I turned 45 last November. I know, I don’t look a day over 30, right? As I approached this milestone, I began to consider the fact that I am entering the midlife stage. Yikes, what does that mean? Should I be afraid? Should I worry that I will wither on the vine?
What does midlife mean for a woman? I think many women don’t consider themselves “midlifers” until they hit menopause. For some reason, that is what I had in my mind. Unless I live to be 100 or more, I’m definitely in midlife now.
I had my kids in my mid thirties. I suppose because they are still young, it makes me feel younger than I am. In my area, it’s fairly typical for moms to be closer to my age. I know in other areas of the country people might think it was strange that I am not a grandmother by now.
I am glad that I took my time to have kids. I was definitely NOT ready in my twenties. I did not feel the need to marry early. My clock was not ticking until my thirties. I wanted to try a career and see the world. I was lucky to do both. That said, I wonder what my life would be like to be an empty nester about now. Given that my husband is nowhere near retiring, I think we made a good choice to travel before having kids, then hopefully once again in retirement.
Why is it that midlife seems so much easier for men? My husband is 48 and does not seem phased in the least. We’ll see if hitting 50 brings him down, but I doubt it. No hormonal roller coaster for him. Luckily he’s extremely understanding of my roller coaster so far.
Why is it that midlife seems to have more negative connotations for women? It’s like when we hit midlife we are all going to shrivel up, lose our sex drive and sense of adventure, join a knitting club and sit on our butts. No way! I want to passionately explore this second half of my life. There is so much more to see, do and learn.
Here are a number of observations I’ve made as I reflect upon this milestone.
Embracing my body
I have spent far too many years focusing on the imperfections of my body. What I love about mid life is that I have learned to let go and enjoy who I am. Sure, I am still a little self conscious about cellulite and love handles, but I am not going to stress about it like I used to. I really do love my curves. I feel more womanly. I remember how much I fought having hips and boobs when I was younger. I wore clothes to hide them. Now I wear clothes to accentuate them.
Saying goodbye to the juniors department
I am a very thrifty shopper. For a long time, I could find better bargains in the junior’s department because I could still get away with some of the styles. Not anymore. I am sticking with the women’s department from now on. I can still be stylish and fun without looking like something out of the pages of Seventeen magazine. Don’t you hate it when women just won’t let this go? I don’t want to be on an episode of “What Not to Wear.”
Getting new magazine subscriptions
I need to give up some of my magazines that now have women that look like teenagers. I need to put Glamour, Cosmo, and even Self behind me. I’ve realized that I relate much more to Redbook, More and Prevention these days. I remember thinking Redbook and Prevention were for old ladies. Ha! At least More magazine says it’s for 30+, but I have a feeling their true demographic is closer to 40+. I don’t mind. It’s nice to read about celebrities who are my age and going through some of the same challenges that me. Now if I only had their bank accounts
Everyone looks like a kid
I feel “old” when everyone around me looks like a “kid.” On the road, I often look around and think “what the heck is that 12-year-old doing behind the wheel?!” My kid’s teachers are beginning to be younger than me instead of the other way around. My son had a band performance the other night and his teacher looked 18. Yikes! When did I get this old?
Celebrities: What? I’m older than her too?
I am shocked by some of the celebrities that are younger than me. Some actresses/models I admired when I was younger (I thought were older than me) I find out are younger. How did that happen? How did time stand still for them? That can’t be right. They must lie about their ages, right?
Last year was all about reinventing myself. I created Comeback Momma for that very purpose. After a really rough 2012, I knew that I needed to focus on myself to be happy and healthy for both my family and myself. Midlife is a perfect time to reevaluate where we are in life and make changes for the better.
While a joke about feeling “old” compared to some of the people in my world, I don’t mind. I feel pretty darned good about this stage of life. I am lucky to have a wonderful husband and two amazing kids. I continue to learn and grow as they do. I hope that being the best that I can be will show them that they can do the same in all stages of life.
On to the next 40ish years….