Countdown to 50 (or the woes of a Generation X middle aged mamma)

I turn 50 at the end of this year.  That’s December 30th in case you’re curious.  I’m trying to wear it like a badge of honor and embrace it, but the number seems daunting.  I’m officially middle aged and there’s nothing super sexy about saying it.  As I approach this landmark day,  I’m taking inventory on myself, my life and what’s ahead and trying to approach it all with grace.  I realize that I won’t be getting a free pass as I go through menopause, and will be working on embracing that with an upbeat attitude, too.


Recently I went through six weeks of WTF - Why have I had a period for 6 weeks?  Why is my stomach bloating like crazy?  Why am I having joint pain in my right hand?  And why the hell hasn’t anybody warned me about the shitshow that is about to go down with this stuff?  I’ve heard about hot flashes and have accommodated women who needed a window open or a breath of fresh air in the past.  That seemed doable.  But mood changes, several visits to the local clinic, feeling like I’m under a dark cloud, and a dose of hormones followed by sleepless nights weren’t doing it for me.  It feels a lot better now as I have taken up mile long swims on a regular basis, vitamin supplements, and committing to walking around 15 miles a week.  Yay for not having a car and a mile long walking commute to and from my daughter’s school.  


Remember how Judy Bloom made it cool to go through puberty and helped make the process of becoming a woman relatable?  Where’s that mentor now for mid life?  Somebody please tell me, I’m all ears.  And a sappy brochure from my doctor or a cheezy pharmaceutical commercial isn’t going to cut it.  


I’ve been thinking of doing a podcast for quite a while that talks about being between things in life.  If you’ve followed my journey for the past couple of years, it’s been a series of changes and discoveries.  But now the podcast is starting to feel like it will soon become a reality.  I love the energy and chutzpah of most millenials and what they have to say, but most don’t hold the level of life experience that I want to hear and talk about.  I’m Generation X and proud of it.  So please, please, please.  Help me out.  If you have any comments, ideas, or topics that you would like me to discuss in this murky mid life, hit me up.  I’m so surprised at the lack of open conversations that talk about realizing dreams and then moving on to the next ones with grace.  I’m beginning to wonder if women just hide under a rock at this point in their lives?  Hell no.  I’m going to make it fun.  Come along, I’m going to need the company.  





  • I am not a women so I cant talk about menopause. 57 now and I can tell you this: people can talk about facing old age with dignity and a positive attitude but it seems to me like grasping at hope that is now getting too far ahead of you and still widening that gap. Everywhere you see people who were at their best when you were young and now getting frail. Film stars struggling to get new rolls with thinning hair and faces with the telltale signs of speeding to the end. It’s a shit show at best. For me the only way to deal with this is to make light of it with the right mix of bitterness and laughter sharing it with those who are going through the same struggle. Its a pity so little is said about it and that people want to bury the tragedy under positivism, minimizing the significance of the suffering involved in getting old. The net result for me is that it gets harder to bear it if no-one acknowledges it and no-one shares. One feels isolated and alone. Now that you are old you still need people to hold your hand and to understand what you are going through in stead of getting a slap on your hand for being negative. Growing old is painful. Feel it, recognize it, talk about it, curse at it – a lot preferable, and than laugh out loud when you share with others your age some of the gross stuff about getting old. That is how to not survive being old. Yeah, you heard me. None of us will survive it. No matter how many plastic surgeries, tinctures or positive attitude we slap on. But that is the upside of the story. Until then we will have to keep plucking ear and nose hair, exercise, rationalize and compromise.

  • I would love the podcasts! You have always been inspirational to me. Even back I the MWI days, I admired you!

  • Hey M.E. I’ll be 51 this coming January so am a year down the road..I was electrified seeing Patti Smith live at Glastonbury the summer before I turned 50, by turns foul mouthed rock banshee and spiritual goddess, at nearing 70 she rocked my world. I came away knowing ‘I choose that!’ I choose the powerful, opened, fully present, experienced, radiant and visible crone. As an ‘older’ mother too, taken on more than one occasion as grandmother to my daughters (which doesn’t bother me…I know who I am!), I want to demonstrate to my daughters a vital and conscious person who is coming into their strengths as I age. I want to be seen and to contribute in an active and dynamic way to my community and to society….all of which is doable and needed in my opinion.
    As for the menopause, yes, where are the open conversations and the broad spectrum of information and potential strategies to deal with symptoms? I do talk openly with younger women, aware that no older woman passed on her experience and knowledge to me. I notice varied symptoms, big gaps between periods, flooding, dark moods, disrupted sleep, skin changes and spots! I know several women and couples who’ve had their sex lives disrupted by the delightfully labelled vaginal atrophy, and have already begun having conversations with my husband about how we can deal with this when it arrives (if?), so as not to let our lovemaking become a thing of the past.
    Let’s keep this process and conversation wide open. Embrace the crone!

    Franca Westaway
  • I just turned 50. I was hoping for a drop of wisdom to fall from the sky. It didn’t. The day was uneventful. 50 can mean I’m one step closer to the grave or it can mean a second life. In this second life I choose, I don’t irrationally react, I accept, I keep an open heart and mind, I breathe.

  • You might consider looking into women’s circles, or rites of passage rituals, in your wider community particularly those catering for women exiting their period of fertility and entering into, as they would have said a few centuries ago, the age of the “crone”. Such a misunderstood word. It is a time of great power. Check out this group on Facebook maybe

    Robyn Farrar

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