Aging, Business Women, Life, Midlife Transitions, Midlife Woman, Self Development, Uncategorized

Separate Stories

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a woman I met in the grocery line (yes, that kind of thing happens to me all the time). She was a lovely woman in her mid 50s; a VP for a marketing firm – a career she didn’t begin until she turned 44. Prior to this, she was married to a high-level executive and had followed what was considered to be the “traditional” role of being a stay-at-home mom to her three children. 

She had little in the way of family support, money and material things when she got married at the tender age of 21, but over the years her lifestyle left her “more than a little comfortable.” Yet that lifestyle came with a heavy price tag. I was struck by her honesty and her passion, and the way she carved out a new life for herself once she woke up to the painful realization that she wanted – deserved – more than an empty marriage. 

The point of this post isn’t about passing judgment on whether a woman who has kids should work outside the home or not. Or remain in an unfulfilling marriage. It’s about a woman living one life and opening up to the reality of what that life is not  – and what it could be.

I admire this particular woman because she had the integrity to face what wasn’t working in her life (in her marriage) and took the risk to do it all differently as she moved into midlife.

Now, she’s a midlife woman with a career she loves, a fulfilling relationship with a man she met five years ago, and three adult children who are living life on their own.

It’s about possibility.

It’s about taking the blinders off to what’s not authentic or real.

 It’s about the sometimes startling realization that you’ve been living someone else’s life and now it’s time to live your own.

I sat down and wrote a poem a week after talking with her in aisle 3 of Kroger. I wrote it in honor of all midlife women who are navigating unchartered waters with grit, determination and no map.

Separate Stories

At seventeen she took her vows

in her cousin’s borrowed gown

A handful of people to share the moment

when she said goodbye to her youth

followed by a honeymoon

at the local Howard Johnson’s

At twenty-two she had three children

to feed, to clothe, to nurture

Framed photos depicted a perfect family

though he was rarely home to change a diaper

At thirty she was volunteering

and taking turns with carpools

Years of soccer games and school plays

and trips to the doctor

With him always on the road

and she always alone

At thirty-five she found herself

no longer wide-eyed, a little smarter

and wondered where he spent most nights

and why it didn’t matter

Just shy of forty she packed his bags

and left them by the door

No note

No point

They’d said it all

Not in words, but in living separate stories 

I’d love your thoughts here in the comments section. Have you ever felt like you’re living someone else’s life? Have you taken a major risk and forged a new life as you entered your midlife years? Did you begin a new career or open your own business after the age of 40? If not, as a midlife woman, what’s standing in your way?

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Ready to lay down your old stories, your thread-worn fear, your Inner Critic, and the things you tolerate that drain your soul? Ready to hold up to the light the container which houses your sacred being? [R]evolution™ – it’s time to come home to yourSELF. Learn more.

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