The Montfort Group

Middle Age Isn’t A Crisis

Middle age, the topic of my age came up in a recent conversation with a woman two decades younger than me.

“Wow,” she said, “you don’t look 62!”

She offered a compliment about how good I looked “for my age” but I thought I detected a slight change in her facial expression.  I wondered, should I have kept my mouth shut? Would knowing my age change her perception; would she think I’m “old?”

Aging

I didn’t think much about aging until I lost people close to me and I got to thinking about my own mortality, realizing I had more years behind me than in front of me. Then my children hit their 30s which made me think about it a little more as I watched them hit milestones of marriage, home ownership, and parenthood. I was aware of more subtle nuances –feeling a little more invisible from time to time and a little less interesting to younger generations.

When does it happen?

Age is a funny thing. It may represent our chronology but not always how we feel about ourselves. And to be honest, I don’t know what being middle aged means these days or who gets to define it. Is it when the AARP mailers show up in your mailbox? Is it the birthday card jokes about getting old? Is it physical deterioration and slowing down? Is it a mindset of limitations? What if it’s a time of transition and transformation?

According to Wikipedia, middle age represents the years between 45 and 65. If that is true, I’m breathing down the neck of being an almost senior – the reward for working through my soul’s curriculum.

Transition and Change

I put my head down at age 42 and when I looked up twenty years later, I realized I pushed through some of the toughest lessons I could have imagined – empty nest, divorce, re-marriage, death, cancer, job loss, graduate school, and a new life and career 1,500 miles from family. I’m not going to lie, there were days I was full of despair trying to understand the why’s – why me, why now?

And so began a search for meaning that characterized much of those years. It was a period of transition and inner transformation – with the hefty demands of digging deep into myself to figure out priorities, release old beliefs, and finding forgiveness and gratitude for all that lead me to where I am now. It was hard work to embrace all of who I am and not just the pieces that were easier to accept.

In writing this blog, I asked some of my friends how they feel about the “middle age” and without hesitation, they all said these are the happiest years. They feel more confident, less burdened about things they “should” do, and appreciate the wisdom gained from life experience. They remain curious and open to new adventures without the restriction of a limited mindset. Does this sound like slowing down in search of a rocking chair? Hell no!

Like my peers, I think this is a pretty fabulous time in my life, but it’s also time to change the mindset about aging as something to dread. For many of us, the inner metamorphosis that comes with middle age opens the door to becoming the best versions of ourselves and for that, I am grateful.

What have you learned and what do you appreciate about the experience of being middle aged? Contact The Montfort Group in Plano today to define your next chapter. 

Laurie Poole, MS, LPC

Laurie Poole, MS, LPC

Laurie is a Licensed Professional Counselor with her Masters of Science in Counseling from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. She is also a graduate of McGill University in Montreal. She received advanced practical training in Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples and families at UT Southwestern, where she spent five years in the Department of Psychiatry’s Family Studies Clinic working with diverse clients of all ages. In addition, she has completed training in Collaborative Law for couples seeking divorce to find solutions in a more amicable way.

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