Joys of Midlife
As I write this, I am a ripe old age of 55 years and I've recently begun a series of social media posts dedicated to exploring the Joys of Midlife. I am a copywriter, a mother to 2 teenage boys, a wife to a very generous and understanding husband, a board member of Newcastle Fringe Festival, an emerging author of children’s fiction and a middle-aged woman seeking understanding and soul truth of the journey I call my life.
Midlife to me is between the ages of 45 to 65 but I admit the definition could be different to each of us. I just scrape in at the Gen X level, being born in 1966. My kids still call me a Boomer which I vehemently deny. I don’t believe I was afforded the same benefits that the Boomer generation enjoyed. I am of the Gen Xers – the forgotten generation, the ones who had to learn computers for the first time, who had to deal with AIDs, mobile phones and the digital/internet revolution. The ones who believed the stories that we could ‘have it all’ – a family and a career - only to discover that we couldn’t. It was our generation who discovered the need for IVF to have our babies, having spent too long on our careers and being left with aging ovaries. I had my first child at age 40 and my second at 41. A middle-aged mum.
Of course, I don’t regret anything. I don’t mean to sound bitter – because I’m not. I have had a wonderful life. I can honestly say that all the dreams I dreamt as a teenager have come true. One could argue that perhaps my dreams weren’t particularly high falutin’ but never-the-less they did come true. I got my Mr Right, my kids, my little cottage, my slightly glam career in magazine publishing and the arts, my travel and my wisdom to know that these were my dreams, and this was my happiness. Some things took longer to come into my life than I wanted them to, some things were more painful than I wanted to experience but all in all, it’s been a lot of fun and richly coloured. No regrets.
But here I am, at midlife. My mother said to me recently that her 50s were the happiest years of her life. She felt she had come into her own, she was healthy and she had energy to pursue her interests and the life she wanted to lead. It got me thinking. It made me realise that time was running out. This was a decade that I should be enjoying to the full – not running around trying to please everyone and stressing myself out.
I had my kids so late in life that in my 40s I hit a tsunami of career blocks that really slowed me down. It’s difficult enough to try to return to the workforce after you’ve had time out to have kids without also being of an age where you begin experiencing ageism in the workplace. Add to that the fact that I was in marketing which underwent a mountain of change following our digital revolution and getting back into work, into a role that meant something to me, was particularly difficult.
After much heart ache and struggle, I pivoted - found writing and fell headfirst into it in all sorts of ways. That’s where I’m at today. I work on a fringe festival, dedicated to bringing the arts in all its forms to my hometown. I write copy for websites, blogs and social media for clients in business, I write for a couple of local magazines, and I try to find time to dedicate to my dream of writing something that will be published one day. I write kidlit, and have an adult fiction novel on the go - slow go that is!
My little social media experiment is not particularly successful. I do not have thousands of followers liking my posts or sharing their own joys. I have no idea what I will write from week to week, but I do sense a kind of connection between the posts. They are authentic. They are meant well. If you disagree with anything I write, that’s fine. It’s OK. Scroll past and don’t bother reading anymore.
But … if you find yourself at a bit of a midlife crossroads, unsure of your direction, unhappy with how your life is unfolding, perhaps peeking through my list of joys will help you find your own. I truly hope so.