I’m all about girl power, especially women on a second career, business, husband, boob job, or whatever transpired from defining their own path. Media and messaging aimed at middle aged women invite us to put on our big girl pants and reframe how we see ourselves and our lives. Is it menopausal hot flashes or prep for that hot yoga class you always wanted to take? Is our new boss half our age or twice as likely to impart new tech skills? Is age 50 half a century or the next half of your life? Hell, if turntables and silver-gray hair were granted a fashionable comeback, so too is our second act. Life 2.0 has room for the minx and the matron. We’re Gen X and may have outgrown perms and pop rocks but not the punk rock spirit that keeps propelling us forward.
We’re poised to take on whatever the universe has in store for us next. 50th birthday milestone? We’ve got this! Hallmark birthday cards assure us that 50 is fabulous! Our next life chapter is here, and it’s change with a capital C. There’s the changes in our body. Those wonderfully unpredictable, inopportune menopausal changes that seem to pop up during board meetings and romantic interludes. There’s also change in our household- we’re empty nesters adapting to our babies leaving home and embarking on their own journey. Still feeling ourselves? Absolutely! We’re facing this next chapter with wild abandon…and college debt, and a few extra pounds, and an empty house. Snif. Snif. Joie de vivre! What’s a girl to do? When life takes a hard left, we go write. Our punk rock forefathers taught us how to define life in our own terms and give it the finger. It’s time to rewrite our story and look at our endings as the catalyst for new beginnings. Our big girl pants are on again and we ask the universe to grant our second act with opportunities that foster growth, wisdom, and braver versions of ourselves. Be careful what you wish for and bring a clean pair of underwear. We might just s*@t our big girl pants when we learn what the universe has in store for phase two.
It’s March 2020 and everything we know is about to be turned on its head. Six months ago I couldn’t have imagined that face masks, social distancing, quarantine, and global pandemic would be our new normal and vernacular. Empty nester seemed daunting enough. My midlife mashup included a separation, moving, and living alone for the first time in over two decades. The world was imploding, and I was about to leave a 23-year marriage to stand in it alone. No one said change was easy, but I didn’t expect to cross hell and high water to get there. Even Iggy Pop would have to admit it’s pretty punk rock to start over during an apocalypse. It’s been scary making the hard choices necessary to reclaim my self-worth again. I find solace in knowing that I get to choose how to live this next leg of my journey. I’m getting acclimated to my new surroundings and the unknown, unprecedented, and thanks to COVID, the unfreakingbelievable. It’s still hard but I’m becoming the woman I deserve to be for myself and my kids. We have the power to be our own best advocate and change our life trajectory. In the words of Joan Jett, “A girl can do what she wants to do, and that’s what I’m gonna do.” Life may give us a good, swift kick in the big girl pants but what we decide to do next is all our own.
James Brown is singing our song: click here to listen along.