Evaluate Where You Are
Midlife is a fantastic time to evaluate where you are in life and where you want to go next. As long as you have your health, you mostly get better with age. You are not over the hill or on a downward slope. You spend too much time trying to turn back the clock instead of embracing who you are and making the most of the valuable time you have. It’s a great time to start being proactive about the next exciting stage of your life.
Make The Big Stuff Happen
You need to hold on to your big dreams. If you believe in yourselves, you can make big stuff happen. I taught myself how to build websites and built three before I turned 49. I’m now an online entrepreneur in my 50s. I learnt that we’re never too old and it’s never too late to keep learning and doing. Who knows what else I’ll get up to?
Midlife is when things get really interesting. I achieved a lot between 20 and 50 – even though I had no plan – life just happened. Now in my 50s, I have experience and am better able to plan and be proactive. I did my first half marathon at 50. The average life expectancy in the UK is 81 for women – it’s higher in the US. There’s no reason I can’t achieve as much between 50 and 80 as I achieved between 20 and 50. That’s my plan anyway! The first half was just the dress rehearsal.
I went through an early menopause at 41, but only found out because I was trying for another child. As I tried to come to terms with this, I couldn’t find resources or community to help or which suited me. So, I created it. I started with the Mutton Club online magazine and when I wanted to help women more directly, I set up the Magnificent Midlife Members Club.
When I started on my Magnificent Midlife journey, life was what happened outside of work. Now ‘work’ is the best thing about my life. I am finally able to be me in all aspects of what I do. I have a lot to thank my early menopause for - I now feel I’m doing what I was put on this planet to do.
Challenge The Stereotypes
We’re sold anti-ageing creams in our 20s. We’re given commiseration birthday cards when we hit significant milestones – as early as 30. It’s no wonder we fear getting older. There are negative narratives we’re fed all our lives - it’s too late, we’re too old and irrelevant, we should sit in the corner and keep quiet. No way! We need to create our own narratives rather than accepting what we’ve been told.
Our society worships youth. Women’s ideas about their beauty and relevance are tied up in their youth and fertility. We don’t appreciate the blessing that is ageing and it’s particularly bad for women. Men become silver foxes but you don’t hear much talk of silver vixens. Ageing for women is seen as something shameful that we should hide with Botox or dying our hair. As we age, we know more and can contribute more. And our beauty evolves rather than diminishes. You only have to look at the natural world to see this happening. We don’t believe spring blossom is more beautiful than the coppery leaves of autumn – both are beautiful, just different.
Celebrate The Change
Being post menopause is great. No more periods means we’re off the oestrogen roller coaster. It also means we have more testosterone in our system than other hormones which makes us, hormonally, more on a par with men. As a result, we may feel less impulse to nurture others and feel able to put ourselves first for a change. We may feel more desire to conquer the world. And our sex drive may also be raring to go.
Dedicate Time For Self-Care
We can get stuck in the sandwich generation – caring up for parents and down for children. Caring for everyone else can lead to burn out for many women. Learning to set healthy boundaries and when to say no, can prevent this. We need to start putting ourselves first. Prioritising sleep is also important.
Listen To Your Body
The menopause symptoms are like an early warning system, telling us if we want good long-term health, we may need to make some changes. But all too often we don’t listen to their bodies, we ignore the signals and reach for HRT as a Band Aid on symptoms, rather than taking time to address the underlying issues.
It pays to work to get our hormones balanced.
Live A Healthy Life
Fill up on organic food, more fruit and vegetables. Natural phytoestrogens replace the oestrogen we lose through menopause so more exercise (especially weight-bearing) and meditation can help manage the change and the stress.
Surround Yourself With Loved Ones
Community is also incredibly important, especially when we may be stuck in the, sometimes, messy middle of life. Perhaps longstanding friends no longer really get who we are now. It’s important to cultivate a good support network whether online or in real life. I’ve made many great new friends online over the last few years. These are women who get who I am and bring enormous joy to my life.
Don’t Step Back, Step Up
Learn to live courageously every day – small acts of courage keep us moving forward. We should be open to new ideas and concepts. We need to realise the power of women in midlife and beyond – the world needs us to step up not step back.
Believe In Yourself
Work out where we are in life and where we want to go next. We’re never too old and it’s never too late - believe in our own infinite potential. There’s plenty of time to still change the world. The first half was just a dress rehearsal. This is a great time to indulge in the business of being you.
Five Steps To A Magnificent Midlife
Step One: Commit to doing the work to make change happen in our life.
Step Two: Establish what our ideal midlife (and beyond) looks like and what we can do to get closer to it.
Step Three: Try three new activities and decide what needs to be in our midlife tool kit.
Step Four: Review progress so far and decide what still needs to change for maximum impact.
Step Five: Maintain our own life support tool kit and inspire other midlife women to flourish.
Find out more here: Magnificent Midlife