What To Do About Your Mid-Life Crisis.
Advice for my Gen-X sisters.
As a Leading-Edge Boomer, the cultural expectations for my generation of women were clear: get an education and job skills to “fall back on,” marry well, and have a family. Do this and all will be well — or so we were told.
But by midlife, we struggled with disillusionment, dissatisfaction, and a sense of injustice when we discovered the path we were told to want would not ultimately fulfill us. As Boomers, we felt betrayed by the model we were supposed to follow — until Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and others came along to articulate and validate our private experience and to help us out of our midlife crises.
Thanks in part to these women, I’m now CEO of my own company and the best-selling author of a book which helps others find their paths to achievement.
Today’s midlife women have another kind of challenge. The Boomer woman’s path to success was a limited model. Our midlife rebellion against that model was the way we found our true selves. But today’s midlife women have too many models. They are watching the success of others streaming online 24/7. Each of these successes feels like signs in Alice in Wonderland’s forest, telling her the “right” way to explore what is going to fulfill her during that second half of her life.
Research suggests we often feel satisfied until we perceive we have less than what a peer has, and the too many model has an added liability: it can leave us feeling downright unhappy. So, what do we do to move ourselves through the midlife crisis to that place of wild satisfaction at work and in our lives?
Here’s are nine pieces of wisdom to live by:
- Only you can create the true model for a fulfilling life. Live by it.
- Fifty is younger than you think.
- Comparing creates dis-ease.
- You don’t have to do it all, all at once
- Menopause and what precedes it are real and “normal”
- Bioidentical hormones can be lifesavers.
- Make friends with positive older women — we will give you perspective
- Make friends with younger women — they will give you a different perspective and gratitude for where you are in your own life.
- Self-compassion and laughter are the keys to a happy life.
Midlife crisis isn’t just a term; it’s an actual event. Our bodies change, hormones shift, parents become elderly, children leave the nest, your priorities change — and with that comes the need to stay centered on your own self-definition and who you really want to be in the world.
Times have changed and possibilities (for better or for worse) are endless. If you stick to these nine principles, you may not feel quite as overwhelmed by all the potential roads to happiness you could take.
And above all? Have fun!
Looking for more insight during this transition time? Check out Live Large: The Achiever’s Guide to What’s Next.