Article by Maxine Harley
Our inner child is always calling out to us, but most of us have turned a deaf ear. We drown out those inner yearnings so that we can get through what needs to be done at home and at work.
Then one day it hits us that we are now officially middle aged. In spite of the gym classes, cosmetics and beauty treatments we can’t avoid noticing our bodies and faces changing.
It’s our wake up call. Our time is running out.
Too many of those wildly exciting things we envisaged in our teens and twenties have yet to become our reality.
We may feel the pangs of the empty nest and the end of our most significant defining role for decades of child raising.
If we haven’t been raising children or become a domestic slave, perhaps we’ve been a slave to our career and bringing in the money to pay for the things that have been making our working life seem bearable.
Time to reflect
In our mid-life we slow down and now have time for ourselves – and time to reflect.
What will I do next?
What does it all mean anyway?
Some women will have ensured financial security and be free to heed their inner child’s calling for adventure – maybe by taking a delayed ‘gap year’ to travel and explore new lands.
Others will feel the draw of creativity in its many forms, and feel compelled to express themselves and their emerging identity this way.
It’s a time to experiment again with our image and how we influence people’s perception of us – and not just with a tattoo or purple hair!
We can be free to play with our sexuality and sensuality. Knowing that we have more confidence despite our sagging breast and squishy bellies.
We can discover what we want
We can discover what we want and go in search of playful sex, or a deeper intimate connection. Safe in the knowledge that when the menopause subsides we are free of the risk of unwanted pregnancy that blighted our experimental fun as teenagers.
It’s not all good news though.
Our hormones can be running amok and making us act like an overtired child who can’t be soothed. We may have flashes of rage that unleash our old pent up frustration and resentments.
We can feel drained of energy for anything more than struggling into our jeans or doing the supermarket shop.
We look at our partner, assuming we have one, and wonder how different our life path might have been had we never met one another.
Oh those fantasies of what else our once firm and sexy bodies could have attracted into our lives all those years ago!
Our behaviour can become childlike too – moody, selfish, sleepy, needing time to potter and explore, and to resist pressure, expectations and imposed structure on our lives.
Midlife for a women is also a time to be selfish – in a good way. It’s a time for ‘I matter too!’
Midlife can be a catalyst for change
I’ve worked with many clients for whom mid-life has been a catalyst for more than just the ‘change’ that menopause brings, but a time to review their life and make a pledge to start living it on their terms.
They’ve wept too many inner tears that can’t be wiped away. They’ve stifled too many dreams and desires and hidden their aching heart with a smile.
This is the time of life when I’ve heard women say…
‘I’m 50…and I won’t let my mother keep running and ruining my life’..
or ‘I’ve stayed in a loveless marriage for the sake of the children, but now they’re grown up I’m going to leave him and this dead relationship and find myself again…he’ll just have to fend for himself’!
There are also some bitter women who’ve been cast aside in favour of a younger, fresher, firmer woman. Their bitterness often subsides when they find the bonds of middle aged sister-hood. A connection of sharing and co-operation with peers rather than the convenient friendships of earlier years which were so bound up in jealousy, envy and competition.
It’s a time for our inner child to be released from servitude and to become free to enjoy playful fun, unchained from our former roles and duties.
Now comes the time to live and let live…and to live it up whilst we still can!
It’s time to pluck up our courage and determination, to take our inner child by the hand and show them a good time!
Take your mind back to when you were in junior school. What dreams did you have about your future?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What did you want to be when you were a ‘grown up’?
What made you happy in those days?
Now think back to when you were 13 years old. Recall the school you attended and the friends you had.
- What schemes and plans did you cook up between you?
- What playful things did you get up to – and get away with!
- What did you hope your adult life would be like…your job…your own family…who would you become?
How different has your life turned out as you reflect back with the lens of middle age?
Are there any things that lit you up back then that are still waiting to be done (or repeated)?
What have you allowed to get in your way?
When are you going to make a start and take your inner child on that big adventure they dreamed of? That time can be now!
No matter about being overly sensible – we’re talking about making your heart sing again…we’re talking about giving your inner child the room to play, create, sing, dance or anything else they want to do.
Put it in your diary and make it happen – whilst you still can!
Maxine Harley is a Mind Healer & Mentor – she helps women to FEEL better! She is also an author of two published books and several e-books. She is also an online columnist, a blogger for online platforms, a contributing writer and a featured expert for Psychologies magazine.
She lives in West Sussex, England