It's a Midlife Awakening, Not a Crisis

By Cindy Moy

I think I was the only woman on the planet looking forward to turning the big 5-0, because I saw how much fun my friends that age were having. Most women I know are juggling the demands of some combination of children, aging parents, spouses, work and household management, all the while being told we should be thinner, sexier, smarter, healthier and—miraculously—more rested.

The women around me led lives of great internal conflict until they hit the age of 50. Then a switch turned on and they discovered their great passions and were happier than ever before.

Or perhaps the metamorphosis that I saw in my friends was, in fact, an ongoing midlife crisis. It seems whenever a woman steps beyond her current lifestyle boundaries, that seemingly simple act becomes labeled as a "MIDLIFE CRISIS" and sends people looking for an explanation or giddily pronouncing judgment.

Perhaps this is not so much a crisis as a reckoning. Our way of looking at the world is no longer working. We realize the years are fleeting and the “someday” for which we were waiting to pursue our dreams is not guaranteed.

My friend Julie calls it a Midlife Awakening: You come to accept the fact there’s never going to be more than what you currently have unless you make the effort to get it.

She follows that with Midlife Indecision: You come to accept the fact you want more, but you’re going to have to work to get it and haven’t yet figured out how to do that.

The conflict is when midlife awakening and midlife indecision both come at once, and a woman is standing in the middle of my—I mean, her—living room, trying to figure it all out.

The result will be messy and difficult and scary.

You'll lose a few friends.

You'll make far more friends.

You’ll use the middle-finger emoji just for fun.

People will be angry with you. You’ll survive that anger.

You’ll feel like you’re fulfilling your purpose for the world.

Then things will fall apart and you’ll wonder what the hell you were thinking.

You'll lie awake at night wondering, "Is it me?" Of course, it isn't you, but the question still hangs in the air because that's how you're conditioned to think.

But then—oh my amazing Sisters!—then there will be days when you’ll go to bed thinking, “Hot damn, that was fun!” and you’ll wonder why you were willing to martyr yourself so long to the myth of what good women are supposed to be and do.

And on those nights you’ll finally get some rest.

Photo by Cynthia del Río on Unsplash


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