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The Queen of My Self

 

Mid Life Crisis: What is it? Is it inevitable? Is it even a real phenomenon? Or is it an invention of the media — that is, corporate advertising trying to sell us things we don’t need? (Not only do we not need these cosmetic and quasi-medical accoutrements, they are downright insulting and sometimes even dangerous.)

I have been inundated lately by articles, poems, and stories about the so-called “Midlife Crisis.” Clearly it is a subject very much on the minds of many, many women. The writings that I have been sharing with you cover the gamut of opinions, ideas, and suggestions about coping with a Midlife Crisis, ours or someone else’s. I offer them up to you to for your interest and edification.

As always, I invite you to send me your stories — experiences, advice, and inspiration to share with our community of Midlife Queens.

Midlife Crisis or Midlife Consciousness? You choose!

xxQueen Mama Donna

 

Emerging Maturity – Part 1

By Vivian Diller, Ph.D.

If you’re between 45 and 65 years old, then you know what it’s like to be lumped together by age, as a mid-lifer, Baby Boomer, Hippie or Yuppie. Viewed as that huge generation reaching middle age (and beyond) by the millions, we’ve been told that we can retain our vitality and visibility if we just work hard enough. “Hit the gym, keep active, play Scrabble, join Facebook and try Tweeting,” experts advise. Oh, and should we hit bumps along the way, hampered by some poor life choices — a dysfunctional marriage, a dead-end job, an overweight or out-of-shape body — we need only reawaken our dormant passions and reinvent ourselves to move gracefully into old age. We are, after all, going to be all right. Better than ever.

With angst, yet relief, I read Never Say Die, by Susan Jacoby, who is a little less sanguine about this whole aging thing, describing it, more or less, as “brutal.” She argues that we have been blindly led to believe in midlife “mythical metamorphosis,” after years of being bombarded by age-defying fantasies in the media — and not just by marketers who make money out of that sort of thing, but by well-meaning psychologists, support groups, self-help books and magazines. According to The New York Times, Jacoby debunks the anti-aging fairy-tale and questions our dream that “medical science will transform human biology and spare us all from decrepitude.” She warns, “Dream on.” Or better yet, stop dreaming.

Somewhere between “forever young” fantasies and throwing in the towel is reality — the true-life struggles confronted during the phase I call “Emerging Maturity.” In a recent article, titled “Midlife Crisis: A Misleading Myth or a Reality in Search of a New Name?” I described the cultural changes that necessitated a redefinition of the outdated term. Originally coined in the mid 1900s, the midlife crisis has become associated with the derogatory image of the 40-year-old guy behaving badly (think Owen Wilson movies) as he yearns to return to his youth — a hackneyed cliché rendering the term relatively useless.

Emerging Maturity, on the other hand, is customized to fit today’s cultural landscape — neither something that occurs at midlife, nor necessarily a crisis. Experienced by both men and women, it starts most often as signs of aging emerge but can occur at any point when questions about mortality arise. It reflects the fact that we are the first generation living well into our 80s and 90s, facing new challenges and opportunities as a result. While our midpoint once led to feelings of panic and urgency — and therefore a desire to fulfill unmet goals before time ran out — it now more often leads to a heightened awareness of the many years that lie ahead, and a wish to bring fulfillment to the rest of the journey.

Tomorrow: Emerging Maturity – 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 thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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