Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A 21 Year Old's Perspective On Midlife

I'm fortunate enough to have a college intern working for me this summer. Lindsay Sellers is in between her junior and senior year at St. Edward's University. Poor thing, she didn't know what she was getting into coming to work for this scattered, midlife woman's evangelist. I thought it would be fun to have Lindsay write a blog post about how she thought of midlife BEFORE she came to work at WomenBloom and now, since she has a little time under her belt. Following is what she has to say!

I am a 21 year-old college student, and some of my interests include “shakin’ it like a Polaroid picture” (or, for those not “hip with the lingo,” dancing) and eating deep fried Twinkies. I love to go see midnight movies, and have my picture taken. Contrary to my age, however, I also love to cook, crochet, cuddle up with a good book (the older the better!), and am trying my hand at cross-stitching. Despite the hobbies that place me well above my age, until recently I held an incredibly shallow conception of mid-life compared to what I now know mid-life to actually be.

Before interning for WomenBloom, the word “mid-life” was not one used frequently in my everyday conversations nor was it a concept I thought about. Frankly, if I did think about mid-life, a slight feeling of dread would usually be my companion. I knew that mid-life for me would be nothing like how it is for the mid-lifers on The Real Housewives of Orange County or New York City. I could say that the epitomic image of a mid-life woman was Evelyn Couch from Fried Green Tomatoes. If it’s been awhile since the last time you watched Fried Green Tomatoes, Evelyn Couch was played by Kathy Bates. Yep, Evelyn Couch – fat and lonely.

I was afraid of veiny hands, crow’s feet, and cellulite. I would thank God that I’m only an A cup – my boobs won’t sag too much. My future husband might not find me attractive anymore. I might not even have a husband! Mid-life crisis – crazy hair cut, possible new tattoo or piercing, new job, new car, new color for the living room. My kids will be teenagers, and if they will be anything like how I was, I should be scared. Because of the number of Boomers now retiring, I probably won’t be able to collect my Social Security. How will I retire? MENOPAUSE. Scary!!!

True, my mom is living well in her mid-life. She made a move to change her career while in her mid-thirties, so now at the age of 44, she is doing well as a personal chef. She looks better than ever, sports a new sassy hairstyle, and, no matter what the weather, she can typically be found in a “flouncy” skirt and heels. My mom is in love with the life that she is living, in love with her partner, and is blessed with two wonderful kids (I’m her favorite, of course. *wink*).

I thought that she was an exception to the rule, however. I thought that she had somehow escaped whatever gray cloud that is supposed to start raining on you the day that you are considered a mid-lifer until the day you die.

By working for WomenBloom, I have discovered that there are more successful, beautiful mid-lifers out there than I thought. It is a time to be looked forward to because I will be wiser and more mature (hopefully). I will hopefully have the funds to travel. I can still be beautiful! I can still be as sexy as I am now, just more in a Sharon Stone or Kim Cattrall kind of way. Mid-life does not have to be the start of the end of your life; it can be the start of the rest of your life.


Rhea said...

Great piece. Good insight into a young person's mind. Evelyn Couch. Ow.

Midlife Slices said...

Hey there Lindsay, it's great when really young people can see us in a whole new light and realize we think we're just as young as we use to be. Not every midlifer is like "us" though and we're trying to change the stereotype to reflect that midlife can be a blast. We're young enough to have learned lots of life lessons, and old enough to know how to use them wisely. Good luck!

Bella said...

Well said, Lindsay! Am so proud of you. I have no doubt you will someday be a very sexy mid-lifer!

Anonymous said...

Lindsay, your mom IS exceptional! That said, one of the things that makes her and other like-minded and lively mid-lifers so vibrant and fun is that they have learned to love themselves and feel comfortable in their own skin! Great perspective - so happy you shared it!

Delaware mid-lifer!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm Lindsay's Mom's age and can scarcely imagine having a 21-year-old. My youngest sister is 21.
Just another example of a mid-life woman defying stereotype.

I am no Evelyn Couch. I look 15 years younger than my actual age, I date a man 10 years younger, and I'm in excellent shape enjoying my middle age with no kids in sight. I travel, I create, I play Wii, and love going to rock concerts.

Not much has changed for me except the digits in my age - and I dress a litle funkier than I did when I was younger. I was very shy then and I have a lot more confidence now.

WomenBloom said...

You go girl! I can't say I look 15 years younger but physically I probably look in my early 40s and I just turned 51. But I think it's the energy I give out (and I too dress a little funkier than I did earlier in life!) that makes people really think I'm younger. I'm very energetic and doing what I love, I think that's the best anti-aging treatment around!