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What Is Midlife?

Today, I’m happy to introduce you to Laura Lee Carter. She has been blogging as the Midlife Crisis Queen since 2007 in an effort to share all that she has learned through her own midlife transformation. Laura Lee is also a professional researcher and a trained psychotherapist, offering counseling by phone and Skype!.

 

Laura Lee Carter 2012 blog

What Is Midlife?

Looking around a busy Barnes & Noble recently, I noticed they had specially delineated sections for teens. Struggling through the crowd, I finally got the attention of an attractive, dark-headed twenty-something assistant and asked, “Do you have a special section for midlife?” He turned to me and said, “What’s that?”

Astounded, I didn’t miss a beat. “Readers in their forties and fifties. You know, in the middle of their life.”
“Oh no,” he said, “those are grouped with the other adult nonfiction books.” And then he smiled the cutest smile and wandered off.

I was astonished by the education I’d just received. What’s midlife, you ask . . . just wait!

Midlife seems to surprise us all, much like the other transitions we may experience in life, like divorce, menopause, or unexpected layoffs. We go along, thinking we have things mostly figured out, and then, bam, we’re struck silly by some gigantic change we didn’t even see coming. Welcome to the midlife wake-up calls that inform us, in not-so-subtle ways, that it’s time to figure it out all over again!

But then, that is pretty much the point, isn’t it? We need to be shocked into the realization that we haven’t figured it all out. There’s so much more to learn before this game is over. And if we’re slow learners, life just keeps coming at us until we finally get it. What would it take to wake you up?

It took a divorce, hysterectomy, and the first layoff of my entire twenty-five-year career to wake me up.
The divorce was the first blow. It left me wondering, “What was I thinking? Did I really think I could spend the rest of my life with him?” Time to reevaluate all the choices I’d made up until then. The good news is that it caused me to delve into my previous beliefs about love, call up an old boyfriend from twenty-five years past, and finally get rid of lots of accumulated guilt and shame.

My second major change was a hysterectomy. This turned out to be the best medical decision of my life. I remember my doctor asking me to describe how I felt about my uterus. I said, “It’s been nothing but trouble my whole life!” She said, “Right answer!” and we proceeded to the planning stage of my surgery.

The layoff was the toughest blow for me. I had clung to my identity as a librarian for decades, not because I loved the work but because I needed that one bit of security in my otherwise precarious world. When that final bit of stability fell, I was completely on my own in the dark and lonely sea of midlife transition. Strike three, you’re out!

And I was out, out in the world completely on my own with no husband, no job, and no uterus. What’s a girl to do? I began to dwell on the question, “How did I arrive at this place?” Taking care to avoid the stickier question—am I really just a loser?—I decided my entire belief system needed a remake.

That was the beginning of a wild and crazy journey for me, one that has led to an amazing amount of personal change, all of it for the better!

This is an excerpt from Laura Lee Carter’s first book:Midlife Magic: Becoming the person you are inside.

Midlife Magic

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17 Comments

  1. […] September is here, officially signalling the last quarter of 2015. Time flies when you’re having fun, they say. Is that why I find time going so fast for the past few years? Or perhaps, it’s just one more thing that happens to you in midlife? […]

  2. […] September is here, officially signalling the last quarter of 2015. Time flies when you’re having fun, they say. Is that why I find time going so fast for the past few years? Or perhaps, it’s just one more thing that happens to you in midlife? […]

  3. Choice Choice March 7, 2015

    […] What Is Midlife? (everydaygyaan.com) […]

  4. nan nan February 19, 2015

    Great post. I’m loving my life. Alpha Hubby and I made the decision in our early 50’s that we were going to change everything – we’d seen too many friends begin to fall apart. Truth be known, they began in their late 30’s! Alpha Hubby and I had only just begun our adventures (being married so late in life) and didn’t want to start, only to have it all end! We began taking much better care of ourselves via health, food choices (i.e., no chemicals or white sugar), attitude, blah blah blah. We are more energetic and healthy than ever and making plans to live to 120 (since science says that is easily accomplished now). Most of his co-workers are making plans to retire, slow down, etc., and once they do, they tend to deteriorate (or come back to work as contractors). We’re in the process of starting a brand-new adventure. We learned to make plans to live to the fullest, to look forward, and to realize that if we aim for 120, we’re only in our “teen years” now – half-wayers (hoho)! I’m off to buy the book!

