I see you. Perhaps you are in the dreaded “middle-age” zone and are 35 or older. Maybe you have children, a significant other, or an established career. Your life is set. You no longer think of yourself too much outside of those parameters. Some of your underwear probably has holes, and you likely only have two bras that you wear on the regular (and one is beige). But that’s ok because you don’t have an hour to spend in a fitting room to find the right bra size anyway and who wants to spend $10 on a utility pack of underwear? Does this sound like the start to your formidable female manifesto?
Laundry and dishes forever pile up and you crash on the couch by 10:00 most nights while watching Netflix. If you were to pause for a moment, you might recognize some of the feelings you’ve been ignoring: maybe you are overwhelmed, uninspired, feel invisible, disappointed, bored, and even bewildered. Is this all there is?
Wait a minute. Who told you that your life is over? Oh, that’s right, society. Try googling synonyms for “middle-aged woman.” Actually, you don’t have to because I did it for you. Are you ready? Get a cup of coffee with a shot of Bailey’s because you’re gonna need it.
If you are 35 or older, you might also be known as: a hag, cougar, hormonal, battle ax, elderly, woman of a certain age, irrational, crony, unpleasant, ugly old woman, frump, withered, matronly old maid (I hate that game) shrill, spinster, woman passed her prime, and no spring chicken. To name a few.
What the actual hell? How about this – Whatever age you are is perfect. Maybe you wish you had made some better decisions when you were younger. Maybe you are disappointed in some of your choices in relationships, jobs, or diets. But you know what? We all have things we wish we had done differently. We can’t do anything about those things now, though, except accept that they are part of our story and learn from them.
Ready for a dirty little secret? We are part of the problem. There might be 20 negative synonyms for middle-age women, but they only have weight if we believe them. And we do. We buy into them. We accept it to be true that there is nothing else. We accept a mediocre life. We accept that it is selfish to want more. That wanting something for ourselves means there must be something lacking.
But seeking a new goal can come from an entirely happy place. It’s placing value on ourselves as separate beings. It means we exist, too. Getting excited about something that is only for us doesn’t have to come from a place of deficit. It’s just the opposite – developing ourselves comes from the purest part of our heart. It’s about self-respect (so throw away the holey underwear!).
When we get together with our girls, though, how often do we talk about our children the bulk of the time? Or our significant others? Or their jobs? Maybe society has forgotten about “middle-aged women,” but what’s worse is, we let it happen. We forgot about ourselves.
What about us? I’m here to say we deserve a chapter two! When was the last time you were excited about something? Now let me ask you this – when was the last time you were excited about something that had nothing to do with your kids or partner? Why not? That’s on us, friends. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be excited about our children and family, but we should be equally as excited about our own growth, too.
So, let’s do this – instead of accepting that middle-aged means something negative, let’s change the narrative. Let’s look at our age as an advantage. We’ve lived. We’ve learned. And we’ve loved. Now let’s use those experiences to kick some butt. We are grown ass women! We are women of a certain age! We are in the perfect time of our lives to write that next chapter! We can now tackle life from a position of power!
I know the transition to making yourself a priority again isn’t going to be easy, though, because it goes against your current habits. You will face many fears, insecurities, and doubts. You will likely feel guilty on several levels. You might feel inadequate and unsure of yourself. You might beg off with excuses like I don’t have time, I don’t know what my dream is, or I don’t know how.
But those really are just excuses. That’s on you, friend. Regardless of how much your loved ones, well, love you, they are never going to turn to you at the end of the day and ask, “Babe, are you fulfilled?” Nope, not gonna happen. Your happiness, fulfillment, and success are not their responsibility. Just like their happiness, fulfillment, and success are not your responsibility. This is up to you. You might experience pushback from others, but your biggest obstacle will be you.
You gotta get out of your own way. How long can you live an I’ll-start-again-Monday life? It ends here, friends. One of the beautiful things about life is that it can be redemptive. Every day is a new day for change and growth. Life is also finite. We don’t know how many Mondays we have left, so knock it off.
Do this for yourself because you matter. You still exist. You have talents, desires, and skills. I promise you that you do. Now it’s your job to seek them out, uncover them, and develop them. Follow your spark to wherever it takes you, ok? Embrace those butterflies to unveil dreams you never knew you had.
You are a FORMIDALE FEMALE. You got this.
I see you. Do you?