Quite a bold title, right? Well, I am sticking to it, because that’s how important I think this message is.
And because I hate those people who beat around the bush with useless details so as to draw out the moment of revelation, here it is:
The best thing you can do for yourself at mid-life is to start doing what you want to do.
Mid-life, and especially peri-menopause, are a time of reckoning. Our hormones are unwinding and bringing us back through old emotions, old phases, making us reconsider, and also get super clear. As a mid-life woman you’re beyond the rules society gives you (be pretty/ thin/ silly) to ‘succeed;’ when people don’t turn their heads to notice you, you can get away with a lot more. And hopefully you’ve got resources and support to deal with what life has handed you. However (!), mid-life and peri-menopause are a fricking magical crossroads where you know about yourself, your life, what you can do, what you want, and you can actually do the thing. (Well, mostly.)
What I am mostly speaking about here is two things:
1. Doing what you know you’re supposed to do in this life. Maybe it’s to change your job. Maybe it’s to get divorced. Maybe it’s to have a baby. Maybe it’s to go back to school (or just take that painting class). Whatever it is, both the allure and the pressure of this thing are probably calling to you at mid-life. And you can’t ignore it anymore.
Oh, wait, you can totally ignore it. But you will eventually become a woman with 312 cats who lives in a muumuu all day long. Your life will die inside of you if you don’t attend to what calls you. Listen and take action.
2. Rebelling. This often overlaps with the first item, but not always. Here I am speaking of taking action that goes against the rules of society or some sub-culture of which you are a part, and which you can no longer stand or which no longer serves your goals or values.
My life has been made of small rebellions. Growing up Protestant and leaving the church to heal my soul. Making my marriage what we needed it to be, not a checklist given to us by society. Deciding to talk about the Sex Surge and affairs. Now, it is easier for me to rebel, as a white woman. Women of color, indigenous women, trans women all face far greater difficulties if they wish to rebel in some societies (of which America is one). But I believe rebellion, especially by women, is how the world will get better.
And mid-life is the time to start doing these things, to start living in the way we know our life should be lived.
Now, of course this is not to say, “Go! Jump! Leave it all behind! It will be fiiiiiine.” I think that would be really unrealistic for many of us. We have jobs, we have people we love and are responsible for, we may need to stay in some space we aren’t particularly fond of. But I believe we do know we’re supposed to be doing something differently sometimes. And mid-life is the time to start making steps towards that. If for no other reason than we are half-way done with life and we need to get on it sooner rather than later.
The other thing I believe about doing what we’re supposed to and living as we wish at mid-life is that it does affect our health. We know there is a clear impact on the body from feelings and thoughts. And when we are thinking that we don’t like our job, or that we want to move, or go to Bali, and we don’t- it creates conflict in our body. I believe that sometimes living the way we want to, rebelling, doing what we are called to, can actually help our entire body-mind-spirit system work better.
If you know this is you, I want you take a few moments and feel into this truth. I want you to tune into what you know you want to do, how you know you want to live, and I want you to write some things down.
What is it you know your life needs, even if it’s hard to admit?
What would your life look and feel like if you did this?
Who can you trust to tell about this? (Tell them.)
What is one teeny, tiny little step you can take in the next 24 hours to move towards this? (Make a date, set a time, and do it.)
Changing our life is hard, but peri-menopause and mid-life are going to call you to it anyway. Might as well tell the truth about what you want and begin to move towards it now, instead of being dragged. The best thing you can do for yourself at mid-life is to start doing what you want to do. Go! Do.