, experience and conditioning.  This conditioning is like DNA that has passed down through generations of women, but we now know that DNA can be changed, according to epigenetic theory ‘DNA can be altered through magnetic fields, heart coherence, positive mental states and intention. Top scientists around the world agree: genetic determinism is a flawed theory.’ * I just had to put that out there. 

This does, sadly, put our male friends at a distinct disadvantage yet my point is: occasionally, we should not attempt to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, to feel empathy, to understand.  There are times when a person simply needs to be believed and trusted, not understood.  It is OK to say ‘I don’t get it … but I trust that what you say is real.  I won’t judge you.  I won’t try to fix you.  I have your back’

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‘‘I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I'm beautiful. I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story–I will’’

Amy Schumer

Still Learning at Fifty

There has been much written on diversity and inclusion lately on Instagram and on blog posts.  I look to see what I am asked to do to help, but refrain from commenting or preaching for fear of trying to appear that I totally understand.  Coming from a place of privilege where the worst I encountered was being teased in the playground for being Polish, I couldn’t possibly be so presumptuous as to claim an understanding by proxy. 

It has taken much thought and soul searching to get my ass off its organic cotton cushion and accept that there are some situations that I don’t have a right to understand, just as there are people who will not have the right to understand me – not only as a woman, but as an individual. 

All that we can do, as decent human beings, is to question assumptions and have each other’s backs.  It is not always about saying ‘I hear you’ but ‘I am listening…’

*https://www.naturalnews.com/042157_DNA_transformation_science_epigenetics.html