Let’s face it – no one looks forward to being in midlife. It’s a no man’s land where you feel unsure about your place in the grand scheme of things. You’re not young but you certainly aren’t old. Your relationships are likely to be changing; your body is morphing in mysterious and challenging ways; you may find yourself so busy with things and people who need you that you just don’t have time to take care of yourself the way you should. You’re exhausted. You begin to wonder if it’s all downhill from here. As a friend of mine recently confided:
“I’m very busy and very bored at the same time . . . I guess I’m somewhat resigned to the rhythm.”
It certainly doesn’t have to be this way. How we think about and experience our midlife years is ripe for change. The truth is that now more than ever, we have the talent, the energy and the desire do great things, but have no construct for how to think about and grow in this time of life. I want to change that.
Where is the Middle?
Since 1900 we’ve added about three full decades to our life expectancy. Think about that. It’s extraordinary. Contrary to what we tend to assume, those years we’ve added are not more years of decrepitude at the end; rather, we’ve added an entirely new life stage in the middle! The problem is that until now, no one has named this new stage and no one has introduced ways to unearth its potential.
If You Name It You Can Tame It
I’m spearheading a movement to change our national conversation about what it means to be in midlife. I’m starting by naming this new stage, the years from about 45-65 make up life’s newest stage: Middlescence. Like Adolescence – only better!
Think of it as something akin to a second adolescence:
- Just like adolescence, our bodies are morphing. But in this case, shifts in our hormones and wear and tear on our bodies mean we require more time spent on our health and wellness than when we were younger—not less.
- Just like adolescence our relationships may be shifting. We are empty-nesters, divorcees, caregivers, newlyweds and more. We’re finding it’s time to revisit and reprioritize these relationships as we feel internal shifts about what’s important, and external shifts in who needs us most.
- Just like adolescence we have questions about our place in the world and wonder what our future holds. The life scripts we’ve been living may no longer feel right. We’re learning that decisions made in our 20’s don’t necessarily stay relevant for another 60 years. We’re no longer young but we certainly aren’t old.
- Just like adolescence, our very sense of self, our identity is evolving. We are craving an understanding of whom we want to be when we grow up—even though we’re grownups!
We’ve Created New Life Stages Before
Adolescence was once a new life stage too, named in 1904 by G. Stanley Hall, a pioneer in the study of children. Our culture was changing from one where children moved straight into adult roles, to a time of mandatory education and protection. Recognizing and naming adolescence has done nothing less than changing the way we experience that impactful part of our lives.
It’s time we do the same for the 82 million Americans between the ages of 45-65.
I want to help you to live a happier midlife filled with inspiration and energy, and the courage to choose your best life. I am kicking off a midlife revolution! You can learn more about middlescence and how to navigate it here. To keep learning, click here to join us on Facebook and hit ‘LIKE’ to get more information.