Bonjour, my reader friend. Welcome to the 78th issue of Midlife Cues, a weekly newsletter that explores the well-lived midlife. I appreciate you being here. Was this email forwarded to you? Thank the awesome person then sign-up for your copy here
THE MAIN THING …
Sooo, I’ve been confessing on the Second Breaks podcast.
I’ve been coming clean that me identifying as a mid-lifer is, you know, a fairly recent thing. Which sounds absurd because hello, I’ve been in midlife for a while!
It’s not so much that I was denying I was in midlife. It was more like I was ignoring the fact.
When I finally pulled my head out from the sand, I realized that part of this sub-conscious ignoring had to do with some unaddressed fears about aging. Plus some unreconciled ideas about what it’s “supposed to” feel and look like to be in my 50s.
In my teens, I looked to people in their 50s and 60s as folks who have achieved what they wanted to do in life. That they’ve earned it to be simply cruising and taking it easy from that point onwards.
I had this idea — no idea where it came from — that I needed to have climbed whatever mountain I wanted to climb by the time I get to 40… certainly before I hit 50! Or else 🥺
But I never thought about what came after I reached “the summit”. My vision stopped at reaching the highest point I could possibly get to. Who knew what would happen next?!
Not Slowing Down
My personal experience, however, proved to be quite different from my earlier ideas about what this journey would be like.
Lemme just say that when I hit 50, slowing down and cruising along was nowhere near what I had in mind.
Instead, my head was filled with insane ideas. I had decided to leave my stable corporate career to start something I could call my own. Having never done anything like this before, it sure felt crazy and unthinkable.
Thankfully, I soon discovered I was far from alone in this crazy lane. Loads of people in their 40s and 50s and 60s (and older even!) are doing different things. Experimenting. Venturing out beyond their comfort zones. Stretching. Growing.
And contrary to becoming invisible, they are stepping into the proverbial spotlight and taking up space.
This, I decided, is my kind of midlife.
Roses and Thorns
Let’s be practical though. It’s not all roses. Or rather, the roses come naturally with thorns.
Along with the great things, there are many “other things” we need to embrace in midlife. And some of the changes aren’t very pleasant. (Hot flashes, anyone?)
And as I alluded to earlier, there were a few unaddressed fears about aging lurking around. I imagine you might have one or two as well?
Which I think is understandable. It’s normal to have some fears anytime we’re getting into new territory. As with everything else, as long as we don’t freeze to the point of catatonic or do something we’d regret because of that fear, we’ll be okay.
Peeling the layers to understand my own fears, I saw they were (are) mainly around cognitive decline (my mom has mild dementia) and losing my fiercely cultivated independence as a result.
So for me, I’ve decided to address these fears by acknowledging them, to begin with, and doing everything I can to take care of my brain and keep it healthy and strong.
I’ve come to believe that every stage of our life is an adventure. Every mile comes with its own gifts and surprises and challenges and obstacles.
No one phase of life is easier or harder than the others — at least that’s not been my experience. And so with that, I embrace midlife in the same way that I embraced the other phases that came before. Maybe even more.
THIS, THIS, AND THAT
Here are but a few of the magazines I get as part of my Scribd subscription: The Atlantic, Inc. WellBeing, Fast Company, Creative NonFiction, Clean Eating, The Writer.
My subscription — which is less than Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited — gives me access to magazines, books, AND audiobooks. No need for a separate Audible account anymore. And you can read all of these on your smartphone or tablet.
Use this link for a 60-day trial period. Easy peasy.
- Nine Habits to Take You From Midlife Muck to Your Power Years. Five of these habits were the subject of the latest episode on Second Breaks where I dove in deeper and explored them with Sara Smeaton. Here’s the full list!
- Most of the time, we only hear of the big splashy midlife reinvention stories. But those are not the only kind of changes people are making. Often, it’s the small changes that we incorporate in our day-to-day that add up and create shifts. Here are 30 ideas for small changes that make a big difference after 50.
- While we’re on the subject… when we talk about change, we often are referring to changes we are making ourselves deliberately or the changes that are happening to our bodies. But what about the changes that are happening around us? We need to adapt to those too. Not only will the world around us keep changing, but we can count on it changing faster and faster. That’s not because we’re getting older. It’s the reality of the pace of change in the world we live in. How to Adapt to Change.
- “From zero to twenty-one is about eight thousand days. From twenty-one to midlife crisis is eight thousand days. From mid-forties to sixty-five—eight thousand days. Nowadays, if you make it to sixty-five you have a fifty-percent chance you’ll make it to eighty-five. Another eight thousand days! That’s no longer a trip to Disney and wait for the grandchildren to visit and die of the virus you get on a cruise. We’re talking about rethinking, redefining one-third of adult life! […] Why don’t we take that one-third and create new stories, new rituals, new mythologies for people as they age?” Can We Live Longer But Stay Younger?
- “Most people don’t think about how much their homes and environments impact their longevity, but the right environment can absolutely set you up for success. Here are some tips for creating a home environment that will nudge you to move more, help you eat wisely, and sleep soundly.” How to Design Your Home to Help You Move More, Eat Better and Sleep Soundly.
MULL IT OVER
“You do get to a certain point in life where you have to realistically, I think, understand that the days are getting shorter, and you can’t put things off thinking you’ll get to them someday. If you really want to do them, you better do them. […] So I’m very much a believer in knowing what it is that you love doing so you can do a great deal of it.” — Nora Ephron, from her book I Remember Nothing
TALK TO ME
What worries (worried) you about getting older? Hit ‘reply’ and let me know. I’d really love to hear from you!
YOU BELONG HERE
I am dedicating this space for the bold and brave MCues readers 🧡 If you’ve got a project — a podcast, a new website, a product, service, artwork, etc. — that you’d like to get featured here, hit ‘reply’ and tell me about it. I would love to support you!
REMEMBER THE TIME…
MTV is turning 40!
“Ladies and gentlemen, rock ‘n’ roll.” Those were the words spoken by Warner Cable executive John Lack on Aug. 1, 1981, at 12:01 am when MTV went on air for the very first time. It was accompanied by the image of an astronaut, modeled after Neil Armstrong, and an MTV flag planted on the moon’s surface.
Powering Up Our Midlife with Sara Smeaton
Coach and writer Sara Smeaton calls midlife our power years. And with good reason. “Midlife is a unique time in our life when we have the same amount of experience behind us as we have possibilities ahead of us. It can be the most powerful time of our life,” Sara explains in the latest episode of Second Breaks.
Sara and I explore five practical yet strong habits to develop so we make our midlife the best phase of our life.
your support means the world
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The discarding, donating, and boxing of things continue at chez Blaser.
My home is a veritable obstacle course. It’s the classic “It’ll get worse before it gets better” scenario.
I have just under 4 weeks left here and then the travel begins.
A new adventure awaits. Not slowing down for sure.
Here’s to a joyful and easeful week ahead.