MIDLIFE - FROM INVISIBLE TO FULL ON

Midlife - what happened to make the pendulum swing from invisible to full steam ahead?

MIDLIFE - THINGS HAVE CHANGED

Another of the questions I've been asking myself lately is why has the Midlife pendulum swung so far? It seems in the last decade or so we've gone from completely invisible to being gung-ho and full speed ahead. 

Have you noticed that every Midlifer seems to be on an adventure? They are traipsing all over the world, running marathons, writing blogs, starting new businesses, throwing big birthday parties, and generally living life on a large scale.

WHERE HAVE THE CHANGES COME FROM?

It wasn't all that long ago that Midlifers were complaining about being invisible - you can read hundreds of articles on how we disappear as we age. But over the last decade or so we've had a resurgence and everyone seems to be out there doing interesting stuff and sharing it on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for the world to see.

I was talking to my husband about this the other day and we came up with three simple reasons for the change that's occurred in our age demographic. I'm sure there are more factors, but these were the three we came up with.....

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." - Oprah Winfrey

MONEY

Midlifers seem to have more expendable income on hand these days. Most have worked for several decades and with the kids off their hands, they find they have quite a bit of spare cash floating around and are looking for ways to enjoy it. 

The temptation is to stash it away for retirement, or to leave it to the kids when we go, but I think there is a little bit of the YOLO mentality in our generation and we all want to enjoy the fruits of our labour rather than putting it all away for a rainy day. 

It might mean that we have a regular date night, or a weekend away, or better still...that trip overseas that we've been coveting all our lives. We couldn't afford to take the whole family, but with only two of us to pay for, it becomes very do-able.

HEALTH

Midlifers are probably the healthiest we've ever been for this age and stage. We eat sensibly (most of the time), we make sure we're doing some regular exercise, and we still feel like we're in our 30's. Why not make the most of this time of life before our health starts to deteriorate?

It's inevitable that the ageing process will catch up with us eventually, so we're seizing the day and doing the stuff we want to before it's too late. We've all heard stories of the person who waited to do their living when they retired and then found it was too late because their health failed them - and we don't want that to be us!

SOCIAL MEDIA

Ahhhh.....that amazing invention that puts our lives on display for all to see. Most of us got our social media happening when our kids were updating their lives online. We wanted to keep an eye on them and stay connected, so we signed up for Facebook. The interesting thing is that our adult kids seem to have moved on and don't use their social media all that often, but we are out there sharing all our experiences with our friends and loving the social side of it.

I see travel pictures, grandbaby pictures, Mother of the Bride and wedding pictures, anniversary pictures, new pet pictures, restaurant pictures, weekend away pictures, and the list goes on. We'd never have known how busy everyone was if it wasn't for the immediacy of social media and our generation is utilizing it to the full.

ARE YOU INVISIBLE OR FULL ON?

I'm hoping there's a happy medium between fading into the background and having the need to be living every moment of life full steam ahead. I must admit I love that Midlife has become interesting, that we're doing more and experiencing more and life hasn't stopped. I'm so glad we're not invisible and we're making the most of this fantastic stage.

Do you have plans for the next few years? Are you off on a trip? Starting a new business venture? Selling the house? Taking up a gym membership? Discovering a new hobby? Isn't it a great time to be alive?!

Midlife - what happened to make the pendulum swing from invisible to full steam ahead?

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45 comments

  1. I agree with all of these reasons. I also think that more of us are choosing not to be invisible. We're not waiting for people to notice us - and we're not caring so much if they don't. Here's to us.

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  2. I totally agree Jo - I love that we are bright and bold and happy to do our own thing without having to be validated by others - Midlife Rocks doesn't it?

