“A woman must wait for her ovaries to die before she can get her rightful personality back.” Florence King
My mother used to call it ‘The Change of Life’. Now it is mid-life, menopause, power surges or just plain hell!
Most information about this time of life is about the physical changes. As women in our 40’s, 50’s and 60’s we face hormone changes, hot flashes, bone loss, losing our ability to create children and no more periods.
But there is a far more profound and important change that is happening.
The change of life is ……… life changing!
Almost all of my clients and friends (and myself) in this ‘change of life’ find themselves feeling anywhere from mildly unsettled to downright depressed and feeling like a failure. The questions I hear are:-
- Who am I?
- What’s wrong with me?
- What do I have to show for my life?
- There must be more to life than this?
Since we are now probably at least half way through our life the questions have become urgent.
To question everything is quite normal.
There is a physical change from being creative as mothers, wives, workers and doers to ……. what? Often there is a desire to be creative in other ways … but what? Many women want to know their True Purpose, to make a difference in the world now that their focus is no longer primarily on family.
A common story at this time of life is that the kids have now grown up and left home so what is mum going to do now. But what I have seen is that it can happen at any point in the story. For me it was early 50’s when my marriage of 20 years ended but my children were still quite young at 12 and 8. For others their children are long gone or they never had children. Women experience this ‘change’ even if they have no family or partner. For some it is as early as 40, for others not until 60 or 70 even.
The questions however are very similar. It can be a time of quiet reflection or, in my case, feeling like I was in a deep dark hole and I would never get out. It can appear to be about the outer world – job or career change, divorce, empty nest, body changes and those can be major factors but it runs much deeper than that.
The Three Phases of Life
Childhood is about growing and learning. Puberty brings on the change into adulthood – the doing phase of life focused on work and family. Menopause is the physical manifestation of perhaps the most profound change of life into the BEing phase. Supposedly it is moving into the wisdom years although I know that most women feel it as the complete opposite at the beginning of this transition! If the answers don’t come then the transition can go on for years and the questions continue.
You are not broken!
I’d just like to say at this point that no matter what YOUR experience is of this time that it is absolutely perfect – for you. You will look back on it and I trust that you will have found the answers you are looking for because then you WILL see the perfection in it.
As teenage children go through puberty the hardest thing for them is to see that things do change. When they are in the thick of some major drama (relationships, acne, peer pressure, school …) it is hard to see that these things will change. This is not the only girl/boy in the world, your skin will not always look this way, that essay will get done.
By 50 you would think we would know better! But no! Suddenly it seems we forget everything we’ve learned or done. We look back on 50 years and wonder what on earth we have really DONE with our life. It feels like the answer is ‘nothing’ (aside from children perhaps). All of the self-doubt and judgment comes to the surface and we are blind to all of our other achievements.
My 50th Birthday List
My sister is 4 years older than me and was not happy to get to 50. So I started to look at what I might do to feel OK when I got to 50 (and again now as I approach 60!). Aside from a few bucket list items (more at 60 than 50!) I wrote down everything I had done in those 50 years. All the countries I had traveled to, the variety of jobs I had had, the trainings, events, concerts, festivals I had been to. It was impressive!
Its amazing how easy it is to forget these things until you actively go looking for them in your memory banks. At 52 as I was going through divorce with no career, no purpose and losing our home too ….. I completely forgot about all those achievements and was deeply in the hole of self judgment and unworthiness. But it had helped for awhile and still does when I remember it!
This is a huge and important topic so I am sure I will write more on it. It is very dear to my heart (and body!) after all! I will end this by saying that no matter where you are at in this process the key to finding ALL those answers that you seek is to BE with yourself. To love and accept yourself just the way you are. See yourself through the eyes of your Soul.
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What are the questions that YOU are trying to answer for yourself?
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