Midlife Myths & Realities: Andrea M. Slominski, Ph.D.
In my practice with clients, in the classes I teach, and in a lot of the writing I do, I talk about Regency, women’s new life stage.
The additional 20 to 30 years or more that we are living past menopause offer us amazing possibilities and opportunities for our lives. And at the same time, we have to keep in mind that we will continue to age throughout these years.
What Comes Next:
“no one in her family talked about menopause or perimenopause”
Last week, in one of my introductory classes, a woman asked me, “What comes next in women’s aging?” She didn’t want to be surprised again by what lies ahead. She notes that no one in her family talked about menopause or perimenopause; she was completely taken by surprise.
Unfortunately, this is the case for many women, especially if there is a cultural taboo around talking about menopause or the functioning of women’s bodies in their families.
Her question really got me thinking. What can women expect as they age? And how many women are asking themselves that same question, hoping for . . . what? A promise that everything will remain as it is now? Or some reassurance that because we are living into and creating this new life stage, Regency, life will somehow be easy, manageable, fulfilling, and happy? Or do we want guarantees that we will beautifully embody the sense of a life well lived and enjoy a comfortable well-deserved retirement?
She Really Wanted Me To Answer Her On The Spot:
What comes next?!
I had to tell her that I didn’t have any answers. I shared that Just as each woman goes through menopause and midlife individually, so each woman will age through her circumstances individually.
Just as life has never held any guarantees, neither does aging. There are so many factors that play into how we will age as women. All of these factors have to be looked at when you consider what your experience of growing into your wise woman years might be like.
“These will likely influence the rest of your life, for better or for worse.”
Here is a partial list of variables that may affect your experience of aging from your Regency years into your Wise Woman years. These will likely influence the rest of your life, for better or for worse.
What To Expect As You Age Can Be Impacted By:
- Economic class
- Where you live
- Gender identification
- Retirement savings
- Marital status
- Partner status
- Familial ties
- Social network
- Current physical and mental health
- Access to healthcare and mental healthcare
All of these will influence your passage through midlife and menopause and will continue to shape your experience of aging into your wisdom years.
It’s A Lot To Think About:
As we continue to age through Regency our bodies are going to continue to age. How well we have cared for them up to this point may have an influence on our aging process. However, life and health are never guaranteed, and serious crises can rise up at any time for us or our loved ones.
“we will have to deal with the heartbreaks and challenges of aging as well as the opportunities and possibilities”
Additionally, aging can be influenced by our genetic predisposition to particular illnesses and diseases. Issues that often arise as we age include changes in body shape, changes in skin texture, loss of muscle tone and strength, a weakening of the bones, the development of arthritis, aches and pains, forgetfulness, cognitive decline, heart disease, and many potential issues and illnesses related to the cumulative effects of poor choices in nutrition, exercise, and self-care over a lifetime.
What will happen as we age, to you and me? Only time will tell. We will continue to age, and we will have to deal with the heartbreaks and challenges of aging as well as the opportunities and possibilities we have been given.
In the midlife and menopause years, we can choose to follow a path consciously that leads toward a deepening of psyche/soul and enhanced personal growth. If we can develop a new perspective now, a new way of looking at life, today, that includes the highs and the lows, that allows us to see problems and challenges from the top down instead of feeling like we are constantly under them, then we will be prepared to face any challenges that await us. We learn to live in the middle way, when we can live in between balancing the tensions of who we were and our losses, with who are and who we are becoming, with all our possibilities, then we will have truly learned to live in the now. We won’t ask what will happen as I age. We will say what is happening right now.
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]