Oh, how I dislike the term “midlife crisis.” Hell, my entire life has been made up of mini-crises over the years. The only difference now is I am able to recognize and confront them in a more practical sense. I’m not enticed to attend a male strip club, strut about in leggings or dye my hair multiple shades of pink. After reading Xaviera Hollander’s book in the mid-70’s, Fifty Shades of Grey seems mundane. I wouldn’t refuse a nice little red convertible though.
The phrase “midlife crisis” was concocted by a male psychiatrist in the 1960’s as a way to categorize men primarily, as going through a somewhat depressed, unsatisfied, self-reflective stage (think Tom Ewell in The Seven Year Itch or Dudley Moore in Ten). Men and women alike experience significant life changes and go through moments of self-discovery. It’s through these changes that we grow stronger.
Caring for my family has been my main priority however I now give greater urgency toward examining my health status and earning potential. I am more concerned with protecting my physical and financial situation than I am with getting a weekly mani/pedi or flirting with a buff personal trainer. (Fortunately, I still embrace my spirited side!) In an effort to properly secure independence as we age, we must take necessary precautions while we’re young. My parents were from the old school where they believed it was perfectly fine for the boys to attend college, but it wasn’t necessary for the girls. Our responsibility should be to our families (assuming all of us would marry). After high school, I was employed full-time and took whatever professional training classes I felt would help me achieve greater success in my positions. It was only in my late 30’s, with a toddler at home, that I decided to get my college degree which has been one of my greatest personal achievements. Thankfully, many mature women are following a similar path today.
While I have managed to attain educational success, I don’t quite have what most would consider a career, yet. This is why reinvention is important. In the midst of coping with exorbitant food and gas prices, high unemployment rates and a weakened housing market, I’m taking time to examine my strengths and make them work for me. Think about how to market yourself. Everyone has strengths; they just need to be revealed.
The reason I find reinvention so essential is that I don’t want my family members to have to take care of me in my old age. If my spouse passes, am I financially prepared to properly care for myself? Between housing and living expenses, health costs and taxes, can I afford to live independently? If not, I must make immediate changes. What I would encourage all women to do, whether married or single, with or without children, working or unemployed, is to take an honest look at their finances. While health is very important, sufficient income can help pay for operations and medications you might otherwise be unable to afford. The future of our economy is tenuous. If you haven’t already done so, challenge yourselves to get your finances in order, seeking assistance if necessary. I’ve seen women dear to me suffer serious financial shortfalls due to insufficient planning and it’s heartbreaking.
The good news is there is an abundance of free information and assistance out there for those who need help with medical resources, financial planning, housing, continuing education, occupational training and so forth. Those of us without unlimited funds, newly single, unemployed or in poor health can help one another achieve success without stress if we start adequately planning for our future TODAY. Hindsight is 20/20 and it’s time to take action so we can hold our heads high and maintain our independence well into our golden years. I for one am back in school and in the process of rediscovery as we speak. I find it exhilarating. The possibilities are endless. What mid-life crisis? I have no time to wallow in self-pity, frustration or disappointment. Today is the first day of the rest of my life and it’s going to be great!
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” Norman Vincent Peale