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After listening to dozens of women in midlife, here is what I hear time and again…

My kids have left. I feel their loss in a way that’s hard to explain. It’s like a piece of my heart has been torn out of my chest. The house is so quiet; it’s deafening. Sometimes I walk into my child’s room and sit among the things left behind: an old high school trophy, a favorite stuffed animal, stacks of comic books… Will I ever experience the same calling I felt when I was raising my kids?

I’m exhausted, both physically and emotionally—and menopause is not helping. One day stretches into the next. I try to keep busy—but sometimes I find myself just staring into space.

I feel guilty for being sad. Such first-world problems. Sometimes I just don’t want to feel anything anymore. So I numb the pain with food, alcohol, shopping, binge-watching TV…

“I’m not ready to retire into a life of leisure or irrelevance.”

I feel so alone, and my husband doesn’t seem to get it. We’re so disconnected—I wonder if our marriage is going to make it.

I want to talk to my friends, but I’m afraid they won’t understand. Will they judge me? So I keep quiet about my pain.

I’m not ready to retire into a life of leisure or irrelevance. I’m not finished living. But what am I supposed to do now? What if I never figure it out?

I’m starting to feel like I’m fading away, slowly turning invisible.

“I’m not ready to retire into a life of leisure or irrelevance.”

You want to figure out what’s next for you. I get it. I’ve been there.

Maybe you’re wondering: What am I meant to do with the rest of my life? Who am I beyond a mother, a wife, an employee, a caregiver, a volunteer?

You look in the mirror and see more than wrinkles and extra pounds. You’re eager to honor your body, no matter the scars and sags that mark your decades. You might even, proudly, let yourself go gray!

You’re ready to accept yourself, gifts and flaws both. You’ve finally arrived at a place where you care less about living up to others’ expectations and more about being true to yourself.

You’re tired of regrets and ready to forgive yourself the mistakes of the past. While there are roads you wish you’d taken, choices you wish you hadn’t made, you’re done wringing your hands over those.

You’re feeling more creative, more open to new opportunities. You’re braver now, less worried about failure and rejection.

You appreciate your girlfriends now more than ever. You know who they are; they’ve had your back. You’re tired of the drama and eager to ditch toxic relationships.

You have a lot to say. Your filter is going and you’re speaking your mind. You’re showing up more boldly.

You’ve got so much strength and wisdom to share, thanks to all your life experience—you’re your successes and struggles, your joys and disappointments.

You want—no, you demand—more. Today, and every day moving forward. You’re ready to take charge of the rest of your life and create a future you love.

It’s your turn. And you’ve got a lot of living to do.


want to feel less alone?