Midlife Transition – A Do Over For Women? Someone asked me the other day why I refuse to refer to this transition which occurs for most women in midlife as a “crisis.” While it’s true that the term “crisis” means a crucial or decisive point or situation, or a turning point, additionally, it has about it an air of instability and upheaval.
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There’s a negative connotation to the term, which perpetuates the stereotype of women being emotional and irrational. While both women and men go through the inevitability of midlife, it is largely women that are branded with the super-charged “C” word. I’m more comfortable with “midlife transition” or “midlife awakening” or some other phrase which enables girls to adopt in a more positive manner what it means to age.
Midlife transforms you from the person you’re to the person you’re supposed to be. It’s a new arrival, a new beginning, an opportunity to pursue dreams and goals which were neatly tucked away from the “someday” file we stored at the back of our heads while we raised our kids or launched our careers, or both. It’s like an automatic “do-over” when you hit midlife (not that we would necessarily need to update our lives up to this point).
It’s a take inventory, take no prisoners exhumation of the spirit, which if done with rough and courage honesty, empowers us to pull out that “someday” file and sift through the dreams, aspirations and goals which are ripe for execution now. It’s a heady time for midlife women. We could be grandmothers in our 40s or be first-time mothers. We could be launching new companies or attaining the pinnacle of our career trajectory.
We have so many opportunities that our mothers never needed, largely due to the struggle we engaged into redefine women’s roles, and the manner in which we kicked to the curb the rules about what women should and should not do. When I think of my experience with browsing the transition from my late 30s through my 40s,”emergency” isn’t the term that comes to mind (although I’m guessing that family and friends do not necessarily agree with that statement).
The journey was somewhat rocky, but largely because I would not get out of my way and let go of all of the outdated beliefs I had about myself. Once I switched off those old, worn out tapes I managed to get my “someday” file and make this new, increasingly more authentic chapter of my life. After a lifetime of being all things to all people, I felt the call of something deeper and I connected with my purpose and profound intention for my life. Because we don’t reside in a vacuum, I sensed that the outside turns and twists, and changes in perspective that come with any significant life expectancy, but for the most part, the transition was an inner one. It was a long last look at the life I had led. It was a journey of appreciation and gratitude for where I’d been, and it turned into an invitation to where I had to go.
At the conclusion of all of the reflection, I made an offering to myself to open up to a different way, another life that rings more true to the girl I am in this moment. My next transition entails a search for significance, a trip to discover the wealth of itself, a rite of passage to my greatest purpose and to a life that’s as unique as my fingerprint.