Midlife is a unique and often challenging time in our lives. It has such a reputation that it’s often followed by the word “crisis.” There are a lot of reasons to feel discomfort and even distress during this time. A few common symptoms that cause distress are a drop- in hormone levels, hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances, which all fall under the category of menopause.
The term “menopause” is seldom celebrated. It is often greeted with an eye roll, much the way adolescence is. Menopause signifies the ending of reproductive fertility, but it ushers the beginning of fertility of a different sort; of ideas, creativity, and empowerment.
Midlife is a time of dramatic transition: until this time, many are on a trajectory of working harder than ever, raising children, and juggling work/life balance. There’s still so much time ahead of us until our mid 40’s that we have the luxury of being on our goal-directed autopilot. However, the balance gradually shifts; our children get older, our parents age and may start to ail at this time, and we begin to reassess our careers and our relationships with our partners and friends.
This is the time we often ask, “What about me? Am I doing what I want to do? Am I fulfilled? Does my life have meaning and purpose?”
We realize that we can’t have everything we hoped for when we were younger, and we may feel a lot of grief as we re-calibrate our expectations and let go of dreams that we will never fulfill.
There’s exciting news as well: This transition can lead to the greatest transformation in our lives.
As midlife starts, many describe themselves as having Grit, Courage, Confidence, and Creativity. It’s so freeing to have the agency to become the best version of ourselves.
This often-tumultuous time in our 40’s and early 50’s is an opportunity to see how resilient we can be as we move to the second half of life with acceptance and a deeper sense of freedom and empowerment.
So, this “storm” is truly a Portal, a doorway to some of the most satisfying, meaningful years of our lives.
That’s exciting news!
Jan Yaffe is a therapist and coach with more than 35 years of experience in private practice working with individuals, couples, and families. She has led numerous support groups and workshops on a variety of health and wellness issues, including managing stress, bereavement, illness, infertility, miscarriage, challenges of mid-life, and finding resilience. Jan’s education includes a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maryland and an M.Ed. in Counseling from Boston University. She has pursued postgraduate training in cognitive psychology and mindfulness. Jan strives to help individuals find happiness by shifting old perspectives and discovering new strengths and resilience. You can learn more about her here.