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

Wise Words for Our Self
Several of my recent posts have been about the Self, including “What Exactly is the Self?” in which I wrote, “The Self is the sum of all of our parts, and holistically, it is greater than the sum of all of our parts. The fluid Self transcends time and space, expanding and shape-shifting, chang

posted 6:00:48am Apr. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Benefits of Age
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

posted 6:00:37am Apr. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Long Live the Queen
The notion that fifty years of age could be considered a “halfway” mark is unprecedented. For most of human existence, life expectancy hovered at around twenty to thirty years, and it was only by 1800 that folks commonly began to live to be forty. American women now enjoy a mean life expectancy

posted 6:00:51am Apr. 11, 2014 | read full post »

A Time For Me
During the decades of our Maiden and Motherhood, women grow to meet all of our many demanding responsibilities. Like the moon that can’t keep getting fuller and fuller with no retreat, we can take on only so much before exploding like a balloon pumped up with too much air. In the second half of He

posted 6:00:33am Apr. 09, 2014 | read full post »

My Mother the Queen
Unlike my grandmother who personified the archetypal transition from Motherhood to Cronedom at menopause, her daughter, my mother, was a Queen long before her time. Her story is quite a common one now, shared by many millions of women, but in the early 1950’s, she was a lonely pioneer when she sou

posted 6:00:18am Apr. 07, 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.