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