“50 is the new 40”


“Aging is not lost youth, but a stage of opportunity and strength” ~Betty Friedan

A few months ago I blogged about my views around the idea of “50 being the new 40” and how it bothered me that we, as a culture, were perpetuating this myth, disowning parts of our actual age and the natural benefits we draw from our years of life experience. I still stand behind this viewpoint, but after reading a section from “Passages”, originally published in 1976 by Gail Sheehy, I have a new appreciation for how the idea of pushing back the clock in the last few decades has some merit.

Read along to Sheehy’s words with me and see what you think: “The ‘I should’ of the twenties, which gives way to the “I want” of the thirties, becomes the “I must” of the forties.”  The author ends there, defining the decades, not even giving mention to the 50’s, other than by omission. Interesting exclusion to consider, as culturally in the 1970’s, people in their 50’s may have seemed oldish and well beyond the urgency of the “I musts” reaped from their 40’s. As I read this passage it seemed anachronistic and very much out of step with the way I perceive the battle cry of each decade. [Read more…]

Midlife Crisis or Opportunity?

crisisIn my practice I focus on coaching clients who are in some form of a life transition. I think of transitions as opportunities to reintegrate all that we have already been with all that we have the capacity and desire to become. Often such transitions take place during midlife, when we naturally assess our lives, both personally and professionally, and consider how we want to spend the next half.

The challenge in our culture is many don’t want to think of themselves yet as being in the second half, or midlife.   I know when I turned 50 I heard over and over that it was really just the new 30. Then there’s that pesky word that often follows the word midlife and that’s crisis.

The Chinese symbol for the word “crisis” is a combination of two words: “opportunity” and “danger”.   It’s an intriguing duality and one that can be taken as an exciting challenge or something to be feared and avoided.

Why is this? [Read more…]