Monday, April 12, 2010

Are You Having a "Female Midlife Crisis"?

I stumbled across an article this morning that was entitled “Drinking too much? Feeling worthless? Obsessively shopping? You could be having a FEMALE midlife crisis”…The topic was one of interest to me because I went through many changes as I crossed the midlife threshold. The title, however, didn’t describe my midlife crisis at all. I read on anyway. The writer described a variety of situations in which women suddenly found themselves at a crossroad somewhere between the age of 39 and 49 that had a noticeable impact on their lives. We’ve all talked incessantly about men’s midlife crises, and now women have the honor. Perhaps this is the end result of the women’s lib of the 60’s.

Transition and change are a very real part of life. Some are bigger than others and garner a more significant outcome. The female “midlife crisis” does exist for many. What I wonder is, is it new or even worth talking about. If we name a thing somehow we diminish it; a principle of the Tao. When we do this, the discussion then becomes one of quantifying, calibrating and comparing one “midlife crisis” to another -- not the issues. I suppose some people might drink too much when they’re going through a big change in their lives, or shop obsessively to fill the holes, but that is not the issue. It is just the arrow that points out the problem.

The term “Midlife crisis” also denotes something short, dramatic and sudden. In my experience, the transition that took place when my children left home, for example, was rather long and drawn out – the boomerang generation lives! I understand completely the feelings of an empty nester but as long as we’re naming things how about “boomerang empty nesters” – they go, you’re life is in flux; they return, you annoyingly readjust; they leave, you feel the loss…eventually you go numb and start to drink (that was a joke). Seriously, my point here is, change is a part of life. So is how we cope with it and what we take away from it. That is what I’d like to talk about. I’d like to try not to trivialize or overdramatize experiences in life that have the capacity to make us better, richer more self-actualized people. Let’s talk about the real issues.



blogneta said...

I feel that because there are so many "baby boomers" around the globe, that understanding and helping us all make good choices, as a growing population is very important.

It is interesting to note that Carl Jung in his writings identified five stages associated with an innate, normal, and expected midlife transition: accommodation, separation, liminality, reintegration, and individuation. Go figure huh?

Many people talk about only the male midlife crisis without understanding that women also go through this as well as or as a companion to menopause, so talking about the real issues as you put it is very valid and so needed.

For me, my midlife crisis has been a slow but evolving process as I am redefining who i am and where I want to be. Trust me, my girls are not always the most understanding of these changes and it has caused them endless confusion and that to me is a problem as I cant always explain my rationality..or am i being

Looking forward to others opinions and specific issues as maybe we can all relate to each other?

Regards as always

HelenW said...

I have not suffered a mid-life crisis - maybe it is something to do with being an older Mum - I had my daughter when I was 40 and she is now 17. And I am looking forward to the empty nest (or the the boomerang)... We are all going thru the same phases but each one's experience is different.

Jill said...

I think that it is part of a women to deal with transition from the beginning. If we marry we change our names, then if we have kids, we learn to feed them, change them and then they change and we move along with them. As women we are so resilient that a mid-life crisis is just one of the many transistions we go through. I love that it is labeled as such. I certainly felt alot more like drinking (or eating) away the day when the babies were little than I do now - pushing that next age mark and with the younger children getting ready to leave home. I think that we all deal with the different transitions in our own way and I agree we don't need to lable it as it is just one more step in the very fluid life of a woman.

Dorothy Sander said...

I responded to your comments yesterday. I surely don't know what happened to the response! I enjoyed reading what you all had to say and all of it is so true! I definitely felt more like drinking and eating when my kids were young! I agree that life for women is most definitely about change.

Georgia said...

Loved the article. I'm not sure it was a mid-life crisis, but I recognized that there was much more to life than working, and working, and working....I'm thrilled with my life now, and I'm playing harder than ever - at work. If that was a "crisis" - give me more!

Dorothy Sander said...

I know the feeling Georgia! It's a matter of changing your focus and reevaluating what you do and why you do it. That's why I'm not real big on the whole concept. Tends to trivialize what is really happening.

LJ Logan said...

The changes are constantly coming at us, from when the kids are born to the time they start boomeranging! I just sent my son off to college and so am in the midst of changes as we speak.

My sister and I started a new website, Feathering the Nest (, to share our learning experiences with moms at every state of mothering. Can you imagine the amount of wisdom we all have accumulated over the years?? Let's share it! Please visit us...

Dorothy Sander said...

Thanks for stopping by LJ. I'm glad to hear you're taking your experience and wisdom and putting it to good use! We have learned so much throughout the parenting years ~ I hope those coming behind will pay attention! I'll be sure to check out your site.

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