An A-Z of Midlife - Part 1 (A&B)Oct 04, 2021
Today is the first in a series of blogs I’m writing - an A-Z of Midlife.
Focusing on the positive but not ignoring the negative and with hopefully a side of humour thrown in along the way😀.
I’m going to break it down into a series of articles, otherwise you’d never make it to the end!
So as Julie Andrews sang, let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start - A B & C.
A is for Ageing, Awakening, Adventure.
There’s no denying that as hit midlife, our 40s, 50s and beyond their tends to be a focus on ageing. But the truth of the matter is that the minute we are born we start ageing. Throughout our lives, there are various age landmarks, and each decade seems to signify a new phase and 40 has historically been one that has been seen as a negative - an oh no! moment ….. And then again when you reach 50. Celebrated but accompanied by negative comments often hidden in humour.
In fact, the World Health Organization has recently recategorized age brackets and the “young” sector is now defined as 18-65 and you’re not considered middle-aged until you reach 66. I don’t necessarily agree with their new boundaries unless we’re all going to start living to 132! I think this classification just adds to the negative viewpoint of midlife - but that’s a subject for another blog.
Ageing, getting older is a gift - I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. The alternative is a whole lot less appealing.
The emphasis in the beauty industry on looking young, or comments like “she looks good for her age” add to the underlying societal view that ageing is not something we should aspire to. The stereotypes around the midlife woman, the menopause portrayed on TV - negative, laughable, the butt of jokes again adds to the underlying view. Yes, this is changing - but positive representation is not the norm.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with wanting to look our best - there isn’t at any age - I’m definitely a supporter of the “you, do you” school of thought.
Colour your hair, go grey naturally.
Wear makeup, go bare-faced.
Wear what you want.
Do what you want.
Let’s break out of the stereotypes and live our lives as we want to live them - not cow-towing to anyone else’s expectation or view of what we “should” be doing, who we “should” be.
It can be a time where we have more time, space and freedom to reflect on what we want more of in our lives, what we want less of in our lives.
Do you want to fight it or embrace it?
Midlife, 40s, 50s and beyond can be a time when we really get to know and appreciate ourselves. To wake up to the wisdom and experience we have. To acknowledge our power, adopt boundaries and reclaim our identity as us.
It’s a time when we can explore and reevaluate what we’re doing with our lives. Often as midlife women our role changes if we’ve had children. They start leaving home and moving on with their lives and if we’ve constructed our life to fit around family this can start to change. Whilst, I acknowledge this can be unsettling, if we look on it as a new phase, much like when we entered motherhood, rather than the end it can be exciting. Exciting for them and for you. It doesn’t have to be that you’re left behind rather that YOU can do the things you may have put off, reexamine what you want from your life, even sit down and read a book without fear of interruption📖.
It’s a time when you can connect more to yourself, your body, your soul. Use the space you may gain for this.
Learn the power of no - no to something or someone can be saying yes to you.
It doesn’t need to be a crisis - it’s change, it’s different, it can be great.
I’ve had more adventures since I hit my mid 40’s than in the 2 proceeding decades. Now I’m not just talking about going on adventures, and some of my adventures wouldn’t be seen as adventures by others. But to me they were!
Stretching myself to say yes to things that my natural response would be to say no to.
An adventure doesn’t have to be going off to climb Everest (smaller mountains are available!) it can be learning a new skill, developing a creative project, travel, retraining - anything that is new to you, in my eyes is an adventure.
An adventure brings excitement, fulfilment, joy - and that is different for all of us.
Wake up your adventurous spirit. Ask yourself - what could I do?
B is for Brave and Big Pants
Brave links to adventure above, likewise it doesn’t have to be rock climbing or bungee jumping!
Midlife can be a time where we develop our spirit of bravery. Being brave to say yes to ourselves, yes to new things, yes to who we are and who we want to be.
It can be brave to talk about the changes that happen at this stage - physical, emotional, mental. There’s no denying that perimenopause can bring great upheaval - it’s worth mentioning it doesn’t for everyone - but it can. You sometimes have to be brave to advocate for yourself - to get the help and support you need - hopefully, this is starting to become easier as taboos are starting to be broken down.
Bravery to be you leads to a greater feeling of confidence in you and who you are. Finding the bravery to take the first step, to create a life on your terms and not just have life happening to you is bravery to be applauded.
Bravery to not just accept life as it is but to change what you want to change, keep what you want to keep - what do you want more of, what do you want less of?
Bravery to break free from expectations and the box we may have found ourselves in. There’s also bravery in saying - I’m happy, I’m exactly where I want to be and break free of the hustling and striving for more so prevalent.
A bit of light-hearted one here - but midlife is the time to realise, if you haven’t already, that big pants do not have to be passion killers, granny pants or ugly, and big pants are a darn site more comfy than little pants😂😂
I actually learnt this quite early on, having a c-section I had to wear big pants to avoid the wound and I’m afraid to say I never looked back. My husband had done an emergency purchase of those and they really were not a thing of beauty 😂 but were soon replaced and as I say, I was converted🩲.
I work with clients to support them in uncovering their bravery and adventure at this stage of life.
Their choice of pants I tend to leave to them!
If this is an area you feel you could do with some support and encouragement in why not reach out and book a call to see how we could work together.