When I was growing up the phrase ‘midlife’ didn’t even enter my etherscape (I just made that word up). Anyone over 40 was, in my opinion, as old as the mountains. And getting old was something that was never going to happen to me. Why I thought that I will never know! Youth makes one prone to folly.
The passage of time drew me closer and closer to the big Five O. Turning 40 was bad enough and here was 50 beckoning. There were things I had not done yet like walk barefoot through a park, drink a Jaeger Bomb or dance for hours to Chic’s ‘Le Freak’ on a loop. There was no excitement about turning 50 but just a stoic acceptance that it was going to happen. A landmark that marked my entrance into the second half of my life. I failed to see turning 50 as a game changer.
Somewhere, soon after turning 50, I discovered the power of being a midlifer. Call it a jolt of cultural awareness, due to the way celebrities in their midlife were making mileage out of it, or an osmosis of self-awareness. Embracing the midlife phase of my life has been a game changer. We reach this phase with a greater awareness of ourselves, are more confident and have developed values.
My midlife has brought a heightened sense of awareness of my weaknesses too like opening my mouth and speaking when I would have been better off shutting up. As the Rules of Life book states, “There will always be new areas of experience where we have no guidelines and where we’ll handle things badly, overreact, get it wrong. And the more flexible we are, the more adventurous, the more life-embracing, then the more avenues there will be to explore – and make mistakes in of course”.
That is the point of midlife isn’t it – to acknowledge that being older doesn’t always translate into being wiser but still being able to bring your past experiences to bear in helping those around you?
Happy New Year and wishing you well as you discover yourself in your midlife.