The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self


Lost and Found

posted by Donna Henes

Aging and changing might be inevitable, but they ain’t easy. They precipitate in us a great uncertainty. The myriad dramatic disturbances of modern middle life — menopause, health concerns, career shifts, the empty nest, divorce and death — create an overwhelming crisis of identity and purpose for each of us. What follows is an intense period of questioning absolutely everything — our goals and achievements, our priorities and our operating systems, our morals and our values, our fantasies and our fears.

Some of us spend a considerable amount of time — easily ten or fifteen years — swirling in the turbulence of this middle age reassessment. Who are we supposed to be at this stage of our life when we are less likely to be bound and identified by our kinship connection to someone else — as a daughter, a wife, a mother, a lover? What exactly is our role as older than young and younger than old women who are still active and more effective than ever?

This middling transitional shift into the next stage of our being promises us a vast world of positive possibilities for the second half of life. But first, before we are able to avail ourselves of the advantages and rewards of maturity, we must cross the Grand Canyon of midlife change, steep, rocky, and ripped asunder by a whole panoply of seismic ripples — mental, emotional, and spiritual — beyond the obvious physical ones. We climb and climb, and still we lose ground. The Earth that we once trusted to be solid under our feet is slipping away and we are dragged out to sea where we bob along in uncertain waters, in a leaky boat with no map to guide us.

It seems as if
I’ll never get beyond
the foot prints that I made.

- Qernertuq, Eskimo woman poet
c.900-1400

In her book Goddesses in Older Women,  the therapist Dr. Jean Bolen says that menopause is “a time of great spiritual and creative unfolding — although it sometimes feels like great unraveling.” Unraveling, indeed. The whole damn sweater is falling apart and we are standing here naked in the cold (and we are still hot). Nothing has prepared us for this landslide of transitions that greets us as we enter our middle years. There we were, going along as always, then one day out of the blue, we discover ourselves to be middle aged. Blindsided in a youth-conscious culture, we never saw it coming, but the overwhelming evidence of our aging can hardly be ignored.  

These profound changes in the chemistry of our bodies and in our intimate relationships, the terrifying disruptions of our status quo, the daily life-and-death dramas we are forced to deal with, are incredibly disorienting. Not only are we burning up physically, blasted with flashes from our out of control internal furnaces, we are also, many of us, burnt out on an emotional level after years of tending the home, the hearth, and usually a job as well.

Gallup took a poll of women over 55 years of age. They were asked in which decade were they the happiest. 11% said their 20’s, 14% said their 30’s, 13% said their 40’s, the rest, well over 50%  answered “RIGHT NOW!!!”

Interesting. Society tells us, and our own experiences have verified, that now that we are menopausal, we are poised to lose everything that has so far defined us: our power of reproductivity, our youth, our sex appeal, our children, our parents, our spouses, our time left on the job, our visibility, our very lives — and we have never been happier! We might have suffered great loss, but look what we have gained — our Selves, And that makes us happy, indeed.

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.



  • hedgecrone

    though this is probably the most turbulent time since my teens it is also unlike my teens a good time,and this is good

  • http://www.DonnaHenes.net Donna Henes

    Adolescence is bitch for most folks. A very painful time. This midlife transition is every bit as painful, but the rewards are extraordinary. There is nothing like claiming full sovereignty over our own life and times. Brava!

Previous Posts

Cleaning House
Our messy thinking and sloppy habits come more easily into focus when our surroundings are tidy and beautiful and filled with only what is meaningful, so that we can release them, as well. A thorough house cleaning, internal as well as external, is a fabulous way to delineate the purpose of our l

posted 6:00:25am Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

What’s Important in Life?
–from Joan Chittister: Essential Writings Once upon a time, there was an elder who was respected for his piety and virtue. Whenever anyone asked him how he had become so holy, he always answered, “I know what is in the Qur’an.” So when the old man died, they raced one another to his hu

posted 6:00:09am Oct. 17, 2014 | read full post »

One For All and All For One Once and For All
Recently I was asked to speak about the shamanic point of view of team building with an emphasis on creating alliances and community. From a shamanic point of view it is redundant to think of reaching out to build teams, alliances and communities, as we are already all connected. There is no us a

posted 6:00:12am Oct. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Out on a Limb
By Jan Morris You have stepped out on a limb.  You have made a choice to travel many miles, far from familiar, family, childhood, home.  You have made this choice to grow, to make improvements upon yourself with a vision of a foundation for your future.  Here you are…meeting new friends, fin

posted 6:00:00am Oct. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Letting Go of All that Does Not Serve
On my birthday this year, a friend presented me with a gorgeous amber necklace that she had gotten in Russia twenty years ago before she immigrated to the United States. Though she felt that it did not suit her, she held onto it for two decades for sentimental reasons. When she gave it to me, she ap

posted 6:00:47am Oct. 13, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.