A pep talk for middle-aged women going through menopause and beyond. Find out how to change the change, dream big, and get your time back.
Okay, so I do daring things, I admit that. I like to have fun. My husband doesn’t like that part of me I guess. I scare him. I don’t mean to, it just happens. Ever since we went to Niagara Falls back when we were young newlyweds, I scared the living daylights out of him by stepping on the edge of a railing to take a picture.
I’ve never lived it down and he’s never trusted me in similar situations. I don’t blame him, but in my defense, the rail I stood on some thirty years ago at Niagara Falls wasn’t the only thing between me and a giant waterfall. There was a second railing, and of course I wouldn’t step up on that. I’m not that crazy.
But my husband doesn’t see it that way. He’s afraid of heights and it’s understandable that it bothers him when I do questionable things. I don’t mean to torture him so much.
One of those times happened at the back of the ship during our cruise to Alaska a few years ago. We were all dressed up after having a lovely meal in the dining room, celebrating our anniversary. We had some time to kill before the Starlight Lounge opened for the evening performance, so we went out on the promenade deck that wrapped around the entire ship. I loved that deck, and of course the back of the ship was the most daring.
We ventured off there, or should I say, I pulled my reluctant husband by the hand and he had no choice but to follow a crazy woman like me. I wanted to see the motors churning up the sea. It was refreshing and invigorating, not to mention an adrenaline rush, but not so much for my husband.
He was worried.
“Oh c’mon,” I told him, “don’t be such a big baby.”
But he just peeked over the rail for a minute and then clung to the wall. I, on the other hand, loved it. Not only did I love it, I bent over the rail and took pictures and videos. Never at any time did I risk my life or stand on the rail though, just to be clear. I would never be so silly.
After taking pictures, I wanted to do one thing. I had always wanted to twirl around in a full skirt on the deck of a ship like Marilyn Monroe. I don’t know why. Call it a crazy childhood fantasy, or just some crazy whim, but I did it.
I stood there at the stern of the ship, against the backdrop of a magnificent ocean sunset, and twirled my heart out despite my poor husband’s fear that I was going to suddenly plummet to my death on our first cruise.
I feel bad now because I worried my husband, but it was also exhilarating. I did something I always wanted to do. That to me is worth the risk, albeit a low risk, but you know what I mean. I looked at it as an opportunity to be adventurous. I love adventure and hope I never lose that urge to live and be crazy and laugh and find adventure wherever I am, no matter how old I am.
I want to live a full life and see my dreams come true. And I don’t want to just dream; I want to dream BIG. I believe Marilyn Monroe dreamed big. She achieved her goals of being a famous actress even though her life didn’t end well. That part is sad. But she represents the pursuit of dreams and a chance to give life all that you can, especially with her famous shot of her dress blowing up as she stood above a subway grating on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan so many years ago. Sure it wasn’t a twirl, but I’d always envisioned it as one when I was a child and wanted to try it.
What girl wouldn’t?
I don’t ever want to stop having fun, living with my whole heart, and challenging myself daily. I want to twirl like there was no tomorrow because after all, we are not guaranteed a single day. God doesn’t owe us a thing. I always tell myself that it’s the other way around. I owe my life to God!
And so, this is my legacy. When I get to the pearly gates someday and I’m asked what I did with my life, I want to be able to say I lived! I made the best of what I had. I loved, and laughed, and enjoyed my life to the fullest! I wasn’t afraid to dream and to watch those dreams come true.
I just want to encourage everyone out there to never give up on your dreams no matter what your circumstance. LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH as the saying goes. Do what makes you happy!
Often times as middle-aged women, we forget to pursue our dreams. We forget to add ourselves to the list. Heck, we forget to put ourselves ON the list. We’ve spent our entire lives taking care of everyone else’s needs that we don’t even recognize our own anymore.
Don’t do that!
Take time to dream again.
Find your passion!
Remember who you are!
If you don’t know, spend some time finding out. It isn’t easy as we get old, become grandparents, go through menopause and see our bodies change. Sometimes menopause flips a switch and we don’t recognize ourselves anymore, but that little girl is still inside of us.
