Midlife Myths & Realities: Andrea M. Slominski, Ph.D.
“Find Your Tribe!” is another one of those hip and catchy phrases that’s become familiar, and yet, for many midlife women, the goal remains elusive.
One of the statements I hear so often from my coaching clients and from women in my classes is, “It’s so hard to make new friends at this time of life! Everyone is busy; everyone has a platter that’s overflowing, and it’s hard to make new friends with women now.”
Find Your Tribe:
I think it’s worth taking a minute to think a little deeper about “Find Your Tribe” and how to go about doing it.
“Working together in a community, women had the opportunity to share their lives, and support one another..”
As a cultural mythologist, I think a lot about human history, women’s history specifically, and women’s mythology. Through mythology, folktales, and fairytales, we have some idea of how women lived their lives and solved their problems throughout history.
Anthropologists, archaeologists, and researchers believe that in early human communities, women worked together raising children and that they invented agriculture, the domestication of livestock, weaving, and pottery. These early cultural developments, discovered, designed, and organized by women, catapulted humanity out of the Stone Age and into the Iron Age, in the greatest evolutionary leap humanity has made to date.
Working together in a community, women had the opportunity to share their lives, support one another, and come up with creative solutions while sharing their sorrows and their joys. There have been many developments throughout human history, the Industrial Revolution, new technologies, time-saving devices, indoor plumbing, single-family homes, and so many more — that separated women from each other ‘s lives.
Women In Antiquity:
Here in the Global North, we no longer go to the well to draw water for our homes each morning. We don’t go down to the river to wash our clothes, bathe, or water our livestock. These chores were part of the time that women spent together, talking, sharing, gossiping, laughing, and I’m sure, crying, grousing, hoping, and dreaming.
For women in antiquity, living together in a small group or tribe meant that they had to work together to survive. They supported each other in the hardest and most difficult of times – childbirth, illness, death, failed crops, starvation, invading warriors. As well as celebrating together in times of relative ease and peace.
None of us would want to go back to living under the harsh conditions that the ancients survived. But we can learn from what we have lost. How can we recover the feeling of connection, belonging, and support in our daily disconnected lives? Find your tribe. But where? How?
Your tribe is not going to come searching for you. You have to make it your intention to find and create your tribe and discover as many of the tribe’s members that you can.
“Your tribe can be women from varied places with different ideas, passions, and values.”
A tribe survives on the varied skills of its members; if you are looking for a clone of yourself, that’s not a tribe. Your tribe can be women from varied places with different ideas, passions, and values. The goal is to cultivate meaningful relationships with women who will support and encourage each other in the tough times as well as the good times.
The more you give, the more you’ll receive. Research shows that volunteering and acts of helping increase happiness and connection and decrease loneliness, and “Actions that facilitate social connection lead to greater well-being.”1
Steps & Ideas To Find/Create Your Midlife Tribe
What do you like to do with your leisure time?
Read? Find and join an in-person Book Club or online group if you are rural. Check with your local library, bookstores, and community centers. Can’t find one? Start one.
Love Animals? Volunteer at a rescue or shelter. To meet the most people, work on their fundraisers or adoption events because committees are great places to meet women with similar passions.
Quilting, Knitting, Sewing Handiwork? Find a club or group to join and call your local craft or yard goods store. There isn’t one? Start one.
Love athletics? Join a club, team, gym, or organization for your favorite sport. Tennis? Cycling? Soccer? Just do it.
Volunteer? Join a women’s organization like Soroptimist or Boys and Girls Clubs; there are so many non-profits that need your help! Choose one that aligns with your passions and beliefs, and you will find women like you there!
Foodie? Take a cooking class, or wines and spirsts class, or a sourdough class!
2. What are you passionate about?
“In midlife, it is important to remember that our lives are all different.”What are you passionate about?
Women’s Rights? Politics, The Environment, Social Justice, Education, The Arts?
Do some research and find a group that wants and needs your talents and expertise!
Love the Symphony? The Theatre? The Museum? Join their volunteers and meet women who love the same things you do.
Work for a political campaign, go to a postcard writing party or help with a fundraiser.
3. Join a Platform like Meet Up!
Enjoy the in-person and remote offerings, specifically for women over 40, 50 or older! Remember, if loneliness and isolation are biggies for you, try to do in-person activities to boost your social time!
In midlife, it is important to remember that our lives are all different. If you want to see a friend, call; if you want to organize an event, do it; if you want to go, invite someone to go with you. The more proactive you are, the more likely you will be to meet women who, in time, you will call your tribe.
- Aknin, Lara B., and Ashley V. Whillans. “Helping and happiness: A review and guide for public policy.” Social Issues and Policy Review15.1 (2021): 3-34.
About the Author:
Andrea M. Slominski, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and women’s midlife coach. During her dissertation research and study, she explored the new life stage for women that has emerged over the past 100 years.
Naming this new life stage, from ages 45-70, Regency, Dr. A. has spoken at conferences, published articles, and coached women to make the most of their emerging power years. Dr. A. guides women 45+ through the often-tumultuous transformations during perimenopause, midlife, and menopause. She uses tools that include creativity, story, mythology, imagination, ceremony, and ritual. If you need support for your Regency years, including all the changes of midlife and menopause, I’m here for you. Email me at [email protected]