Women Starting Over in Midlife

At 40 years of age you may be beginning to look back and ask, “What happened?”

By the time you’ve reached 60 you’re likely to be wondering how you’re going to navigate your future with declining health, the rising cost of living, and still enjoy a comfortable and meaningful life.

Dissatisfied with their progress in their former career, midlife women are feeling unacknowledged, and quite often harbouring unresolved resentment as they reflect on their efforts to juggle career and family, driven by the promise of equal opportunities in both the workplace and the home.

Starting over can be a daunting prospect. Where do you begin?

A Midlife Reality Check

Your reality didn’t measure up to your aspirations.

If you’re anything like many women of your generation, your experience has likely taught you that dreams are free, and reality is something quite different. 

Is it really possible to juggle childcare, keep a home and family life AND climb the corporate ladder to the top?

Many women in this generation experienced equal opportunity as a pipe dream. Most have had to compromise somewhere, be it in their career, their primary relationship, availability for their children, or all three.

You didn’t expect to find yourself alone.

Around 40 years of age I woke up to the fact that I was living someone else’s dream. I found myself pursuing a business in an industry that held no interest for me in order to appease my then husband. Our relationship didn’t survive as well as the business did, and I found myself parenting solo.

You’re health is beginning to bother you.

You may be beginning to experience health concerns that are taking you by surprise. Neglecting your own needs for those of others has an uncanny way of throwing key organ networks out of balance, eventually leading to physical symptoms, including that middle-age spread.

You’re worried about financial security going forward.

Finding employment isn’t easy in midlife, and you’re confronted with the idea of creating an income independently.

In spite of my impressive experience with building and managing a company with 7 digit revenues I was unable to find suitable employment. Sharing my management and financial skills and know-how, and still be available for my son, turned out to be yet another pipe dream.

At 60 years of age I’ve looked to the future and wondered what the next couple of decades could potentially look like.

Balancing the need for financial stability with approaching health concerns, plus the energy required to build another venture, is going to require a shift in your approach to your well-being, and to your business.

Focus your business on something that’s really meaningful for you and you’ll accomplish both!

5 Keys to Starting Over in Midlife

1. Know that you are your most valuable asset.

By the time you hit the middle years you have a ton of skills and experiences that are unique to you. With these you can carve out a meaningful future.

Doing the inner work to overcome feelings of “not good enough” or “don’t measure up” is going to support you to rekindle your confidence. It’s also going to put you strides ahead in your health recovery programme as you release unresolved conflicts and begin to experience the healing benefits of joy.

2. Connect with, and build your relationship with yourself.

You’ve been there for everyone else for decades and now it’s time to focus on you. Acknowledge yourself for everything you have achieved, and form a perspective that enables you to move forward confidently.

Don’t buy any of that malarkey about being selfish. Many clients get caught in this dilemma after having sacrificed so much of themselves for others. You’re allowed to care for yourself. You’ve earned the right.

3. Plan to spend your time doing something meaningful.

If you still have to secure your future financially, make your work as meaningful to you as possible. That way you won’t get bored, and you can put your heart and soul into it. That, in and of itself, is a great marketing advantage. It’s your true nature, your deeper essence that others will resonate with above all the online noise.

4. Bring all of you to the table. Don’t leave anything out.

For a long time I made the mistake of trying to avoid tapping into the years of experience I gleaned from my businesses. As I felt so completely let down by many experiences in business with my business/relationship partner, I wanted to put that behind me. 

However eventually I realized that my business years had much to offer me, and denying those years of skill development and experience was limiting my progress in this new venture.

5. Plan to work energetically smarter.

Look outside of the corporate model for smarter ways of using your energy and time to create a meaningful future. 

Aligning your daily tasks with your natural energy resources  can make all the difference to your workday in terms of productivity and energy conservation. Planning your day this way will also go a long way to recovering your health, especially if you’ve experienced burnout.

We are a generation of women who have the smarts, skills, experience and the opportunity to package our wisdom and bring it back to the market. 

Maybe you’ll create something that will support your daughters and theirs, as they reach for equal opportunities and a more equitable future. 

Or maybe this will be your time to follow your inspiration and create the meaningful life that you always dreamed of, centred around your interests and your talents.


  • Josie Coco

    Therapist, Wellbeing Mentor

    Solutions Beyond Strategies with Josie Coco

    A therapist and wellbeing mentor to those who are reassessing and refocussing in midlife, supporting you to achieve emotional, mental and social wellbeing as you rebuild a meaningful and fulfilled life. Stressful changes at this time affects how we think and feel, how we relate to others and how we make choices.