She used to be wide eyed and full of joy, eager to start a new adventure.
Start a new adventure!
Don’t let life’s many burdens get you down. If we let our debt consume us, we’d never even get out of bed. If we let our feelings get the best of us, we’d hide in our homes and never come out. If we let our aging appearance get us down, we’d never have the confidence to make friends.
And speaking of making friends, do we even do that anymore?
Perhaps we’re too busy to find time to make friends. Maybe all you do is get up, go to work, come home, clean the house, make supper, go to bed, and do the same thing all over the next day. That, my friend, is going through the motions.
Find a way out of that. Get a plan!
A plan is a dream! Do you want to be in the same place as you are right now, ten years down the road? If that is a yes, then good for you. But if it’s a no, then you must – I repeat, you MUST do something different in your life.
Often times, middle-aged women are the busiest people on the planet. Most of the population thinks that young mothers are the busiest. Well, we know they are busy. We’ve been there. We know the struggle. But it’s different than middle-age.
Young mothers, or at least a lot of them, are able to be at home more than middle-aged women. Sure, they are busy taking care of kids, and they need encouragement too. But for the most part, they are in control of their time if they are a stay-at-home mom. If they work as well, then that’s a whole other story. That is difficult.
But for all intents and purposes, and because this is a menopause site, I want to address the older woman’s struggle. I don’t want to belittle any woman’s struggle, not younger women, middle-aged women, or seniors. What I want to do is help us all put ourselves back on the list.
Middle-aged women in particular struggle with time. Unlike the younger version of ourselves who generally have an abundance of time available, middle-age women have it stolen away.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. Though young women are busy, raising kids, doing laundry, cooking cleaning, THEY control when they do the dishes (even though they don’t think they do). They control when they put their toddler to bed. They control when they make supper, clean the house, etc. Do you understand what I am saying?
They have more time, though they don’t even know it. Unless they work full time, they control their time. As I said before, the story is completely different for working mothers. That can lead to burnout very quickly and is a whole other topic.
My point is that no boss, or company, is dictating when a young mother can take her child to the doctor when she’s sick, tuck her in to bed, or go on a family vacation. A boss isn’t holding you back from taking care of your family if you’re a stay-at-home mom. Even if you have a part-time job when you’re a young mom, there is still some control over how you spend your time.
Please don’t get me wrong in what I’m saying. I’m not demeaning a young mom’s struggle, because believe me, I have been there raising my own three children and I know what it’s like. My perspective comes from the stay-at-home mom’s perspective because that’s what I was. It comes from the differences I discovered between my younger self and older self.
Once again, young moms who work full time need a special hug. I don’t know how they do it. I worry about that young working mom, and how she will struggle later on in life with health issues when she gets to middle-age and goes through menopause. The effects of long term stress on the body is no joke!
But that’s a different topic altogether.
As I compare my younger self with my older self, I realize the main difference between the two is ‘time’, and who controls it. Even though I thought I didn’t have enough time to do everything I wanted when I was a young mom, at least I didn’t have an employer telling me when I could sit down for a meal or go to the bathroom. There was still that factor that allowed me to control my own time even with screaming kids and a demanding husband thrown into the mix.
There’s a saying about middle-aged women that explains a lot. Without us, the world would fall apart. To be blunt, middle-aged women run the world. It’s true!
If you look a the majority of major corporations, you will see that the company’s backbone rests on women in their 40’s and 50’s. It’s odd, but true. And I’ve talked to many middle-aged women who say the same thing. They run the show!
Young women are hard workers too. I’m not saying they aren’t. But from the perspective of upper management, they always consider how long a woman will be working with them, given age and family life. Reality is, young women take maternity leave.
Don’t beat me up. That’s the truth! They have children, and that is their right. Maternity leave is a reality in the workplace, and so it should be. But who fills the gap when they are away? Nine times out of ten, it’s the middle-aged women busting her butt, doing overtime, causing a non-existent social life or home work imbalance.
That, my dear friends, is us!
