Why You Will Have a Midlife Crisis
January 22, 2013 • comment(s)
As women, we’re less-than-comfortable with the midlife crisis notion. Sure, we’re accustomed to the guys who buy a sports car, dump their wife of 20+ years for the secretary and the like. But we’re less able to talk about how we feel as women at midlife. Why? Well, what does midlife mean to you? In my experience, a woman’s view of midlife completely depends upon her relationship with others. As women, we need and thrive on our connections, especially with other women and our children.
Other women: what stage of life are your best friends in. And, are they happy.
Your children: what stage of school are they in. Are they happy.
Oh, and, yes, your partner: what stage of life is he in. Is he happy.
With all three of those important relationships weighing on us, we then look in the mirror. And, as my friend who I gave an advance copy of HERE, HOME, HOPE to said: “it’s not a crisis, per se. It’s more like a rearrangement. And adjustment.”
That’s what we do. We flex. We move to the rhythm of the needs of the others who surround us, who depend upon us. When our children need less – when they head off to middle school or alas, high school and then college, we change. We must.
When our husband comes home and mentions a young kid at the office who got the promotion, we zig. When we come home and tell our husband about the younger woman who got the new account, we smile it off. Or, if we aren’t in the traditional workforce and have spent our valuable intellect and heart volunteering to make the community and the schools better, we swallow our pride when our terms expire and there isn’t another organization – or school – to move up to help.
My friend, over our lunch of mango tostadas, said, “We need to find another word for it. The it.”
Yes, we do. And the other thing we need to do, I think, is to accept it. We change as people, just as our children do as they grow up. Just as our spouses do as they grow older. And, as our friends go through their own versions of midlife change/crisis/adjustment, we need to share it with each other. This is when we can and should come together. This is when we can and should share our Things to Change lists. Our bucket lists. Our hopes for the rest of our lives, our fears, our dreams.
So, here’s why it’s ok to have a “midlife crisis” as long as it’s for you and doesn’t hurt the ones you love:
- You deserve to spend time focusing on yourself. When is the last time you did that? Invest the time in yourself.
- The experiences you have now – the good and especially the bad – have made you a more powerful, more valuable force in the world. Embrace your power.
- Go for it. Now is the time, during your rearrangement, to volunteer at the homeless shelter you’ve always driven past on the way to something else. Now is the time to take the oil painting/writing/cooking class you’ve imagined. Now is the time to start that business, take that trip, make that donation.
- Look in the mirror. Do you see a strong, beautiful woman? If not, make a commitment to view things in a different way. If hanging onto youth has clouded your vision of your own power, it’s time to see yourself clearly. There is beauty, not just wisdom in age. We are blessed to still be here to see it.
Embrace your midlife adjustment. Enjoy.
Kaira Rouda is an award-winning entrepreneur, marketer, speaker and author. She is the bestselling author of Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. Her first novel, Here, Home, Hope was published in May 2011, and won a 2011 Indie Excellence Award for fiction.