Ever wonder what other women in midlife are experiencing? Like, who else is waking up in a sweat puddle thanks to perimenopause? How are other women facing this transitory time of life?
Here at The Midst, we think about these questions a ton. Empowering women to live their best midlife is what we think about in the shower, between Zoom meetings, and when we’re lying awake at 3 AM. That’s why we conducted our first reader survey that ran from February to November 2021, and we received several hundred illuminating responses.
Your feedback allows us to create useful and resonate articles, columns and content that informs, inspires, and enlightens us all to live midlife on our terms. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the survey!
We’re so excited to share some of our findings with you. Before we get to the colorful graphs for your viewing pleasure, I want to throw out some numbers that illustrate who you are, our readers.
One thing is for sure: There is no “average woman in midlife”; we’re all unique, undergoing a variety of experiences. This isn’t our mother’s midlife. Our modern times call for us to live our lives the way we want — on our terms. The decisions to have children, no children, or what to do in our careers have empowered women more than ever before, but it also poses new challenges and concerns.
I find it super interesting that these are the top five concerns our readers are facing:
Our readers indicated that the bottom concerns have to do with resolving conflicts with family / partner (10% to 23%) and anxiety due to COVID or politics (12% to 17%) — still important, just less top of mind. Women in midlife clearly have bigger fish to fry when it comes to their own health — physically, emotionally and mentally, focusing more on themselves rather than outer situations and circumstances.
In these numbers, I see my own story — good girl goes to college, chooses a career, works hard at it only to find herself in midlife feeling anxious, exhausted, and wondering “Wait, who the heck am I anyway?” For myself, I had a huge “aha” when I realized the path I thought I was choosing for myself was actually one others had chosen for me to fit into. Now, in midlife, after having played someone else’s game, I want to focus on myself and live life on my terms.
If any of these concerns resonate with you, you’re not alone. Midlife is a time of reinvention because we’ve lived a lot of life, gone through some shit, and have learned some hard-won lessons. Reinvention isn’t easy. There may be confusion, and fear of change, and concern about how this process affects loved ones.
At The Midst, we’re here for you and are excited to continue to journey through this midlife thing — together.
We’re so grateful for everyone who took the time to share their thoughts and experiences with us. Here’s what readers said, in their own words when we gave them the floor to tell us what’s top of mind for them …
“I’ve been frustrated about not finding content for women in their late 40s. Everything is geared toward a younger crowd, but we’re here, and participating and enjoying the internet and social media. I would like to see older influencers, and women with teenage children, and the challenge of going through perimenopause while raising them. I would also like to see more about what comes next, after kids go to college. It’s a confusing time, but we are still young enough to hustle and make things happen.”
“I own a company and love my work. I constantly feel overwhelmed but in theory I have some control over what I do and when. I’m tired of feeling like my normal life (which is very full) is more than what’s manageable. I don’t think I have to have it all, I want it all — awesome marriage, awesome kids, awesome business that’s growing, awesome community engagement. So if I’ve chosen this, why does it feel like such a drag sometimes?
Related but separate: Why do I feel driven to close every loop, read every email when that is not strategically important? Why can’t I ignore things that aren’t vitally important, which is what the men in my life seem to do so easily. Why am I dutifully crossing every T (and feeling like a failure when I don’t) when I actually kicked butt at what was vital today?”
“I’m finding my early 40s as being a time where I am wanting to work on creating more space for myself and what sparks passion in me. I’m frustrated that I cannot pursue the specific career I know I’d love because health insurance is rarely available (I work 1-2 days a week at it hoping for change, and a very boring desk job 3-4 days a week to provide family health insurance). Being an advocate for myself with the same doggedness I advocate for my special-needs children is a challenge, but one I’m learning more and more is essential to my well-being. It’s exciting to finally have figured out how to give myself permission to have needs and wants.
After taking classes for a few years, and then having no access to them since March 2020, I set up a workbench at home to continue working on my jewelry metal-smithing skills. Don’t plan to make it a career, just something I want to keep learning and doing because it makes me happy and sparks my creativity.”
“I’m trying to prepare myself for our son to leave for college, while also caring for my aging mother and grandmother. Both live with us in our four-generation household. Caring for an aging parent and grandparent is ROUGH. Lack of privacy and time to just be … especially during lockdown … is weighing heavily.”
… My biggest hurdle has been my nonexistent libido! So, trying new things, new ways of doing old things (I miss great sex so much!), and looking for more ideas!!” — Sherry
“I have a lot of medical issues that are incurable and progressive that makes it difficult to do almost everything in life without causing me more pain. I’m trying to find ways to be less pain, because it literally affects everything in my life: mental health, health, sexually, self-care, marriage, other relationships, and finances.“
— Deanna Lopes
Rev. Bonnie Ho is a spiritual counselor, energy reader, and author of the Living in the Third Eye column for Jumble & Flow. After spending most of her adult life trying to prove her own worth through an analytical career, Bonnie found a spiritual path that led her back to herself and her own heart. Now, Bonnie aims to help others heal their wounds, find their joy, and embrace their intuition and true desires, in a grounded, balanced way.
Bonnie is available for spiritual guidance and energy readings. Visit bonniehoinsights.com to learn more.
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
What is perimenopause? An empowering guide to everything you need to know
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