Chapter 8

 

Starting Over

 

Human beings have an inalienable right to reinvent themselves; when that right is pre-empted it is called brain washing.
—Germaine Greer

 

Starting over in midlife is about finding the openings between the lines that seem to define our lives, the white space upon which one can imprint long-cherished dreams, restore one’s soul, or reach for the stars. Starting over is about coloring outside the lines; doing new things or doing the same things differently.

 

There are no statistics for this phenomenon, no way to gather all the relevant information and evaluate how and why women, more often in midlife than at any other time, make certain choices that result in reinventing themselves.

 

What we do know is that in North America, a woman’s life expectancy is now 30 years longer than it was in 1900. That’s a generation longer. Consequently, in midlife, we can be looking forward to as many years ahead of us as we’ve already left behind. This extension of life has crept up on us, has opened new pathways and presented a fresh set of challenges and questions that may take some time to figure out. Can we have it all? Do we really want it all? What is all?

 

These are all weighty questions to which we are, and probably will be for some time, searching for answers. In the meantime, we are pushing the boundaries of life as our mothers knew it and are faced with a feast of variables which in their day would have been both unthinkable and impracticable, such as having a second child at 40-plus at the same time as grandmotherhood through the first child. Then there are relationship combinations that can make heads spin with confusion, from “my nest is empty but my new partner’s is full” to two or three sets of step-children with whom various degrees of connectivity are maintained. And let us not forget career paths, keeping healthy, looking good (which usually means looking younger), caring for parents, and on and on. Little wonder that at some point we cry, “Enough!”

 

At that point, as one of my patients puts it, we start to repack our transparent suitcase—transparent because we and others can see the contents, which are constantly being rearranged and reviewed. In other words, there’s a strong instinct for self-preservation that makes us review what we do and how we do it; and because we are no longer 25, there is a sense of perspective and, hopefully, a wisdom that governs that review. The subsequent changes we make can have enormous impact on our mental and physical health and on our souls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

" Middle age used to be a 
waiting room;
Now, it's a supermarket."
--Dr. Jean Marmoreo

The New Middle Ages is filled with the insights and compassion to navigate the middle years.

Such as:

Your body and menopause
Recharging your sex drive
Taking care of your heart
Parenting your parents
The roller coaster of raising teens
Starting a new relationship
The mini mental health exam
Changing jobs

 

The New Middle Ages is filled with the insights and compassion to navigate the middle years.

Such as:

- Your body and menopause
- Recharging your sex drive
- Taking care of your heart
- Parenting your parents
- The roller coaster of raising teens
- Starting a new relationship
- The mini mental health exam
- Changing jobs

 

"Middle age used to be a waiting room;

Now it's a supermarket"
--Dr. Jean Marmoreo

Dr. Jean

Marmoreo

 

Doctor. Writer. Athlete.

Advocate. Adventurer.