Despite the rude awakenings, the unsettling physical and emotional chaos of midlife and all of its frightful, presumed ramifications, an amazing number of women find this stage to be the most personally fulfilling and satisfying of their lives so far.
A recent Gallup survey of women aged fifty to sixty-five revealed that fifty-one percent of them feel happier now than they have ever before. This compares to only ten percent who thought the happiest times in their lives were their twenties, seventeen percent who were happiest in their thirties, and sixteen percent who liked their forties best.
Just what are we to make of this apparent feeling among so many women that we believe ourselves to be better off once we have lost possession of the very characteristics and trappings that society seems to value most in us — our sexual allure and childbearing capabilities?
We have lost our youthful looks and stamina. We have lost some vision, some hearing, some memory. We have lost the pigment in our hair and the elasticity in our skin. We are also losing our battle against gravity and the advancement of time.
We have lost the children we raised and we have lost our chance to have the children that we didn’t have. We also stand to lose our parents, our old friends, our spouses. We are in danger of losing our time left on the job, our visibility and our very lives.
So how does it compute that even while we are mired in loss, we have never been happier?
Because we have discovered that we actually like who we have become!
Everything worth having costs something, and the price of true love is self-knowledge. Becoming acquainted with yourself is a price well worth paying for the love that will really address your needs.
– Daphne Rose Kingma
We Queens have taken on the challenge of change, and with our eyes wide open we have engaged in the daunting process of learning who we are now and who we choose to become. It is important to us to know that our thoughts and feelings count, that our work and interests are meaningful, and that we, ourselves, matter. Our growing Self-confidence propelled us to reach for and attain our own authentic personal power.
We have come a long way and it has been quite a journey. We have dreamed the dream and done the work, and walked the long, long highway. We have struggled to discover, comfort, cosset, encourage and change our Selves. Now, finally, gloriously, joyfully, we have arrived at our destination. The station of our authentic sovereignty. And don’t it feel grand?
I don’t like myself, I’m crazy about myself.
– Mae West
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers 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.