The Queen of My Self

A five step plan to live a life with no regrets
By Lucy Thackray for Daily Mail Australia

Midlife thriver, Jane Mathews, author of ‘Midlife Manifesto – a tool-kit to plan the rest of your life’ offers some practical steps to help navigate and transform the turbulent, exciting years that are a person’s midlife into a midlife opportunity.

She also gives tips to ensure that a person can live without regrets and appreciate themselves. 

‘In my forties I bought a fridge magnet that said ‘Destined to be a woman with no regrets’. I looked at it. It looked back at me, and we both had an uneasy feeling that were I to continue on my current trajectory, I would have regrets. On the surface, things were fine – nice husband, 2.4 children (with Rory, the farting Airedale Terrier making up the .4), living in Sydney’s answer to Wisteria Lane. But my instincts told me that all was not right. Like so many mid-life women, I looked in the mirror and thought, ‘Is this it?’

“Now my marriage is over, my parents are dead and the house sold. But it’s not all bad news!’ writes Jane Matthews. Mid-life can creep up on you or it can hit you in the face. I found myself letting the seatbelt out on the plane a bit longer each time (there must have been a very small child in that seat before me…), seeing a multi-chinned Shar Pei photograph of myself… and then there’s the hair thing. Hairs growing where they have never ventured before. I am the Bearded Lady! Not that it matters any more, as I seemed to have donned Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak…

Plus the big things – tectonic plates of relationships shifting (triggering an unanticipated divorce), menopause, the death of my parents, getting back into the workforce at 49 and spiraling blood pressure. Plus teaching a child to drive! I tried to find a book to help, but they were all from an American perspective. No good to me. So I wrote it myself, and ‘Midlife Manifesto’ was born.

Mid-life offers a wonderful chance to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. After decades of looking after other people, finally we get to put the oxygen mask on first. And how sweet that is. Ban ‘middle age’ and ‘midlife crisis’ from your vocabulary and think ‘mid-life opportunity’. You write your own story and you hold the pen. ‘Ban ‘middle age’ and ‘midlife crisis’ from your vocabulary and think ‘mid-life opportunity’

A 5 point mid-life action plan

  1. Work out exactly where you want your life to lead

What is your vision? Don’t be a piece of flotsam, drifting aimlessly along, saying ‘I don’t know where the time goes’. Decide what you

really want to do with your life, who you want to be, how you want to live, and consciously work towards it. There are lots of different ways to help you identify your vision: Imagine your perfect day or produce a kick ass vision board. Or write your own eulogy, or your future life in six words, or just jot down a good old bucket list. It will be very clear where your heart is telling you to go. You should be smiling with anticipation.

  1. Write your own Midlife Manifesto – your life plan

Writing my own Midlife Manifesto has had a profound impact on my life.

I feel more in control, and happy that I’m pointing my life in a particular direction. Now it’s your turn. It is amazing how many lists women write – shopping lists,’to do’ lists and Christmas present lists, but so few of us actually put time aside to write a Life Plan. To begin with, think of the areas that are most important to you. Now consider each aspect really carefully. Get inspired. Research. Read. Google yourself senseless.

Write down what you want to achieve in area of your life, and how you intend to get there. The three cornerstones to every woman’s Midlife Manifesto should be your body, relationships and finances:

  1. My body – finally growing to love it

For the first half of our lives (which are largely lived on ‘automatic’) most of us took our health for granted. Now it’s time to switch to manual and be proactive about our health. Instead of disliking and finding fault with my body, I try to think of it (her!) as a wise and supportive friend.

If you look after your body, she will look after you in years to come, and really, you know your body well enough to know what it will respond to best. Predictably, but sensibly, it boils down to exercise and food. I like what Dr Phil says about exercise: ‘You don’t have to want to do it, you just have to do it’. Put it in your diary and getting up earlier! As for food, the guidelines are clear and I’m not going to patronize you by repeating them. It’s about choices. You send your body a message whether you care for it or not.

To be continued Wednesday 12/24 – How to Avoid a Midlife Crisis – Part 2


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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


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