Leanne is a happy empty nester living in Australia and blogging about her midlife journey. Her goal is to share the joys and challenges of this stage of life and counteract the negativity associated with getting older and share stories about loving life. Find her at crestingthehill.com.au.
If that message hasn’t sunk in by now, let me repeat it – Midlife absolutely Rocks! I’m not sure why a lot of us thought it would be a dull and gray time of life where we slowly descended into old age and incontinence, but we were so wrong! Midlife is an amazing stage where we start seeing the fruits cultivated through the first half of our lives.
Sometimes I feel like I was asleep for the first half of my life. I lived it and enjoyed it, but I was busy with school, with work, with dating, marrying, mothering and generally establishing my family. I was fully engaged in all those things, but fairly oblivious to who I was as an individual in my own right. Now all those areas have been settled and I’m not striving to keep as many balls in the air, I have time to do the things that interest me and to actually work out what those things are! It’s a strange feeling to reach 50 and to not really know what you like or who you are aside from all the props of your life.
To take the time and to re-discover myself, and to like that person is an absolute revelation. To be a person in my own right again after so long is a revelation.
My life has thrown up a few hurdles along the way – there have been money struggles, relationship struggles, depression struggles, parental struggles, and many others that I can’t even think of at the moment. Each of these has served a purpose in my life. It would have been lovely to have just cruised through and never had to face any of these setbacks. But in doing so – and in defeating them, I’ve reached midlife with a lot more resilience than I might have had if they hadn’t caused bumps in my journey.
They’ve taught me that life goes on regardless. They’ve shown me that bad things can happen but we can rise up stronger from having to deal with them. They’ve proved to be positives as far as growing my character goes, and although I’d have liked to have not had to face them, they have made me the woman I am today.
One big outcome the tough times have reinforced is that worrying achieves absolutely nothing. I have been a worrier (not a warrior) all my life and it sucks the joy out of you. I’ve spent way too much time trying to be prepared for any and every contingency and it has been a complete waste of time and effort. Bad stuff happens regardless of whether you worry, and more often than not, the things you worry about don’t happen – something completely out of left field happens instead!
LIFE GETS BETTER EVERY DAY
But the biggest lesson midlife is teaching me is that life just keeps getting better and better. Middle age is not the time to put on the dowdy twinset and decide the best of life is over. No, it’s the time to try new things, be brave, laugh out loud and live life to the fullest. There is an absolute abundance of life waiting for us to live – we’ve only just scratched the surface during these first fifty years – all that experience we’ve gained is the springboard to what is ahead of us now.
The good times and the bad times add together to produce the women we are now and we are AMAZING!
THE SECOND HALF
The second half of life can be at least as wonderful as the first half – you may not be the mother of small children any more, but you have those lovely grandbabies to compensate – – and they don’t keep you up at night. You might not be partying into the wee hours as often as you used to, but when you do, you can rock it with the best of them – – or slip quietly out the door and home to bed – because who really cares?! Your metabolism might not let you eat as many calories as you could when you were a teenager, but you learn that a few extra kilos won’t change anyone’s opinion of you – – and if it did – they aren’t worth having in your life.
Midlife is so much more than I expected – it’s deeper, and warmer, and more varied. It’s liberating, fun, and full of new things to discover. Once you get over the hiccup of not being a “young thing” anymore, you realize that you have so much to offer and so much to invest and engage in. I wouldn’t swap what I have now for being 20 again – well maybe I’d go back for a day or two – but certainly not forever – I’ve lived it and I’m happy where I am now and I’m really looking forward to what’s ahead.