Even though we’ve gone through challenges during our younger child-bearing years, causing our bodies to become big saggy messes, we still muster up the energy and strength to fill the gap at work when the younger women go on mat leave, and call in sick multiple times either for a sick child or for themselves. We become the unintentional hero. Why? Because we always have been. We do it well, but we forget we aren’t as strong as we used to be.
And we usually crash when we get home because of it.
Comatose is the better word. But we do it all without a second thought because we give no consideration to our own hardships, challenges, and limitations.
Because we older women are still moms, and that’s what moms do.
It’s a learned behavior we just can’t shake.
Even with the many challenges mid-life brings, we still think we have to save the day.
People don’t realize many mid-lifers are already stressed with aging or sick elderly parents. Some are even full time caregivers to them. Some are even raising their own grandchildren, or full time babysitters for them. To those people I say, bravo! That takes a lot of time and energy, and most do it with a smile and no regret! After all, we do love our families, and wouldn’t have it any other way!
But our struggles are real, and for the most part, go unnoticed.
We struggle with our own aging or sick bodies, debt, and menopause. We struggle with hot-flashes at the most embarrassing times, empty nest syndrome, emotional instability due to hormone changes, brain fog, and a myriad of other menopause symptoms.
Yes, the challenges middle-aged women face are innumerable and yet we still rush in to fill the gap at work, becoming powerhouses for our companies.
And management knows it.
A lot of employers actually look for seasoned women to fill positions because they look for long-term stability, and those with high productivity. That’s us. Not because we’re better than our younger selves, but because we rush in to fill the gap without a second thought.
We know how to take care of a family because we’ve done it for so long. Some of us may have even raised 4-6 kids or more, and that makes us excellent multi-taskers.
Every employers dream!
We’re like a hot commodity. And why? Because we put ourselves last. And to an employer, that means we’re great for business. We will give them 150% of ourselves.
And we do!
And because we do, our time gets stolen, sucked out of underneath us because we give our all to our jobs and fill in the gap when we’re short-staffed, or someone is sick or on maternity leave. We care too much!
In the end, little by little, we lose the ability to control our time. Everyone else controls it instead! THAT is the difference between our younger selves raising kids, and our older selves now. I know you can relate and understand exactly what I’m talking about.
Speaking from experience, and never seeming to be in control of my own time, has woken me up to the importance of saying no. A foreign concept to me because I’ve spent a lifetime saying yes to everyone else instead of myself. I realize now, the outcome wasn’t so great for me.
Mid-life does that to you.
You start to evaluate your life, and when you do, you realize the importance of time, and being in control of it.
My friend, this is your wake-up call, and it’s mine as well. Stop being the go-to gal. Stop being Wonder Woman for everyone. Stop putting yourself last. Stop giving your time up for everyone else and leaving nothing for yourself. Stop going through the motions!
Start dreaming again!
Start making yourself important! Leave room for hobbies and things that make your happy. Start having fun again! Take time to smell the roses and live your life the way you want.
It’s time for YOU!
As we age, we become more self-aware, so BE self-aware. Do what makes you happy. Life is too short to go through it negative and miserable.
Being positive and grateful for everything you have is the best way to start. And when you do that, you will begin to live and enjoy middle-age. If you do this, the likelihood of becoming an old bitter seniors later on, will be very minimal.
My advice is to pamper yourself, especially during menopause.
Middle-age and menopause is such a weird time in our lives. It’s almost like the reverse version of puberty. It’s awkward! It’s ugly! It’s uncomfortable and embarrassing! It’s a topic nobody wants to talk about, so we suffer in silence. Most of us gals feel like our entire world has turned upside-down.
But there is hope.
The hope is that you are not alone.
Dream big my friends!
Put yourself first, and learn to stand up for yourself, and get your time back. Dream! And become that woman you always wanted to be.
And when you do, don’t just keep it to yourselves. Grab someone’s else’s hand. Help a struggling woman find her way. Teach your daughters that life will change.
Teach them about the change.
And then CHANGE the change!
Have an AMAZING day!
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