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  3. I still feel invisible, and I hate it. I think my own lifestyle is probably contributing to it, but it's not just that. At work I'm just one of many minions, totally unappreciated or actually taken into consideration. At home I'm either Mum or Daughter. I don't socialise any more, and that's been a long time in the making, with a whole bunch of anxiety and not being able to drive in the dark and just a bunch of stuff. I'm a single parent, most people I know my age are in long-term marriages, we just have sweet FA in common. I'm working on it... by blogging and getting some of my thoughts out there. So yeah, I feel pretty much invisible, but inside there's something just bursting to get out. Like I said, I'm working on it. Txxx

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    1. You know something Tara - I used to feel a lot of the things you just wrote - and that was a few years ago (around about when I turned 50) dead end job, no appreciation, kids grown and flown and uninterested, very few friends who "got" me, etc etc. I think blogging was the biggest boost for me - it just lifted my spirits and made me realize that we stil have so much to gain and to contribute - looking forward to seeing you discover it too xx

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  4. I think your last point (in the comments) is the real answer, Leanne. I'm into the age where I am retired, finances are not abundant, etc. But my blogging, writing, and card making keep me so busy I don't have time to grow old. (No matter what my kids think!) :-) The results of last week's survey

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    1. You're right Shirley - I think we make our own Midlife what it is. You don't have to have buckets of money, just a positive attitude and the desire to fill your life with things that interest you.

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  5. Great article! I think one of the reasons I started blogging was to avoid feeling invisible. Also, to help me define my identity besides wife and mother.

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    1. Blogging has been a godsend for me in the whole area of realizing I'm not invisible and I have something worthwhile still left to contribute Julie - I'm so glad you've discovered the same benefits :)

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  6. Travel definitely! Maybe we'll even get round to your neck of the woods! :)

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    1. I'll have the guest bedroom and bathroom primed and ready for your visit Diane :)

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  7. This is great, Leanne. I couldn't help laugh over your Facebook comment. Yes, we all got on FB to follow our kids. Now they're off and we now follow each other! I love it.

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    1. I thought they'd be as fond of Facebook as we are Laurie but they seem to have moved on with their busy lives and aren't interested in it any more - lucky we have all our Midlife friends updating their lives or we'd have nothing to read!

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  8. Hi, Leanne / I agree with you and many of your commenters. There's so much to share in midlife and opportunity abounds. I don't feel invisible at all!

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    1. I think we're so fortunate to live in a time where we don't have to fade into the background Donna - we can live full and interesting lives and enjoy the decades still to come.

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  9. I guess you could say I'm full on, off and on. Sometimes life is very full, active and exciting. Sometimes I'm enjoying a quiet time at home. Either way, I agree with everything you've written - we seem to have more opportunity to live life to its fullest. What a great season of life we're in!

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    1. It is a great stage of life isn't it Melody? And I'm with you in wanting somewhere in between full blast and nothing - or maybe just sliding between the two so I don't exhaust myself :)

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  10. I so agree Leanne. Midlife in the 2000's is a time of liberation and a stage in life we should embrace if we are able. I think there has been a big mindshift in the last 10 years, and less and less do we feel invisible. More and more do we feel empowered, and we just need to seize the day, as you say, and make the most of everything before our health declines, as it inevitably will one way or another. Great post to remind us to get up, get out, and get on with living life to the full :)

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    1. I'm so glad to be alive at this age and stage in the 2000's Jo - imagine being stuck back in the days when you were officially old once you were 50? We'd have missed out on so much!

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  11. Great points Leanne and so true! With knowledge comes power...so these days we take better care of ourselves and are therefore healthier (hopefully). We realise that our life on this earth is finite and we want to make the most of our time while we are still healthy and able to. Then there is social media where we can share away! I am not invisible. I refuse to be invisible. However, I don't live life in a grand scale way. I love that at this stage of our lives we CAN make ourselves a priority. About time don't you think?! :-) #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I'm the same Min - I'm not living a life of wealth and luxury, but I'm loving the freedom and the choices that I have these days. The sheer pleasure of being able to focus on what is important to me is the key these days - and just chilling out is lovely - there seems to be a lot less responsibility in my 50's!

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  12. I do think you're right, Leanne!! Especially about the social media. It can be so inspirational to see what others are doing and living!!
    Let's be full on!!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. I think Facebook has become my window into my friends' lives Jodie - I don't always want what they're having, but I can enjoy it vicariously and be happy for them. I love that we all have different priorities, but also the time and ability to do something about it.

