Who am I?
How do you feel about your age?
Happy, Unhappy, Ambivalent?
You are not alone if you don’t feel happy about getting older. For many women, the years between 40 and 60 (or even 70 nowadays) are a time of change, physical, emotional, and spiritual and that change is rarely welcomed.
And no wonder!
Look at the words used to describe older women.
- Old bag
It is hard to find any positive words to describe us – cougar is the best we can hope for!
When I am talking about myself, I tend to use the words, mid-life and second half of life to describe this period in our lives, but the word I have embraced for myself, and I would like you to as well, is ‘wise woman’. I think this is a good word to describe us as we get older. Wisdom is something that comes with age – hopefully! Therefore, it is a wonderfully positive way to portray us as we age – growing in power rather than losing it.
Our identity and who we are isn’t necessarily something we think much about when we get past our teens – when we are obsessed with it! We are usually too busy being mothers, having jobs and building a life. But as we get older, children grow up and leave home, jobs become may be less exciting and we become perimenopausal and then experience menopause, how we feel about our lives can change. Menopause marks the end of our fertility. It is a definite marker in our lives that men do not have. We are no longer feel young but don’t feel old either. It is a sort of limbo in between life stages time.
Blame it on your hormones
One of the reasons we feel like this is because of our hormones. The reduction in oestrogen and progesterone reduces our nurturing urges. It doesn’t mean we don’t care at all, but that our need to take care of others to the detriment of ourselves is less strong. As selfless nurturing is regarded as a female trait then you can feel a bit lost and unsure of your place in the world, especially if being a mother and carer has been a big part of your life. It can be a bit of a shock for us, and for those who we have always put first when we start to want things for ourselves.
It is not just in our home and personal lives we start to see changes; it often creeps into our working life too. Work may start to lose the meaning it once held for us, the satisfaction we once felt doing our jobs longer bringing the same joy – if we were lucky enough to have a job, we enjoyed in the first place that is. Unfortunately, retirement isn’t an option for most of us, we will still have many years left at work. This can be very challenging and can make us reassess our lives, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The second half of life quite often heralds a change in our values and what makes us happy too. The things we wanted before – the high-power job, flashy car, big house and designer clothes and shoes don’t seem so important. (ok, maybe not the shoes!) The need for these things is replaced by a desire to do something that matters or feels worthwhile, something for ourselves that will make us feel more fulfilled.
You can’t avoid ageing
Whatever changes you experience will be personal to you, after all, we are all different. But what I want is for us, as women, is to embrace the second half of our lives instead of trying to either run away and pretend ageing isn’t happening or be horrified by it – after all the passage of time is inevitable. I don’t mean you have to fade into the background with neutral clothes a boring haircut and no make-up unless you want to of course. But I think the changes in our hormones that come in the second half of life can liberate us. Ok not many of us enjoy the wrinkles and expanding waistline but unless you want surgery or spend half your day madly exercising and dieting, then certain changes will happen to your body (they will probably happen if you do that as well, but a bit slower). Instead, we have a chance to create a new identity of our own choosing.
Women in the west are living into their 90s and later, there is lots of life left to live after 50! Life is a journey. For me, and maybe you too, the journey is about becoming more and more my authentic self as I continue to learn about the world and find my place in it.
If you want help in making midlife your best time yet my How to Become a Wise Woman e-course will help you with this and many other dilemmas.
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Interested in finding out how to become a Wise Woman?
Let me take you on a journey where you are the heroine of your own story. You will slay dragons, fight demons, contemplate the meaning of life (your life anyway!) and come out at the end a much wiser woman.