You’ve Hit Middle Age? You got this!
Doesn’t it seem like all of a sudden, you’re having THAT birthday?
Whether it’s 45 or 50 or 55 or 60, time just seems to go by and the birthdays come and go and one day – BAM – you’re like…I’m HOW old?!
You ask yourself:
- What do I have to show for it? I’ve wasted all this time.
- What do I do now? Life is so different now that the kids are grown.
- What DO I even WANT to do? I’ve never really taken much time to consider my wants before.
- Is there even any time left for things I want to do? If I’m old, there must not be much time left.
- And, WTF is happening to my body? One minute I feel great, the next I’m literally on fire and feel like crap.
And sadness sets in too:
- I want to go back.
- Back to when I was younger and didn’t have so many responsibilities.
- Back to when the kids were babies and the biggest problem was getting them to take a nap.
- Back to when I had more energy and didn’t have so many aches and pains.
- Back to when time wasn’t an issue and I wasn’t “old.”
Yes, we all eventually get to “this age” and yes, there are quite a few “middle age issues” that are all of a sudden very important…sometimes people call this a midlife crisis. But I have come to see it as a midlife awakening! Let’s look at some of these so called “crises” and how we can flip the coin and see the other side of things!
Sometimes people call this a midlife crisis. But I have come to see it as a midlife awakening!
I’m middle aged! What have I done?
It’s natural to sort of “take stock” of what you’ve accomplished when you get to middle age. It’s natural to have regrets to an extent and feel like you missed out on opportunities that only come while you’re young.
It’s imperative that we turn that thought around and look at ALL THAT WE’VE DONE and all that we’ve made it through.
Some things I’ve made it through:
- I made it through being a really shy little girl.
- I made it through the “awkward middle school years” and “teenage angst.”
- I made it through my parents’ divorce.
- I made it through college and getting a degree.
- I made it through dating and finding a partner (for life or a portion of life).
- I’ve made it through “adulting” – getting a job, paying bills, doing taxes, dealing with home ownership.
- My body and I made it through pregnancy and birth!
- I made it through caring for two infants and dealing with “terrible 2s and even more terrible 3s.”
- I made it through all of the homework struggles and after school/weekend activities.
- I made it through divorce and co-parenting – better than others I have to say.
- I made it through teaching my teenagers to drive and the angst of letting them go on their own.
- I made it through many years with “low-grade depression” and undiagnosed anxiety.
Your list may be different, but a lot of it is probably similar to mine.
Some things I’ve been fortunate to have experienced:
The entire list above – because every obstacle is an opportunity – an opportunity to learn and grow and to add to your uniqueness, another layer to who you ultimately become.
I’m middle aged! What do I do now? What do I even want to do?
For most of my life I have, however, struggled with the question of what is my purpose (or what do I want to be “when I grow up”). And, as I have written before, I began to listen to podcasts and do some personal development “work” when I found that one can make a living by blogging.
This was pretty life changing for me, because it meant that I had some control over my own future. I really felt like I was stuck in a job that didn’t really have a lot of growth opportunity for me, at least not in an area where I felt drawn – like a passion or purpose. And, that I was stuck in a small town in which I don’t feel a connection or a part. (In fact, I feel like an outsider, even though I’ve lived here for over 20 years.)
So, when “what is my purpose” comes up for us in middle age, I truly believe that continuing to learn is really important. What sounds interesting to you? Try it!
- Take a class at the local library.
- Find an online opportunity – there are tons of free options for learning online. Look at Coursera for free courses. Check out other blogs – do a Google or Pinterest search.
- Listen to podcasts related to midlife years or on a topic that you have always found interesting.
- Browse Pinterest for articles and ideas on a new hobby or new recipes to try.
- Read a book or listen to an audiobook (get the Overdrive app and listen to books free through your library).
- Go to Youtube and do a search for something you want to learn to do.
- Take an exercise or dance class.
One of these searches or tries will likely lead to something you are passionate about – whether you are looking for a new career opportunity or something to do on the weekends or in your spare time. Whether you want to make some extra money and take on a side hustle or just want to have some fun with a new venture. The more you are out there learning, the more opportunities will present themselves.
I’m middle aged! Is it too late?
But, isn’t it too late to start something new? Aren’t I too old to learn new things? Won’t it take too long?
Remember, it’s middle age, not the end of your life! A person is never too old to learn something new or make changes.
Of course, there are things that we will encounter, even ageism or possibly physical limitations, but nothing is impossible. You see these amazing people who are 80+ years old and undertaking what seem like impossible feats. Anything can be done, one step at a time.
But most new things can be learned in a short period of time. Take me and blogging, for example. There was a lot to learn on the tech side of things. Setting up a website with wordpress is pretty huge. But watching Youtube how-to videos was a game changer! I’m still learning every day and don’t foresee that ever changing. To be honest, some days it’s just frustrating, but most of the time, it’s awesome and feels amazing when I figure something out!
I’m middle aged! How can I do anything with all these crazy changes to my body?
Well, let me tell ya, I have found out first hand that when you get to this age, you do run into things that can make you a LITTLE (or a lot) frustrated! Much of it is due to the body’s aging, but for women, often it is related to perimenopause. Menopause is a point in time, but perimenopause (peri, Greek for “around” or “near” + menopause) is an extended transitional state (Harvard Medical School, 2018). Ugh! The word EXTENDED is a bit unnerving.
Just when you think you may be past something, it’s back – if you know what I mean! Personally, I’ve been dealing with: sleeplessness, being tired but not sleepy, bloating, lack of focus/concentration, memory issues, hot flashes, night sweats, and being emotional – crying at the drop of a hat – or just freaking out.
I recently left work early because I “couldn’t deal” with a conversation that was getting heated. I gathered my stuff and went home! The feeling dissipated rather quickly and I recognized what was happening, but in the moment – well, I needed to GO!
Do not fret! There are things that can help – my GO TO’s are, as you know if you’ve been here before, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.
There are so many other things that can be helpful in handling the changes that occur in these middle years, including taking supplements, adding things to your diet like soybeans and flaxseed, avoiding foods with high fat, extra sugar or salt, and of course, adding movement and getting fresh air and sunshine.
I think one thing we can be SUPER GRATEFUL for – even though there is a lot going on with us – is that we are now WISER and able to recognize things that are happening. We have tools in our pockets now to pull out when needed that can make us feel better, to relax, and get to a calmer place.
You’re middle aged! And, YOU got this!
Yes, things seem kinda crazy at this point in life. So, you’re middle aged…
What do you do now? What DO you even WANT to do? You might not know, but you will figure it out. Try something new. If that doesn’t feel right, try something else! Take opportunities to learn! Pick up a book or listen to an audiobook or podcast. Take a class at the community center, university, or library. There are tons of opportunities!
Is there even any time left for things you want to do? There is always time – how about right now? Remember to spend time on what is important to you. Try writing down things from the past year that really stood out to you. These are the things that matter to you. Spend time on these kinds of things.
And be mindful of letting time slip away (by scrolling through Facebook, getting lost in clicking on article after article online, binging on Netflix….unless these are the things that are important to you, of course!).
WTF is happening to your body? You’re probably experiencing perimenopause in addition other normal aging and you will see and feel a lot of physical changes. Remember that those lines, wrinkles, and achy joints are a testament to where you’ve been and how far you’ve come! As a way of saying thank you, take care of that body that has been there for you all these years!
Is there anything else you’ve been going through? Let us know in the comments so we can support one another through all of our midlife pursuits!
Midlife? Yeah, I got this! And SO DO YOU!