Today, I’m happy to introduce you to Laura Lee Carter. She has been blogging as the Midlife Crisis Queen since 2007 in an effort to share all that she has learned through her own midlife transformation. Laura Lee is also a professional researcher and a trained psychotherapist, offering counseling by phone and Skype!.
What Is Midlife?
Looking around a busy Barnes & Noble recently, I noticed they had specially delineated sections for teens. Struggling through the crowd, I finally got the attention of an attractive, dark-headed twenty-something assistant and asked, “Do you have a special section for midlife?” He turned to me and said, “What’s that?”
Astounded, I didn’t miss a beat. “Readers in their forties and fifties. You know, in the middle of their life.”
“Oh no,” he said, “those are grouped with the other adult nonfiction books.” And then he smiled the cutest smile and wandered off.
I was astonished by the education I’d just received. What’s midlife, you ask . . . just wait!
Midlife seems to surprise us all, much like the other transitions we may experience in life, like divorce, menopause, or unexpected layoffs. We go along, thinking we have things mostly figured out, and then, bam, we’re struck silly by some gigantic change we didn’t even see coming. Welcome to the midlife wake-up calls that inform us, in not-so-subtle ways, that it’s time to figure it out all over again!
But then, that is pretty much the point, isn’t it? We need to be shocked into the realization that we haven’t figured it all out. There’s so much more to learn before this game is over. And if we’re slow learners, life just keeps coming at us until we finally get it. What would it take to wake you up?
It took a divorce, hysterectomy, and the first layoff of my entire twenty-five-year career to wake me up.
The divorce was the first blow. It left me wondering, “What was I thinking? Did I really think I could spend the rest of my life with him?” Time to reevaluate all the choices I’d made up until then. The good news is that it caused me to delve into my previous beliefs about love, call up an old boyfriend from twenty-five years past, and finally get rid of lots of accumulated guilt and shame.
My second major change was a hysterectomy. This turned out to be the best medical decision of my life. I remember my doctor asking me to describe how I felt about my uterus. I said, “It’s been nothing but trouble my whole life!” She said, “Right answer!” and we proceeded to the planning stage of my surgery.
The layoff was the toughest blow for me. I had clung to my identity as a librarian for decades, not because I loved the work but because I needed that one bit of security in my otherwise precarious world. When that final bit of stability fell, I was completely on my own in the dark and lonely sea of midlife transition. Strike three, you’re out!
And I was out, out in the world completely on my own with no husband, no job, and no uterus. What’s a girl to do? I began to dwell on the question, “How did I arrive at this place?” Taking care to avoid the stickier question—am I really just a loser?—I decided my entire belief system needed a remake.
That was the beginning of a wild and crazy journey for me, one that has led to an amazing amount of personal change, all of it for the better!
This is an excerpt from Laura Lee Carter’s first book:Midlife Magic: Becoming the person you are inside.