The Queen of My Self

By Anna Moore, London Daily Mail

It’s not just middle-aged men who are tempted to roar away from routine and responsibility in a sports car. But is there a quick fix for the midlife crisis?

Although the feelings took hold shortly before Abi’s 50th birthday, she didn’t associate them with a midlife crisis. (‘No one wants to see themselves as a stereotype,’ she says now.) Her two children had flown the nest and she had nursed her mother through illness. When she died, she left Abi a substantial sum in her will.

‘The probate solicitor said, “I presume you’ll use the money to pay off your mortgage?”’ says Abi. ‘I replied, “But that wouldn’t change my life.” Losing my mum had made me realise that time is short. I began asking questions such as, “Where am I going?” and, “What am I doing?” The panic and confusion were so overwhelming that I started to suffer from migraines, tiredness and insomnia. It was as if my body was screaming that things weren’t right.’

These feelings compelled Abi to step away from her teaching career and take off on a three-month journey across the Far East. When she returned, she embarked on a full-time MA in creative writing, during which her 25-year marriage collapsed.

‘I thought we were a good couple, and there was no lack of love on my side,’ she says. ‘But he saw me as being selfish and self-indulgent. He wanted me to keep doing what I’d always done. But after years of working in the same job, paying the mortgage and raising children, this felt like my last chance to put myself first. I felt that we didn’t need to be slaves to the house and its running costs any more; we could survive on less. My husband didn’t agree.’

Eight years on, the whirlwind is over. Abi lives in a rented flat while her husband remains in the family home. She works as a freelance writer and runs poetry workshops; however, her main income derives from her pension. ‘I love my flat and the way I spend my days, but I do think about what happened and wonder if it was worth all the pain,’ Abi says.

‘But the sense that things needed to change was all-consuming; I couldn’t ignore it. If I’d tried to, I’d have been eaten up with resentment for the rest of my life. I suddenly felt I was in the wrong life and time was running out.’

I woke up half way through my life and thought, ‘I’ve been doing it all wrong’

For many of us who haven’t experienced such a thing, the midlife crisis is a bit of a joke: the middle-aged man who has discovered Viagra and sped away from his family on a Harley-Davidson, or the menopausal woman, face frozen by Botox, trawling Tinder for a toyboy lover.

To be continued on Wednesday….
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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