Is it just me, or is my seemingly insatiable search for meaning and fulfillment common to most midlife women? Of course I can only truly consider myself at the mid point in life if I intend to stick around until I am 118. 😳 What? It could happen! But I digress . . .
I have always been someone who dreams of more. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed performing in plays during my school years, and why I continued into college. Acting allowed me to try being different kinds of people doing different kinds of things, unlike many "grown up" jobs I have had, which quickly caused me to grow bored and become discontent. It wasn't until I began teaching back in 2000, that I found something I could stick with long term. But even now, I still dream of finding something that would provide a more personally fulfilling outlet for my interests and passions by which I could earn my income.
For example, my sister-in-law is an amazing baker and cake/cookie decorator, while my specialties are pies, breads and homemade soups. She and I have often fantasized about opening our own shop where people could come in and either buy yummies to take home, or sit and sip a good cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy a fresh-baked treat. Or both! I have seen it in my mind’s eye,
set squarely on the main street of my hometown up north, with windows
facing the thoroughfare. It would be our place to run as we want, season after season, becoming a fixture in the community. The reality of it is that the baking we love and enjoy could lose its luster by having to do it day in and day out, not to mention the constant focus on having to become and remain profitable.
In the last year, I have discovered a number of YouTube channels whose focus is beauty and skin care for mature women. Oddly, the YouTubers in this genre range in age from their 20s to their 60s. I relate more to the latter than the former. For a while I started thinking about how I could start a YouTube channel too and weigh in on the same topics while throwing in my own take on navigating this autumn season, which includes physical and familial changes. Our bodies begin morphing at a rate akin to puberty, but in not-so-pleasant ways. Children grow and leave the nest, creating their own independence; this is natural and needful. In time, grandchildren bring a new and amazing dynamic to the mix. And let’s not forget that our own parents, if we are fortunate enough to still have them, also redefine our life and purpose as we become the caretakers of our original caregivers.
While I have shelved the fantasy of having a YouTube channel, it is the desire to express my thoughts on these very topics, and others, that has led me back to my blog. So here I am. Writing to satisfy that force in me that begs for outlet. And, hopefully, to provide a bit of guiding wisdom born of experience for the autumn travelers who will find themselves in this very place long before they ever expected to.
For my peers and me, there were precious few voices speaking to us of what was ahead. We are the offspring of depression-era parents, who kept themselves to themselves for the most part. Theirs was not a generation that talked about their feelings. As a result, my generation has been figuring it out as we go. And unlike our parents, we talk about everything.
As one by one my children left home for the last time, I lost my sense of identity. I had no road map telling me which way to turn or what lay before me. My identity was firmly planted in motherhood, and while I was still a mother, I no longer had children who needed me as they once did. They went off to live their lives, which was as it should be. Couple that with the onset of menopause, and I experienced the perfect storm of tangled emotions and confusion. It has taken me almost a decade to find myself fully past the angst of those years. And now, there is a wealth I hope to share for the benefit of women who are beginning their own upheavals. Perhaps this can provide some insight to men as well, helping them to understand the women in their lives. I invite ladies and gentlemen alike to come along for the ride.
I look forward to every blog post, and hope you will feel free to add your own thoughts as well. We will learn from each other. I do hope we can encourage one another to live our best lives and be kind to ourselves as we do.
Until next time . . .