There, I said it. I’m middle aged! My mom used to tell me it was her favorite decade and nothing to be feared. Now that I’m here, I look forward to finding out why.
I’ve been asking many of my elder friends and clients for their advice as I turn 50. It’s been such a pleasure-lined trove of answers. At the top, there seems to be a willingness to let go of what’s not important, fully step into what is important, and to stop putting up with crap. The last part usually comes with some expletives around not caring about what other people think, beating ourselves up for how we look or where we’re not good enough, and stopping the comparisons to others in our own heads. In my book, that’s a mighty powerful to-do list for happiness.
At the same time I turn 50, my baby boy turns 13. Our family is entering a different phase and I find myself more at the periphery of my 3 children’s lives. I’m often symbolically, and literally, in the stands, watching Willem play hockey, Ella sing or play sports, and now facetiming with Olivia away at University. I’m also in the wings waiting for them to come home for dinner, for a hug and a quick catch up, some kind of safe landing after the day. This leaves me with time for reflection, time to think on what I’d like to do with my own time (for the first time in almost two decades), and consider a path forward.
Much of what consumes my attention is how to both rest and replenish, and how, while I’m still working, to harness my gifts to make more powerful offerings to the world. I believe we all need to pause in transitions and just be quiet for a bit – like the lost art of window shopping for pleasure not purchase, or the rare Sunday stroll in the woods. Allowing the dust to settle and life to process itself requires rest on the path to some transformation. Not that anything about myself is stagnant or still – my days are still busy with much, but I feel the quiet background music humming “what’s next?”
I’m privileged to work with many older women who I’ve looked up to for years. Sherida who got her PHD in her 60’s, the Lauries who keep actively involved in the making and curating of art, Marilyn who hikes the world, and many, many others who are now forging exciting paths ahead. The conversations with all of you keep me excited for the days to come and 100% certain that movement needs to remain at the centre of my life. I move to feel well, I move to be myself.
Bottoms up, middle age! Bring it on.