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Conquer 5 Midlife Crises & Be Fabulous
When you’re young, you can’t really imagine the ages of 50, 60, or 70 being “cool.” But bestselling author and speaker Marianne Williamson says it takes that long to understand what cool really means. In this advice based on her new book The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife, Williamson talks about how to triumph over five common catalysts for a midlife crisis — and find yourself happy, at peace, and fabulously cool.
Attitudinally, midlife is extremely different today than ever before. The survival of humanity used to rest solely on our ability to create more children; today, it rests just as much on our ability to create more wisdom.
The world desperately needs some sane grown-ups to take charge now. How interesting that this is exactly what we're becoming. We’ve chased meaningless goals for so long, but now we're seeing what needs to be done to save the world — and whatever it is, we yearn, and intend, to do it.
But how you choose to experience midlife is up to you. You don't have to be young to be fabulous, yet you have to be willing to burn through some entrenched social attitudes and reach for a higher possibility. You have to consciously let go of thoughts like "I'm over the hill," "It's too late for me" if you want to break through to a new kind of midlife experience.
Midlife Challenge #1: Aging is harder for women than for men.
A man with a little grey in his hair just starts to look more sexy and all that. American women are beginning to understand what the French have known forever: Aging doesn't have to make us less attractive. As we open our minds to the notion that fifty, sixty, seventy can still be vital, fun, even sexy years, then the energy released by that thought begins to change the way we experience the process.
Midlife Challenge #2: Once you’re a certain age, your options are limited.
Our options aren't limited so much as they're simply not the same as they used to be. At midlife, some things are no longer possible; but a lot of other things are possible for the first time. Whatever opportunities might have been afforded you by youth, think how often you sabotaged those opportunities because your soul or your psyche was such a mess.
Now you might not have as much physical power, but you have more spiritual, emotional, psychological power. You have the power that comes from having lived and learned. You learned from your failures as much as your successes. My father used to say you have to take the good with the bad. And by fifty or so, you probably have.
Midlife Challenge #3: Sex and romance tend to wane with age.
Sometimes it's when the urge for sex becomes a little less desperate, that the desire for love becomes much more pure. Someone once asked me how it felt to be in the autumn of my life as a woman. I said, "Well, I don't have as many leaves anymore, but I have a whole lot more colors." My arms aren't as shapely as they used to be, but I know a whole lot more about what I should be doing with them. My body has slowed down, but my soul is just revving up.
Midlife Challenge #4: Baby boomers aren’t as well prepared for midlife as their parents were.
Yes, because we had the longest post-adolescence in the history of the world. Our parents' generation matured more quickly than we did. They got on with things. But we stayed a very long time at the party of our youth. We're catching up late, but we are definitely catching up. Maturity is almost a new buzz.
Being mature, really mature — emotionally, intellectually, socially … all of a sudden it's like, "Hey, this isn't so bad! It's kind of cool!" Who knew?
Midlife Challenge #5: Midlife often brings a lot of disappointment and regret.
By their forties, most people have begun to experience at least one or two of the Big Disappointments: divorce, illness, addiction, financial ruin, etc.
But you come to realize that life isn't about never falling down. We all fall down at some point or another, because it's a fallen world. But spiritual victory is about who gets back up, and how. Falling down isn't the end of the story, unless you allow it to be. Sometimes those disappointing, painful situations you go through are things that make you ultimately stronger, more humble, more good.
There are also things we did that we wish we hadn't done, and things we didn't do that we wish we had done. But when we take a good, hard look at how we contributed to our disasters — and God knows, that's not always easy — then something extraordinary happens, when you admit your errors and are willing to learn from them. You become even more beautiful than you were before.
Based on The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife by Marianne Williamson. Interview republished with permission of Hay House.