Women At Midlife

Let’s look at the uniqueness of women at midlife.  As I wrote in previous posts, the underlying dynamic of midlife – time – is the same for men and women.  That said, how we have lived our lives will greatly influence the way each of our midlife experiences look.  For example, most women have a strong appreciation for relationships and, throughout their lives, struggle to maintain and encourage close ties with friends and family.  This serves them very well in a million situations.  Women tend to have stronger support networks than men, they still tend to be the primary caretakers of children (even though most women work), and they are the ones who generally maintain the connections to parents.  Men are becoming more involved in these activities and things have changed since I was in my 20s and 30s. There are certainly more shared tasks in the relationships that are being developed now.  This will affect their midlife in the years to come.

 However, for women reaching midlife today, I still see certain trends.  Because women have spent so much time attending to others, by the time they reach their middle years, they are sick of it.  Making this situation more complicated is the fact that fact is that many women work in fields where their jobs are taking care of others. This is a lot of caring for others, thinking about others, bending your life so that others are attended to.  It is no surprise that, at midlife, when women see that time is finite, they look back and notice that much of their time has been spent in the service of others.  So, the path not taken is the path that has a sign post reading, “my turn” and they head happily down that road.  If midlife is about ‘last chances’ then women are going to turn toward themselves and say, “It is time to look after me!”

Studies that have examined women at midlife find that many women do make midcourse corrections after a life review – with good results.  The qualities that are commonly on the rise at midlife include: an increased sense of personal identity; greater confidence in one’s ability to get things done; personal authority; more freedom from inhibitions; and greater awareness of aging.

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