I’ve been steeped in the “birthing” of my program for midlife women, Ignited Women for several months now- often wondering if I would really ever make it happen or if I just let it fade away. What came to me clearly the other day is that I have a deep passion to connect with women in the transition to midlife and it’s my true gift to the world.
I’ve heard of far too many women who look at this time of their lives as the beginning of the end-when in reality, it can be the beginning of a very powerful and transformational time in our lives.
We have somewhat of a well-defined roadmap for our lives for the first 50 years- childhood where we are greatly influenced by the adults in our lives, early adulthood when we are figuring out what we are going to do and are focused on learning and breaking free from the adults in our lives. Then we settle into our 30s and 40s- a time for perhaps raising a family, building a career, honing our skills.
Then we are thrust into midlife where not only are there tons of physical changes happening in our bodies and minds but also we naturally start assessing our lives and defining how or if we have been successful.
I didn’t even recognize this transition fully in myself- I just kept going on like I was still 30 years old. I was striving and focused on building my career and making money for retirement which still seemed so far down the road. Yet I started to notice that I didn’t have the willingness or the physical stamina to go for it so relentlessly for my career. I hid my feelings figuring that I just needed to suck it up and that it would pass.
I had always been an active and vibrant adult, racing triathlons, marathons, snowboarding and having a long-term committed yoga and meditation practice. I was surrounded by fit women younger than me and did feel like I belonged for a long while.
Around my mid-forties though, I started feeling envious of their endurance and beauty and began backing away from my passions for fear I’d be pushed away because I couldn’t keep up or that I wouldn’t be accepted because my unique life challenges that came with aging.
I felt really alone in my process. I waffled back and forth between giving in to the deep grounding force that was telling me to just fade into the background and not worry so much about my looks, my health, or my significance in the world. I thought I needed to cut my hair short, dress more conservatively, become more subdued in my manner and thoughts– start acting like my perception of an older woman. I thought that no one would notice the change-it’s what’s expected of me.
I felt I was losing my value as a person just because of being a middle aged woman.
I kept seeking connection and vibrancy through personal development trainings, women’s groups and deep inner work. I would only go so far with what I would reveal though because I saw myself as different and separate from what others were doing. I wanted to fit in, to feel a part of something bigger than me but I didn’t know how.
I noticed that among my dearest friends that are close to my age that we just don’t really talk about what we’re going through. Maybe it would be a passing comment on how our cycles are getting irregular or commiserating over other menopause maladies like weight gain, insomnia or poor sleep, or pesky aches and pains. We rarely took a deeper look at how we wanted to feel or what our dreams were for the next half of our lives.
I could spout on about how the perception of midlife women as disposable or invisible in our society is due to men being in charge and women not having a voice or not taking our voice out there but that’s not really it for me.
I’m about creating a strong sisterhood of midlife women and inspiring us to get BOLD, be BRAVE and claim our true gifts and offer them graciously to the world. I see all of the wisdom we’ve honed through our lives and I want that to influence how we are and what we do for the last big phase of our lives. No more clinging to outdated beliefs about ourselves; let’s figure out what’s important to us and let go of the rest- there just isn’t time for it anymore!
My own journey led me to realize how I hid behind my limiting belief that I just wasn’t worthy of love or belonging unless I was doing something for someone else. I now experience myself and the world differently. I laugh easier, I communicate more open and honestly, I forgive myself sooner and I don’t take things nearly as personally as I used to. I now stand more firmly in my divineness for just being me and I gotta say it feels good! It was a long slow journey for me and I really wish that I didn’t have to do it alone.
I envision a thriving community of midlife women sharing our stories and wisdom and showing up fully to support each other along the way. Let’s do this together! The time is now.
Beth Nelson is an inspiration and leader for women who are ready to awaken into the fullest version of themselves at midlife and leave a meaningful impact on the world. As a Women’s Midlife Mentor, confused and disengaged women in their 50s and 60s hire her to build the necessary confidence to reinvent themselves and create a life full of passion, purpose and authenticity.