[Excerpt from my upcoming book "Aging Naked"]
Many of today’s middle-aged women are raising children, working inside and outside of the home, caring for aging parents, and tending to their partners (or trying to), while doing their best to remain fresh and youthful. And as a result, they often feel over-stretched, overwhelmed, over-exhausted, and under-appreciated.
A recent Gallup Health and Well-Being Index report found that women approaching midlife had the highest levels of stress among all age groups and genders. That’s more stress than younger women, more stress than older women, and more stress than men. Even with our increased choices and handy “time-saving” electronic gadgets, today’s middle-aged women not only experience more stress than all other demographics, but they experience more stress than all previous generations of women as well, and there doesn’t seem to be any relief in sight.
have anxiety. I have rarely spoken about my anxiety problems though because most of my anxious thoughts are so irrational. And to be honest, I found them a bit of a nuisance and pretty embarrassing because admitting to feeling unchecked anxiety conflicted with my persona of being a glass-half-full, carefree soul in pursuit of an optimistic life filled with Oprah-inspired gratitude.
My belief that I needed to be always-optimistic (lest I anger the gratitude gods) meant that I needed to hide my anxious parts, and instead present the image I thought was expected of me. An optimistic, wisdom-filled, gratitude-espousing, never fearful, never anxious, mask-wearing beacon of hope for others. I also thought my feelings were normal. Yes, I believed that everyone experienced heart-racing, fear-gripping, body-freezing angst randomly throughout the day and night for no apparent reason.
A 2014 study on women and middle age found that most women began to feel invisible and dismissed in society by the time they were 50. Among the thousands of women surveyed:
When asked what contributed to their lack of self-confidence, most of the women cited things like graying hair, having to wear reading glasses, and a lack of appropriate fashion opportunities.
What a stark reality for middle-aged women! Are you wondering why these women didn't just simply dye their hair, get contacts, and go on a little shopping spree?
This is a blog for middle-aged women, like me, who want to live a life of increased authenticity, and greater well-being, with fewer façades, less role-playing and a lot more fun. I chose a photo with myself and my son because he is my heart.
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