I have a new sense of purpose and, since my preconception was that I should be settling down with my knitting as I approached 50, I wondered why.
Ok, I still prefer my slippers to towering heels, and need a seat with a back, but I’m energised and ambitious at a time when the world told me I would be slowing down. What’s all that about?
After much research on that new-fangled interweb, I discovered I am quite normal (Ok, I may be exaggerating slightly), but it is not unusual for a woman’s priorities to alter as she enters her middle years, leading to a change in direction and focus.
When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Lots of things fall into place for us at this age, many of us become individuals again after subsuming ourselves in our families and as we raise our heads, Meerkat-like, above the maelstrom of other people’s needs, we see there’s a world out there that we’d like a piece of.
“It’s not like 50 is the new 30. It’s like 50 is the new chapter.”Sharon Stone
I’m not alone in experiencing a new drive as I approach my 50th. I’ve written before about how women I know are surging with creative energy and it seems there’s a good reason for this.
Whilst men of our age are beginning to count down the years left at work, considering their exit strategy, many women are experiencing a new lightness as the physical and emotional burden of caring for young children is lifted.
As their offspring become independent, women’s priorities shift back towards themselves. They are more focussed on finding their purpose and making their mark on the world.
As the pension age rises, there are decades left ahead for us to have fulfilling careers. A friend was telling me about an initiative to get women ‘returners’ into tech. Their ability to multi-task, experience in running careers along-side families, their desire to excel and their innate reliability, make them perfect candidates for growing tech businesses.
At last, we are being appreciated for what we can offer, and that’s quite a bloomin’ lot.
In middle-age we learn to accept and appreciate ourselves and it is liberating!
Increased discernment allows us to shed the skin of other peoples’ expectations and rise from the dead follicles as our true, shiny selves.
I feel free of so many things which blemished my earlier years
I am free of so many things which blemished my earlier years. I no longer need a best friend to validate my existence, but highly value the friends I do have. My friends are my kind of weird and they’re no longer pretending otherwise either.
I’ve also learned how to quietly disentangle myself from those people whose values clash with mine
Whilst I prefer for people to like me, I don’t people-please to the detriment of myself.
Fashion no longer holds me hostage. By 50 many women I know have found a unique style of their own. Does it suit me, does it fit me, is it comfortable? These are the questions I ask myself when trying on clothes. Sometimes I wonder whether it’s sexy (I’m not dead yet – although the answer is usually no).
50 symbolises a seismic mental shift for many of us. It’s the point when we acknowledge most of our lives are behind us, so the time we have left has to count.
With this in mind, we start to do more of what brings us joy.
The self-conscious, blinkered years of youth are behind us and we start to consider our place in society. We rediscover our relationships (this doesn’t always have a positive outcome as we wonder whether we really do want to pick up this man’s pants for the next thirty years…) we prioritise people over things, become kinder and less judgmental.
This all sound like wisdom, doesn’t it? With all that experience and learning behind us, we’re in a good position to be making a fabulous contribution to the world.
In conclusion, my suspicions are confirmed, women of middle age, we rock.
Feature Image by Zoltan Tasi on Upsplash