Why it’s Great to be in Your Midlife
It’s great to be in your midlife.
Why are we so afraid to be called ‘middle aged’? It’s great to be in your midlife.
Like it or not if you’re aged somewhere in the 40 – 50 age bracket — you’re technically in the middle of your life. According to the Office for National Statistics UK if you were born in 1980 the average life expectancy for a woman in the UK is 83 yrs (and for men its approx 80 years).
If you’re interested you can calculate your own life expectancy here
When we started The Midlife Hub we sent out a survey called ‘The Midlife Survey’ to people we knew aged 35 – 55 years of age. It contained a range of questions on peoples mental and physical wellbeing at this point of their life. Interestingly, one of the most common responses we had back (usually sent in capital letters to stress their point) is “why are you sending this to me. I’m not middle aged.”
I’m para-phrasing, a lot of the responses were much ruder than that, but you get the point.
‘Middle aged’ and ‘Midlife crisis’ are ingrained in our cultural language — and we often use the term as a negative, as a justification for out of character behaviour, or as a joke. Over time this feeds our collective psyche — we associate the midlife as a shameful, embarrassing place to be — that we’re too old, and of no use anymore.
How do you know you’re in your midlife?
By the time you reach your 40s’ you’ve probably been so busy living your ‘grown up life’ (you know, all the usual stuff — having relationships, forging a career, maybe raising a family, paying the mortgage) so caught up in ‘living’ that you might not have spent any serious amount of time thinking about ‘you’ and your needs and wants recently.
By the time you hit your midlife, things can look very different to how you thought your life might have been 20 years ago.
The midlife can be a time of change
Maybe it’s that your kids are growing up and don’t seem to need you in the way they once did. (And if you have teenagers in the house, they’ll probably be constantly reminding you how old and uncool you are).
Maybe you hate the way your knees creak when you walk up the stairs or find yourself doing a little wee every time you sneeze.
Maybe you’re questioning what you do for living, if you’ve been in your job, or doing the same thing for a number of years, maybe you feel it’s all a bit pointless, that there’s something missing.
And for women, layer on top of this the changing hormone levels that menopause brings, (and without sounding over-dramatic) you can start to question your sanity.
Is this really the best it going to get?
All of these things can make you stop and question your lifestyle, your choices, and what your future looks like.
You might reach a point where questioning your role, your identity in society; at best this can be confusing; at worst you can be left feeling invisible or isolated. But you’re not alone in feeling the way.
Lets go back to The Office for National Statistics UK, who show this quite clearly:
A report they conducted in 2019 asked people how satisfied (overall) they were with their lives.(*1)
- 36% of 16 -18 yrs olds stated they were ‘highly satisfied.
- By age 35-39, this response dropped to 27.5%.
- By the age of 45-49 yrs its down to its lowest point at 25.2%
- It jumps back up to 40% at 65-69 yrs
When you take the population of the UK into account, this means there are around 17.5M people between the ages of 35 – 55yrs whose emotional and physical wellbeing is dipping
Why should you plan for your Midlife?
The architecture of our welfare system seems to be built to respond only once we’re at crisis point, not to plan for or prepare for it. We plan and prepare for other life stages; we plan for retirement (people are even encouraged plan their own funerals) but we don’t plan for the ‘missing middle’.
Maybe this is down to lack of awareness, or even an acknowledgement that midlife is really its own specific life stage.
The good news is that things ARE changing. The ‘midlife experience’ is being discussed more and more in the media, and there’s a definite rise in the number of businesses and services catering to individual elements of midlife experience, but it can still be difficult to find the information and advice you need.
In our Midlife Survey just over 50% of people said they get their midlife advice from Google or recommendations fro friends and family.We still have to dig around to find go-to resources that cover everything midlife.
Everyones experiences of the midlife will be totally unique based on their individual life circumstances, needs and wants. There’s no one size fits all. So it’s important to decide what’s important to you, whether that’s getting more active, finally getting round to sorting your finances, taking a career break, or simply getting out there and meeting new people and trying new experiences, you can make a plan that works for you.
There isn’t one simple answer to living your best midlife, but knowing midlife is a ‘thing,’ that you’re not alone and arming yourself with information about the sheer breadth of options available is a starting point.
How can we help?
We built The Midlife Hub so you too can discover why its great to be in your midlife; and we wanted to bring everything midlife under one roof.
- You’ll find information on midlife topics here, everything from menopause to money matters, to careers and relationships. We’ll be straight talking — no subject is taboo, and we’ll cover everything with a midlife lens.
- We’ll signpost you to local business and services in your area that focus on midlife, so if you’re looking for a personal trainer that focuses getting fit in your 40s or a menopausal specialist. You’ll find them here.
- And if you want some additional support, and a friendly ear to help you MAP your midlife, our midlife navigators are here to help.
- Why not join our midlife conversation on our Connect forum. Ask questions, or share tips and recommendations with other mid-lifers.
Your Midlife can (and should) be GREAT
Getting old shouldn’t be all doom and gloom, but we need to make the most of every moment we have. Midlife is a great place to be. You’ve got years of really valuable life experience behind you, and there are loads of ways to improve your physical and mental health.
Midlife is a time of transition and that’s ok, we should be taking this opportunity to ask ourselves what the next 20 years look like.
It’s time to switch midlife from a negative to a positive. Empower yourself by embracing the midlife.
So now you know why it’s great to be in your midlife.
Your midlife will be what you make it, so I say bring it on it. It should be great to be in your midlife. Take a breath and dive in.
Enjoyed Why its Great to be in your midlife? Why not read: Things I’d tell my 40 year old self.