From regret to reinvention
Many women view reaching midlife as a substantial, and possibly a final, milestone in their life. By age 50, women are likely going through menopause and dealing with the realities of becoming an empty nester. In some cases, women see very little to look forward to in the future. They may see their careers slowing down or see their marriage falling short of expectations. During this time of change, some women look back on their life and their choices with pride, while others may look back with regret. Some women wish they would have stayed home with their children, while others wish they had pursued a career instead of staying home. Regardless of the reason for regret, it’s important to remember there were no right answers then, and there are no right answers now. There were and are, only choices.
Turning 50 years-old in the 21st century is a time to let go of regret and an opportunity to look forward. With effort, regrets can be resolved and a new future can be chosen. Life expectancy for women has significantly increased in the past 100 years. Life is not over at age 50 or 60. We now live into our seventies, eighties and nineties and experts suggest there will be more than one million people living to age 100 by 2050.
With so much time left, there are many options available to women in midlife and beyond. Finding a source of income after retirement is becoming common place. Trying out a new career is also becoming more and more common. There are many ways to reinvent yourself. Learning and developing your resilience will get you started.
Midlife and menopause can be the milestone of new beginnings. It can be a time to put yourself first. If you are one who struggles to find your new path, it may be time to explore a creative new future with a trusted friend, a significant other or a therapist. With help, with resolve and with resilience, you can choose to reinvent yourself one more time. And regret is something you do not need to live with. Midlife is a time to redefine yourself. It’s a time to reconsider your priorities. It’s an opportunity to find new joy in life.
Denise Edwards, MSW, LISW, is a licensed independent social worker providing mental health therapy services at Mercy Comfort Health Center for Women. Learn more.