Midlife deepens us in many regards… especially if you’re a woman over fifty.
Men’s lives seem to hold a different trajectory from our own. They are more likely to assert themselves in their twenties and thirties and jump full force into making their mark on the world. By the time they reach midlife, many turn their attention closer to home—toward family and significant others to give their lives meaning. To me, this explains the frequently observed phenomenon of the man in his late forties marrying his twenty-five year old assistant, having a family, and becoming the father he never was to his first set of children.
We, however, tend to do things differently. After years of nurturing and giving to others, midlife is a time when we opt to focus on our own goals and dreams and begin to express ourselves in new and creative ways. At long last, we’re choosing to “do unto ourselves as we’ve been doing unto others.” The author of this quote is Gloria Steinem. And this articulate champion and role model for our own generation of trailblazing women knew whereof she spoke.
To these ends, much has been written about happiness recently—how to achieve that state and why optimism and a positive attitude can yield great benefits to one’s health and wellbeing. Many, however, believe that this particular word does not cover the depth and complexity of the transformation we experience at midlife. Perhaps a more all-encompassing term would be “fulfillment.”
Midlife and the years beyond the physical and psychological change created by menopause provide women with both the space and the drive to explore our inner essence. We are propelled by Mother Nature to examine our innermost being, uncover our true essence in all of its rich and multi-faceted layers and re-align our priorities.
There is, therefore, a point of choice. We can choose to mourn our lost youth and desperately try to turn back the hands of time. Or we can forge ahead into this period of self-discovery and fulfillment.
What will you find as you move beyond your youthful years? How will life deepen for you and the people you surround yourself with? In which ways will you step into a future filled with greater depth and meaning?
All of this and more awaits if we consciously make the choice to follow the Golden Rule for Women of Maturity. Like Gloria said, it’s high time we begin to “do unto ourselves.”