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What Is Midlife Anyway? | FNBB 95
“So what do you consider midlife?”. I exaggerate, but probably have been asked that question a million times. My assumption is that it is because I serve a midlife audience. I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t have a good, rehearsed answer, which I guess I should. Honestly, for me, I’ve never considered midlife a bad or horrible stage of life, but for many others they cringe when they hear the word. Especially when it used to describe them. So let’s examine. What is midlife anyway?
Like I said, I’ve never considered the term to be a bad one, but when I was looking to change the name of my podcast from “The New Old You” to something different, I cringed at using the term “midlife” – not because I had an issue with it, but because it got a lot of poo-poos from my market research group. They said that they wouldn’t use the term to describe themselves and felt that it was negative. But when I offered up some new names, they all gravitated toward the ones with midlife in the title because they knew that’s who they actually were.
When I looked to find some other definitions of the word online I was shocked. Of course midlife is considered “middle age”, but the only synonym that was listed in the thesaurus described midlife as “the wrong side of 40”. Damn. Harsh. When I typed the question “What is midlife?” into google the first listing that came up went straight to “midlife crisis” and this definition caught my eye:
“A recent study shows that midlife, the age range that spans between 40 and 65, can be quite tumultuous for women. During this time, women are not only dealing with biological changes, but they’re also dealing with work problems, family issues, death, securing finances and reaching personal goals”
Link to the entire article, which is much gentler than this lead paragraph.
Quite tumultuous? What the hell does that mean? Like our lives haven’t been tumultuous all along? Why the assumption that we are dealing with work problems or family issues? Do I need to go on? Why is what is happening during this 20-25 year span any different from any new phase of life that we are going through? Do we call adolescence a mid-teen crisis? Or do we call that time when we are starting a family and starting a career something like a twenty or thirty-something crisis?
I agree that there are definitely ideas, worries, regrets, fears, and physical changes that happen to us in midlife, but they are far weighed by a certain amount of freedom that comes with knowing that we have raised or are near done raising our kids, that we have worked hard to prepare ourselves for retirement, and that there is a sense of “anything is possible” as much as when we were starting our adult lives way back when.
Being a woman between 40 and 65 is an amazing time to be alive because we don’t give a fu** what people think about us anymore. We spent our money on what we want. We are finally able to put ourselves first for a change. It’s all about us. I do not see a crisis in there anywhere.
It really doesn’t matter what “they” say midlife is. And it doesn’t matter what “I” say midlife is. What really matters is what “you” say and think that midlife is. If YOU think it is a crisis, then it will be. If you think that is could be and might be the greatest time of your life, then it will be. I think midlife is a self-fulfilling prophecy that you are responsible for for yourself.
Don’t be lead by outside factors like media, advertising, social media, influencers, Hollywood and the like. You determine what midlife is for you and then you live it like only you can. Create your own definition. Is midlife full of exotic travel, then do that. If it is full of family, then make them number one. Is it rediscovering the passion in your marriage when your nest is empty, then by all means, go do that!
The thing to keep in mind is that there aren’t any do overs. If you dread and then slog through midlife with this so-called crisis, you will never get the opportunity to go back and fix it when you realize you’ve lost all of this time. Figure it out now and save yourself a lot of regret.
Redesigning Midlife Weekly Update
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