I see “Begin Again” as an ideal theme for this season. We have the supreme opportunity now in the autumn of our midlife to begin again. How shall we reinvent our Selves? What new programs, projects and passions are on the horizon for us? Please send me your stories of change, transition, and transformation. Our shared experiences serve to inspire and empower us all. I found this great new beginnings piece in the Daily Mail, U.K.
xxQueen Mama Donna
A New Life – Part 1
By Crista Cloutier
Three years ago I fled an enviable career in the USA as a dealer in the high-powered international art world. Some called it a midlife crisis, but I prefer to think of it as a midlife correction. I simply couldn’t bear the idea of one more gallery opening, museum gala, or cocktail party. I wanted something different; to kick off my Jimmy Choos, run away and find something more authentic. And so I did.
I am not the first person to re-create her life. Indeed, as the world suffers from financial meltdowns, women everywhere are being forced to redefine themselves. Change can be frightening, especially if it’s not of one’s own making. But change can also bring opportunity, with the deepest rewards found in the effort.
On the surface, I had the perfect life: a gorgeous bungalow in sunny Arizona, frequent first-class travel, a stellar career in the glamorous art world. Parties peppered my diary, while shopping filled my weekends and my wardrobes.
This life came about by accident. I had studied photography at university. But somehow my sideline selling art to pay my way through college developed into my profession. Two decades later, as I approached my 40s, I was at the peak of my career, yet inside I was unfulfilled as I yearned to express my own creative urgings.
It began as I sat at my desk trying to shake what I thought were the Monday-morning blues. A colleague joked, ‘It’s days like these that make me want to move to France.’
Something in my heart sighed, ‘Yes.’
‘But that’s ridiculous,’ I thought. Ten years earlier I had spent some time at a small arts school for American students in a remote Provençal village. The idea of returning to this idyllic hamlet suddenly seized me. Perhaps I might rediscover the sense of inspiration that I’d experienced there years before? Was that the last time I’d felt inspired, I wondered?
As I flipped through a magazine dreamily, I remembered an American artist I’d met who lived there. What was his name? As I turned the page, my heart stopped. I have no memory for names whatsoever but I always remember pictures. There, in front of me, was an article about his work, the very artist I had just been thinking of who lived in Provence. I put down the magazine. I had made my decision.
The idea of leaving my life behind wasn’t rational but I believed I had received a sign. For that brief instant, I had hope that my life might be different, a better reflection of what I felt inside. I gripped my decision with single-minded determination. ‘This is your chance,’ something whispered to me.
Tomorrow: A New Life – Part 2
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.