I'm still not sure why this is such a taboo word among women, but I think it's because of the attachment to "crisis". I think there are many of us that fear midlife because we think that it is the end, but really it's the downhill. And by downhill I mean that we've done a lot of the hard part. We've climbed to the peak, or we're almost there, are we're looking at the view. Behind us we see all of the challenges that we've overcome. The obstacles that seemed so major in the moment. Many that we shed tears over and some that we turned around because of. But, we've overcome so much and from our place on top of the mountain we can look back and realize how small they really were and how we would do them differerntly. Often we wish we could go back again and redo a section of our lives, but really none of us want to turn around and go back down only to have to climb up again. We've been there and we have the knowledge to share with a younger traveler should they care to hear it.
But now we're on top. We're strong - our journey has brought us amazing strength and vision. For the most part we know who to trust and we've found out who were are along the way. We've tried some different paths, but have settled into the one that is the most comfortable. We are past the point of giving a shit. When a new obstacle is presented, we get ticket off, but we're empowered to conquer it just as we've done the ones before. We are living Fried Green Tomatoes. We are Evelyn screaming "Towanda" because we've claimed that power of being so in-tune with ourselves.
Now, we might have hit a false summit. We may still have some climbing to do, especially those of us who are on the early side of midlife. I know that I still have young children, and while I'm feeling pretty good about who I am right now, I still have adolescence and young adulthood to survive before I can feel like I've conquered it all. But I'm OK with that. What I see in front of me I can prepare for, while also reclaiming the strong woman I am.
For me midlfe means getting back to me. I spent 45 years trying to find myself, and I'm going to live the next 45 years (hopefully more) fully engaging in life. I'm going to continue entering in Olympic Weightlifting competitions and obstacle course races. I'm going to try Taekwondo and rock climbing. I'm going to go sledding with my kids and savor the rush of fear that I could possibly be doing something stupid. I don't care anymore.
I have menopause ahead of me,. but I don't care. I am carrying a layer of fat around my middle, but I'm going to still try to get those abs I've been aiming for since I was in high school. And I'm not going to kill myself for them. In fact, if it never happens, I'm OK with that, but it's fun to imagine. I picture myself growing older in joy. I want to be happy. I want to stop wallowing in the concerns of if I'm who society says I'm supposed to me. No one care. Really. No one cares about any of it. They just care that you are happy and healthy, and that's all I can do.
I think I'll watch Fried Green Tomatoes again in the next week, because I think my perspective on Evelyn's transformation in the movie will be so much different. I think I have a little Evelyn in me - especially the sassiness that comes out as the movie progresses.
I guess what I'm saying is that I hope you'll stop letting the word "midlife" be a bad word for you. I hope you'll stop of the feelings of fear when you hear this word, and instead embrace the strength that we possess in midlife. Stop trying to be 20 of 30. Be 40 or 50. Let's make those others wish that they were us for a change. Are you game?
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