Suddenly, You’re a Woman Over 40

It is said that many women over 40 go through a midlife crisis, however, I would argue it’s more of a midlife metamorphosis.

Growing up, you had it all mapped out, from your marital status to the number of children you would have to your accomplished career. It wasn’t even a question. You were certain of where you’d be when you turned 40. 

But, then life happened. And it had other plans involving detours, transfers and u-turns until one day you wake up, and it hits you. You’re over 40. And it’s not what you expected. 

When did it all begin?

What happened? Where did it all veer off course?  

Was it in your teenage years when you saw conforming as your only way to acceptance? 

What was more important than being accepted by your peers? 

Was it in your 20s when you tired of playing the game of acceptance, threw caution to the wind and lived carefree from job to job, town to town and lover to lover, trying to find your place in the grown-up world?

Or, was it in your 30s when you decided to hunker down and focus on building your professional resume and chase the dream that most people in their 30s chase—marriage and children.

As you ponder you cannot pinpoint one discernible moment when things shifted and your childhood sureties started slipping away.  

“To be,” or “not to be”

What do you want to be when you grow up? How many times did you hear this as a child, teenager and even young adult? The answer wasn’t “living happily by the beach where I can meditate, read and go for long walks each day.” The expected answer was something to do with finding an identity through how you were going to make money.

Do we live to work or do we work to live?

We were taught at a very early age to dream of a career. Not a lifestyle, a career. And then we were expected to commit to it moving forward with all of our focus set on a career with little to no thought about the life we want to live. Are we happy? Nah. But we do it because this is what one does, right? Even as things change around us, we stick to the lofty ideas and dreams we had when we were 10 years old.

From careers to revenue streams

When I was 10, if you would’ve told me that in 30 years, people could make millions by filming videos of themselves and uploading it to a thing called the internet, I would have said you were crazy.

The world has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. That trend is showing no signs of stopping. In fact, it’s picking up pace. New technologies and, therefore, careers are created every single day. Is it so bad that our wants change accordingly?

Here you are now at 40. Looking backwards and forwards and every other direction, your mind releases a barrage of how, why, and what questions. How did I get here? Why did I make the decisions I made? What if I went down a different path? And the list goes on and on and on. 

Hello 40s, hello self-reflection

You’ve heard women say they’re at their best in their 40s. This idea is somewhat difficult to swallow in the anti-aging world we live in, but you think, “Sure.”

Then you arrive. Straight off the heels of your full-steam-ahead 30s, you arrive in your fifth decade. And things start to shift. You can’t quite explain it, but things are different. And you get it. 

It’s not about anti-aging, (though you’re all about the newest thing to keep those wrinkles at bay) it’s about pro-growth. It’s an awakening. You begin a period of self-reflection far different than any other time prior.

In the decades prior, you felt less in control of your path. You weren’t quite sure of anything. Clarity was a word you knew, but not intimately. Now, in your 40s, you feel empowered, sure-footed and in complete control of your journey. (Well, in as complete control as one can be in life.) And you enter a promising friendship with the once evasive clarity.  

“Am I happy?” you ask yourself. Are you? Are you actually happy or are you complacent and calling it close enough? 

For such a simple question that requires an equally simple answer, the road to get from one to the other is anything but simple. You find yourself going back and forth in deliberation. One minute it’s undoubtedly “yes” and the next it’s unequivocally “no.” Then you end up with “sometimes” and eventually land on “I don’t know.” Because really, how does one know? 

How do you quantify or measure happiness? 

You edit the question and ask yourself if you could be happier. The answer to this question comes swiftly and without doubt. Yes. Yes, you could be happier.  

The big surge

How do you become happier? What does that look like in your life? What changes are required? You decide all of it. You ditch your career for another, start a side hustle, take up a new hobby, part ways with a lover, have a baby, travel the world, and start a blog.

You feel a surge, a second wind if you will. Your focus is on living your best life—mind, body and soul.

You’re ready to seek out version 2.0 of yourself and hop on the path leading to the new and improved you with all the bells and whistles.

Embracing the new you

You wake up one day and suddenly you are over 40, your beautiful glorious 40s filled with change and liberation. You free yourself from the expectations placed on you by both yourself and others.  

Go ahead, ask yourself the tough questions and let your answers be nothing but the truth. Grant yourself permission to explore the real you. And don’t let anyone get in your way.

With every midlife metamorphosis comes change. Check out 8 ways to improve your life.

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2 Comments

  1. I have to say that I feel like you’re in my head sometimes. I’ve felt like that when I was in my 40’s but even now in my 50’s, I continue to ask myself the same questions, “What am I doing to show a difference in my life?”, “what can I do to continuously improve myself” or better yet, “am I truly happy in my life right now?” Growing up in the United States mounts a picture in our minds about how life should be and what could possibly make us happier.

    1. Barbara, the fact that you’re asking yourself those questions means you’re on the right path. The next step is to plan your life and be sure to stick to your plan with a daily planner. You’ve got this.

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