So I’m now at the age that most people would call Midlife. My husband jokingly calls it “the Back Nine,” referring to the last nine holes of an eighteen-hole golf course. I don’t play golf, but I certainly get the gist!
When I was a kid, I remember hearing about how people would often have a “Midlife Crisis.” They would do wacky, out-of-the-ordinary things. They would not act like their former selves. They would often hurt and leave the people they loved. They would buy expensive items, sometimes ones they could not really afford.
So here I am looking for what may be a crisis. And the interesting thing is that I’ve yet to find one!
Here’s what I’ve found instead. Maybe you are experiencing some of the same, or something completely different. I am experiencing: Awakening, Relaxing, Accepting, Exploring, Discovering, New-Found Confidence.
That doesn’t sound like a crisis to me. What is sounds like is coming into your own. I am calling it Aging Into Confidence. (That is me being very positive and trying not to offend. The New Yorker in me wants to call it something along the lines of “Who gives a shit?” or even worse, “Fuck it!” But I am thinking that Aging Into Confidence is a little less harsh.) 🙂
The more I have been thinking about this and chatting with friends, colleagues, and clients about it, I’ve realized that I am not alone. Lots of midlife women (and men) are feeling a freedom that may not have been there earlier in their lives. So it seems that we’ve done a pretty good job of becoming ourselves. And that’s a really good thing.
And it’s about time, right?
It’s almost like many of us turn fifty and an internal filter that was always there gets switched off. We don’t do as much second guessing and doubting of ourselves. We don’t care as much what others think. We are more confident and relaxed about things that we used to get worked up about.
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean this in a bad way. It’s not that we don’t care. Oh we do. We really really do. Probably more than ever. It’s just that our caring is less control-freakish and more quietly and calmly strong.
We say No more often and more fully to things that don’t interest us, sap our energy, or are meant to shape us into someone else’s version of ourselves. We say Yes to opportunities and interests that are more worthwhile endeavors of our time. And we do this without the all-encompassing guilt that grabbed us by the throat so often in our younger adult years and made us sweat all too often.
We were always taught that age brought wrinkles and laugh lines. And now that many of us have arrived at midlife, we realize that yes, there are wrinkles and laugh lines (and lots of other unpleasant signs of aging). But there is also wisdom, confidence, and a carefree attitude that feels great.
So if this is the supposed Midlife Crisis, I’ll take it, thank you very much.