  5. My Inner Chick My Inner Chick February 16, 2015

    ***I was out, out in the world completely on my own with no husband, no job, and no uterus***

    OMGosh, I can’t wait to go read more about you! Fabulous. xx

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | February 16, 2015

      Go get Laura’s book, Kim! 😉 Thanks for your comment!

  6. Debbie D. Debbie D. February 15, 2015

    Losing your husband, job and uterus must have been incredibly challenging and I admire your fortitude, Laura! Glad to know things have improved since then. 🙂 I just turned 60 and still have a hard time believing it, because I certainly don’t feel it (well, my body does 😉 ). Thirty-five was just yesterday, wasn’t it?

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | February 16, 2015

      Thanks for your comment, Debbie! I can’t wait to turn 50 later this year! 😉

  7. Laura Lee Carter Laura Lee Carter February 15, 2015

    Midlife can be so bad and so GOOD! The bad things that happen are only encouragement to go out and get what you really want out of life this time.
    Midlife is your once in a lifetime opportunity to get it right this time…
    Obsessive Mom: Don’t just hope you’re prepared, read my books to know what’s next!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | February 16, 2015

      Thanks so much for this post, Laura. I’m approaching 50 and life has never been so good!!

  8. Obsessivemom Obsessivemom February 14, 2015

    I wonder what I would do if I were stuck in a situation like Laura’s. Mid-life is creeping upon me too slowly for me to really notice it and for that I’m glad. This post worked like a warning. I hope I’m prepared when and if it decides to strike.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | February 16, 2015

      I think you’re preparing well for it, Tulika! I never thought about midlife in my early forties (and I don’t think you’re there yet!) but now that it is upon, I’m having the time of my life!

  9. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury February 14, 2015

    If midlife is the forties and fifties, I must admit that these are the best years of my life. Often, I am only reminded I am going through midlife when others point it out….otherwise, I pretty much feel the same as I did when I was 24.

    Loved the book excerpt, Laura! Straight from the heart! I wish you well!

    Thank you Corinne!

  10. Laura Lee Carter Laura Lee Carter February 14, 2015

    Yes Penpen, losing your job or even a whole career can be such a challenge, but sometimes exactly the wake-up call we need to move on and become exactly who we truly are in midlife.
    And Fil you are definitely missing out if you think there is nothing to midlife change! Ask the top psychologist if you don’t believe me. I wrote about this in “Find Your Reason To Be Here.” Midlife is one of the most essential rites of passage, available to us for the first time in human history! It’s your best chance to make the rest of your life the best it can be!

  11. Fil Fil February 14, 2015

    I never had time to consider mid life …. usually you’d see men having a very obvious crisis – buying a sportscar or a motorbike or suddenly starting to dye their hair. But most of the women I know have had no time to think about it .. We’re told that 60 is young but now, in my mid 50s, I’m having more than passing thoughts of “I need to slow down” and then the realisation comes that retiring isn’t an option in our game. So just keep enjoying it and don’t think too much about the options.

  12. penpen penpen February 13, 2015

    While I was working, I always comforted myself with the thought that no matter what blows life brought, I would have my world of work–the routine, the work family, the place to go every day, an identity. While I still have a husband (useful) and my uterus (useless), the loss of my full time job (in a shrinking, shrinking, shrinking industry) has been the feeling, as Laura Lee puts it, “of being on my own in a dark and lonely sea.” Like Laura Lee, I’ve had to reinvent myself–and the experience and confidence gained from the pre-midlife years helped move me forward.

  13. Laura Lee Carter Laura Lee Carter February 13, 2015

    Thanks for allowing me to speak my mind here Corinne!

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