This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from my links, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
Let’s get real. Why exactly are the midlife years called a “crisis”? Why are the midlife years associated with something so negative. A crisis is defined as, “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger”. Its synonyms are: emergency, disaster, catastrophe, and calamity, to name a few.
I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled to be in my
40’s! I’m happier now than I was in my 20’s and 30’s! Sure, when I was younger, I had more energy, and less aches and pains, but there’s no reason why I can’t have plenty
of energy and few aches and pains during my midlife years. Who says it has to be a time of crisis? Society? Screw society!
Issues Associated With Midlife
Let’s take a look at what women go through during these years, physically. We have night sweats, hot flashes, crazy periods, insomnia, fatigue, changes in sex drive, weight gain, urinary urgency, aches and pains in muscles and joints, and dry skin. And what about mentally, and emotionally? Well, we may experience forgetfulness, anxiety, depression, mood swings, and irritability. That’s a lot to deal with! Luckily we don’t all experience all of these symptoms. For example, my only physical symptom that I’m having a hard time with is night sweats. This could change, of course, but for now, that’s my biggest physical issue. And I’d say the main mental/emotional issue is forgetfulness for me.
Create Your Goals
But I do not, I will not, I freaking refuse, to accept that I’m going through a midlife “crisis”! Why? The following is a list of things I have discovered and/or goals I have for myself as I age.
- First of all, I have so much more time to myself now that my kids are older. Even though I’m going through some minor symptoms at this point, I now have the time to take better care of myself. If you’re 40-something and have a small child, like my sister does, I truly commend you, because that shit isn’t easy in your 20’s and 30’s, forget about having little ones in your 40’s! Still, you must take care of yourself.
- I have discovered many hobbies that I love participating in. It’s still tough to find time for those because I have many interests, and I do still have a pre-teen and a teen to get to and from activities. But I definitely make sure I get some of my own hobby time in the mix. Lately, I’ve been taking horseback riding lessons to get back into the sport.
- Weight gain was an issue for me several years ago, as I was going through my late 30’s, but that, in my opinion, had a lot more to do with my bad diet than perimenopause. Yes, our bodies change as we enter midlife, and yes, we can’t pack away the food like we could when we were 20, but guess what? I don’t care if you’re young, middle-aged, or a senior, you can’t be eating garbage and expect it not to affect you. Crappy food will also contribute to worsening menopausal symptoms.
- The fourth thing I’ve learned, and probably most important, is that I absolutely must accept what is happening to my body. And I absolutely must take care of myself if I want to not only be around to see my grandchildren grow up, but so I can run around and play with them! I want to have the energy to play, and run, and teach them about our farm, how to ride a horse…you know…all of the fun stuff that nana’s and papa’s get to do!
Achieve Your Goals
- I will continue to purposely make time for myself so I can pursue my hobbies. I love to paint, sew, knit, cook, bake, make puzzles, and ride horses! I tend to go through periods in which I’m painting more than anything, or knitting more than anything, but I’m always pursuing at least two of those interests at any given time. And I go horseback riding once a week, at least, sometimes more. This takes care of both 1 and 2, above.
- Maintaining a healthy relationship with my husband is extremely important to me. It is not ok with me to get comfortable and content. That’s not enough for me, or my husband. We both are very open with each other about our feelings, and about what we want our relationship to be. This is super, super important, people! Don’t let yourselves get unhappy before you realize that you’re unhappy! Communicate!
- While our bodies will naturally go through some changes as we age, there is absolutely no reason why we have to be unhappy with ourselves and our midlife bodies! Our biggest enemy…everyone’s biggest enemy…is sugar! Stay away from the damn sugar! This is imperative! It has been linked to, not only weight gain, but so many other health problems. You just don’t need that drama in your life!
- Acceptance. How the hell do we handle this? I mean, acceptance doesn’t always come easily. It takes practice, but it’s essential. You need to accept that you can’t change the fact that you’re getting older. However, we can change how we deal with the changes. We can watch what we eat, and exercise in order to keep our minds and bodies healthy. We can maintain healthy relationships with our significant others, and our friends. We can ensure that time is spent by ourselves do anything we want. Pursue your hobbies, take a nap, go for a walk, play with your dog. Whatever you enjoy doing, do it! Do not allow yourself to get sucked in by what your friends or family want or “need” from you. They won’t get the best you if you aren’t taking care of yourself. So just do it! When we do these things, we’re accepting midlife. Don’t dwell on the negatives.
- My final piece of advice is this: do not give more of yourself than you have the energy for, and do not give more of yourself to others who aren’t willing to have a fairly equal give and take relationship with you. Even when my kids want something from me, I ask them how they plan on earning my time. They’re older now, and it’s important to me that they learn and understand that there needs to be a healthy give and take. Luckily, my daughter’s are super awesome and already know how to show me that they appreciate the extra time I spend doing things for them that I don’t necessarily have to spend. I’m also very open and honest with them, and have taught them that my time is my time and not to come asking me for anything when I’m busy doing things I want to do. I have explained that, as a mother, a wife, and a woman, I need to have some alone time in order to be able to take care of them. This has made me a better mom, and has made my girls more empathetic, and sympathetic to other’s needs.
Listen carefully – This is not a crisis! Midlife, menopause, whatever…this is an amazing time in our lives! But you must approach these changes with a positive frame of mind. You have to accept that the unpleasant physical and mental changes are going to happen and then take the best care of yourself that you can! This will help you transition through midlife, and into the senior years with less health problems, less stress, and you’ll have so much more fun! I mean, seriously, once those kids are grown, you have no one to take care of but yourself! You’re free to do anything you want!
My husband and I are pursuing our dream of owning a farm. We both will turn 41 this year, and have so much ambition! We can’t wait to adopt new babies into our family…just no more human babies! *wink* It’s never too late to pursue a dream!
Related Article: Making Choices, Saying “No”, and Taking Care of Yourself