Trend alert - it's in our power to stay relevant in midlife, but you need to have a plan.
I saw Jay Leno in Boston pre-COVID. First of all, he is hysterical and I'm trying to figure out why I never watched him on the Tonight Show. Perhaps because I’m in bed before the show starts. He's now 68, retired from late-night, and focused on his passion: collecting and restoring cars. During his stand-up, he said something which I thought was interesting, he said: “for all you guys/gals out there of a certain age, I want to ask a question, when did we become invisible?” He went on to joke about this point, but my takeaway was why. Why do we have to become less relevant?
Apparently, this is a real question since I’ve heard this from both men and women in their 40s, 50s, and now 60s, that this really is a thing. My initial thought was this can't be true; but now that I'm living it, let's just say, I had my aha moment, that yes, this really is a thing. I googled “invisible after 50” and this has been discussed and written about quite a bit. While there are plenty of videos and posts on the subject, I didn’t want to accept this as my fate nor did I identify with the idea that this time of your life means you're finished. You've gone through all the life stages that are acceptable for women and now you're on the other side so it's time to step aside. Unfortunately, I don't buy it. I agree that this time in our lives is a new reality, but I believe it's a time to reinvent, reset and stay relevant.
Norma Kamali, the fashion icon and designer, who wrote the book I Am Invincible, a handbook for women through each decade of their lives, has a similar perspective. As a woman in her seventies, she's experienced menopause and came out of it stronger and more confident. In her conversation with Elektra Health, she says..."menopause is tough. It is. It’s not to be taken lightly. However, getting to the other side of menopause and going through it is so meaningful to the rest of your life. It has to be presented as an opportunity, a positive opportunity, to really be whoever you want for the next 40 or 50 years of your life."Amen, Norma!
Like all great things in life, it's about planning and being prepared for the future. Just like death and taxes are certain, so is menopause. We have to own it, prepare for it, and recognize that change is inevitable. I, unfortunately, wasn't prepared. There was no handbook or conversation. Menopause was a taboo conversation. Now you see women owning their new selves which is both liberating and empowering. I look around me and I see an unlimited opportunity for women in mid-life or in their prime or however you want to define yourself.
I may not have been prepared, but I am now doing what I can to stay relevant and stay on top of my game.
Maintain a healthy weight. As we age, our metabolism slows down and we start to gain weight. Prepare for that, by eating healthy, and if you drink alcohol, as I do, try to reduce your consumption. Managing your weight before you have to, can make a difference.
Invest in your wardrobe. Feeling good in your clothes is half the battle. If you look good, it gives you a confidence boost. If you haven't cleaned out your wardrobe, now might be the time. There are online personal stylists, like Stitch Fix and others, that can help you upgrade your look. The great part is they work with any budget. Every season I invest in a few new pieces, just to refresh and reset my look.
Learn a language. If this is something of interest, there's no time like the present. It's challenging, but it's doable. There are plenty of online apps that can help like Babbel or Duolingo. Download it to your phone and practice on the go. I'm working to relearn Spanish. It not only gives you another skill, but it also helps your brain stay healthy.
Stay current on social channels and technology. So much of what we are doing today is online. Embrace the change by learning how to use the latest apps. This has been challenging for me because I am social, but I am not one to publicize my life says the woman who is starting a blog, but I'm learning to do things differently.
Exercise, exercise, exercise. I can't say it enough. Having a regular workout routine is vital to keeping you vibrant, healthy, and feeling good. It's also great for your mental well-being. It doesn't matter what you're into, just do it and be consistent. At this point in our lives, weight-bearing exercises, power yoga, spin are all great options, but so are walking, hiking, pilates, and meditation. My goal is to do something every day even if it's only for 10 minutes.
Get hearing aids if you need them. All too often I see people struggling to hear. It doesn't matter what your age is, it's definitely something that will happen to most of us. Many insurance plans are now covering the cost of hearing aids. If you need them, invest in them.
Try hobbies or a side hustle. This is the time to try new things. Kids are out of the house and maybe you've always wanted to start a hobby, like painting or starting a small business. For me, it was this blog. There are a lot of women who recognize the need for more information and transparency when it comes to moving into the mid-life stage. Women need community.
Be social. Reach out to your friends and schedule outings, get-togethers, or maybe a weekend away. This is the time to reconnect with your tribe many of whom may be in a similar situation as you. Pre-COVID, I would reach out to friends I haven't seen and either connect via text or an actual phone call. I tried to schedule a night out at least twice a week. Doing these things makes a big difference in feeling connected and relevant.
Expand your network. This is easy enough to do by joining groups. I've joined several clubs and groups which has greatly expanded my social network. I golf, hike, play bocce, run and read to name a few. If there is an activity you're into, there is definitely a club for it.
Subscribe to Elektra Health. If you haven't done this already you should. Elektra Health is on a mission to smash the menopause taboo through evidence-based education, care, and community. Elektra Health is talking about what every midlife woman is thinking but has been afraid to ask. I'm a subscriber and find it invaluable.
If you try some of these things, none of these things or all of them, at the end of the day, it's about staying curious, taking risks, and fiercely moving through this next phase in your life. So to Jay Leno I say, you manifest your own destiny. If you want to feel relevant you need to create that for yourself.
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