Midlife Wonder sounds so much better than Midlife Crisis!

If we play “fill in the blank with the first word that pops into your head” and I say “midlife ____”, chances are you’d shout “crisis”. Certainly, a middle-aged man’s midlife crisis is a common trope, often represented by a new car or a young wife. To be clear, not every man experiences the midlife crisis stereotypically portrayed in the media. I know several men who have not succumbed to the lure of shiny new objects. I also know several who have and, entertainingly, each is certain their situation is special and not a midlife crisis at all. But I digress. What about women? Do women experience stages of a midlife crisis? Duh!

Midlife is vaguely defined as a range between 45-65 years old. Women at midlife typically experience menopause-related changes and challenges (and there are so many!). They also frequently navigate work stress, changed relationships with grown children, aches, pains, wrinkles, and did I mention menopause? Many women in this age group navigate divorce. Navigating divorce may mean working through a sense of failure and insecurity, not to mention financial stress. All this suggests there’s a midlife crisis for women too. It just looks different. For many women, the shiny new objects look like skin and beauty products, surgery, and hormone replacement therapy.

But one eternally shiny object that helps a lot of women through the stages of midlife crisis and so much more is friendship. The tendency of women to turn to valued friends leads many of us to realize our situation is par for the course. In other words, we’re normal and not so special. In a good way. The camaraderie helps us find the humor wherever there’s humor to be found. And when we are hard on ourselves and insecure, our friends often validate us and remind us to be kinder to ourselves. Encouragement and support from a friend can change everything.

And there’s another game changer to consider. The shiny object that has probably been there all along and gets a boost from female friendship and the validation that comes with it is curiosity. Women at midlife who remain curious and turn their curiosity inward experience midlife awakening. Midlife awakening is a welcome stage of midlife crisis. If we dare to explore it, we may achieve midlife wonder.

Midlife is an opportunity to take stock and get reacquainted with yourself. It’s a time to explore your interests, set some boundaries, and take charge of a new chapter in your life. It’s a time to let go of who you thought you’d be. It’s time to make yourself a priority and be who you want to be, unapologetically. If you dare to be vulnerable, Midlife Wonder can be yours. You can be a Midlife Wonder Woman (see what I did there?!)!

If you need help identifying your vision of Midlife Wonderful You or understanding how to be her, consider working with a coach!

Something to think about: You can be a Midlife Wonder Woman!

Something to try: Awakening and wonder don’t happen if you’re not mindfully aware. And it will likely take practice for mindfulness to become… well… a practice. So for the next week, challenge yourself to engage in at least one activity mindfully each day. This means no multitasking! Maybe try eating a meal without watching tv, scrolling through your phone or reading. Maybe try going for a walk and making it a point to notice things around you. During that activity each day, focus on where you are, what you’re doing, how you’re breathing, and how you feel. When your mind veers toward your to-do list, just laugh and bring it back.

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