Jeanne Chung portrait by Margot Duane
Jeanne Chung wants to “rebrand” what it means for women to be in their 40s and 50s. “There’s Glossier on one side and AARP on the other,” says the 52-year-old founder of MIGHTY Menopause.
“JLo at the Superbowl was so polarizing. Modern, GenX women don’t fit into the social nor aesthetic norms of prior generations like Boomer women. And before someone else, i.e., the status quo or the white male patriarchy, tells us who to be, let’s create the ‘brand’ ourselves. We have the opportunity and the responsibility to do it.”
Amen to that.
Let’s cut to the chase and describe Jeanne Chung’s life in a nutshell, so that you can get up to speed on why she started one of the first companies to modernize menopause. In her words, MIGHTY Menopause is a data-driven wellness experience designed specifically for the modern woman and her multi-faceted, multi-year menopause journey.
Yes, I’m in Midtown Manhattan with my man and my dog. Life in quarantine has been surreal. We both work from home, so the daily flow feels very normal. And that’s in stark contrast to what’s happening around us: the prevailing uncertainty on all things — the broader economy, local economy of retailers and businesses in our neighborhood, our own work-based micro economy as entrepreneurs (my boyfriend is entrepreneur-ish; he’s a COO for an early-stage fintech company).
I feel the extremes of feeling hopeful in my life, in my relationship and in building MIGHTY and looking for unique opportunities. I also feel confusion, despair, and anxiety, which probably doesn’t require explanation. I also feel the exhaustion of banging back and forth to and from these extremes.
1. Building a new life in NYC with my boyfriend and my dog
We’re still getting into our groove with a new life in NYC — then the pandemic hit. It’s hard to figure out how to build our lives here when things are so limited and uncertain. Visions of a life in New York were based on an idea of “normal,” which may likely no longer apply. It’s heavy and I feel immobilized by the pandemic, but I’m working to see and feel little glimmers of curiosity and openness to let new ideas into the mix.
2. Learning how to be all the things for each other in my relationship, which is the most meaningful relationship I’ve ever had
The success of which is fully dependent on my own self-awareness and courage to be self-aware, accountable, and forthright. I have to be good for me to be good for him and vice-versa. All of this is a work in progress.
3. Learning to balance two important endeavors:
– Creating a voice and story line about deep social change for older/elder women. It’s an underpinning of what MIGHTY is all about but deserves a separate space.
– Continuing to build MIGHTY. I’m deeply committed and dedicated to both with limited resources. So I’m continually assessing my allocation of time and my intellectual and creativity energy.
I’m usually able to flow with things only once my emotions have settled down and moved out of the way. Let me be clear that this is not a quick nor straightforward process. I’m not very efficient about processing emotions — and am constantly working on it — but have been able to loosen the grip on the outcome more and more. Just a counterbalancing thought or two even for half a moment can give enough of a shift for me to accept and allow it to unfold.
Related to my three jumbles, I tend to intellectually overpower all situations and decision-making. I’m working on pausing to get into a feeling state for a few moments to find some grounding and clarity before making a decision.
I’m also working on seeing and feeling what’s happening underneath it all: fear of failure, fear of judgment, lack of time/money/expertise, self-doubt, etc. A handful of long, deep, slow nasal breathing is my gateway. At the very least, it settles down the intellectual chaos to something slightly more manageable. LOL.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE being in my 50s. LOVE it. My 40s were very hard, so there’s a sense of accomplishment getting to my 50s.
Answering your questions now, it occurs to me that because the concept of a modern woman in her 50s is a bit nebulous in most everyone’s minds today, I am free to be whatever or whoever I want.
To add some depth to that very common statement, it’s because sometimes I want to go to a club and dance all night, sometimes I want to be a homemaker cooking and baking, sometimes I want to be an activist and change the world, sometimes I want to be a badass founder, sometimes I want to chill the fk out and sit down. And, because no one knows what to expect of me, I can be and do whatever I want.
New to perimenopause? Read our empowering guide to everything you need to know about this under-understood phase of life.
Amy Cuevas Schroeder is the cofounder and Chief Content Officer of Jumble & Flow, the new lifestyle brand that empowers women to thrive in midlife. She started her first business, Venus Zine, in her dorm room at Michigan State University, and later sold the company. She now lives in the Chicago area, and is raising twin girls with her husband, Martin, a social worker. She’s worked as a content leader for Etsy, Minted, and Abstract, and has written for NYLON, Pitchfork, The Startup, and more.
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Amy Cuevas Schroeder
ON THE BLOG
In My Prime: interviews with women thriving in midlife
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Pelvic health: Everything women need to know
Adventures in Perimenopause, essays by women in perimenopause and menopause
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