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  13. I remember my Mum complaining about being invisible, but I've yet to feel that way now that I'm in my 50's. I just go about my business, doing the things I want and love to do. I enjoy social media most of the time, but sometimes need a break from it when it becomes a bit of a lifestyle competition (that's not my style) :) #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I'm the same with Facebook Lyndall - I'll unfollow someone for a while if I feel too overwhelmed by their "perfect life" but I also love that my life is pretty much how I want it to be - and I'm certainly not fading into the background!

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  14. I'm so encouraged Leanne by the number of women in midlife who are coming into their own. I know when I turned 50 it was a positive turning point for me and now at 60 I'm not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Social media can be a positive influence but sometimes you have to take it with a grain of salt. I'm looking forward to being fit and active and enjoying life for hopefully many more years.

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    1. You are my inspiration Sue - you are only a few years ahead of me, but going into a new decade with so much zest is what keeps me on my toes! I love that we get to choose how we live this stage of our lives and we don't have to fit into anyone else's boxes.

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  15. I think the social media thing has played a huge role - in terms of the visibility of we mid-lifers. I think the world is a really different place to my mum's era or my grandparents'. They were sometimes old before their time and living beyond 60 (AND having some quality of life) was seen to be a good thing.

    As a Gen-Xer my expectations (re life and my rights etc) are probably higher than my mother's ever were and so I'm continuing to live as if I'm deserving of my spot in society and as if I have a LOOOOONG time ahead of me yet. #teamlovinlife

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    1. I think that's part of it Deb - we're out there working, shopping, travelling, socializing, and not slowing down. I think previous generations closed themselves off and stayed home and became "old". We seem to be bucking that trend - and it's a great way to spend the next couple of decades!

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  16. Such a great post Leanne and I agree with your thoughts as to why its the case these days. I also choose not to be invisible and that certainly helps. In my case I have retired at an early age and can do so many things now, when I want and I love sharing them with everyone on social media and my blog. It's a great time to be alive.

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    1. Even a decade ago retirement would have meant a totally different life to what we can choose to have these days Deb. I look at how much there is for us to do and how we still stay relevant - it's such a blessing and I think it'll keep us younger longer than our predecessors.

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  17. Clicked over from the Blogger's Bash to this great post.

    I also think that the feminist movement deserves a hand for shaping expectations for woman, mid-life and older: i.e., that more women feel entitled to live *their* lives vs. the days when roles were defined more strictly (i.e., Mrs. "Husband" or somebody's mother)

    Altho' we still have more than a little catch-up to do, careers for women who want them are broader in scope and the pay is better, increasing discretionary spending quite a bit for activities, travel and other experiences. (which links to your first point).
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie - ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    "It takes a village to transform a world!

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    1. I think you're right Madelyn - we take so much for granted these days that women were fighting for only a decade or so age. I remember when it was quite a big deal to have a working mother - now we're all out there working and spending and living bigger lives - we are certainly reaping the benefits of the work those women did for us!

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  18. Yes it certainly is a great time to be alive Leanne!I think it's about living life with purpose and intention now and not getting caught in the 'when-then' trap eg when I retire, then I'll pursue this hobby, or go on that holiday.

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    1. I'm the same - I'm also trying harder not to keep everything tucked away for that elusive rainy day - sometimes you need to live a little now or you lose your joy.

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  19. Midlife has definitely changed. I caught an episode of "Are You Being Served" on telly yesterday and they were celebrating Mrs Slocombe's 50th birthday. She was an "old" lady when I watched it as a youngster (most of the innuendo went right over my head), and she still looks "old" in the show to me today. There is nothing there as a fellow 50 year old that I can relate to!

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    1. Wow! I didn't realize she was only 50 Janet - that is such an eye opener because she was definitely the "old lady" character in the series. Imagine what a 50 year old in retail would think say about looking like that today!

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  20. Social media has certainly boosted the need to "keep up with the Joneses"! Thanks for sharing at The Blogger's Pit Stop! Roseann from www.thisautoimmunelife.com

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    1. I think we have to find our balance with social media don't we Roseann? It can bring so much joy if we use it right but so much envy and disappointment if we start over-comparing our lives with others.

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  21. I definitely can see the tilt of mid life heading towards living life at it fullest. I agree with you that its our health, money and the social media. Our attitudes seem different than say my grandmothers did. We want more and we don't let anything get in our way. My mother is 74 and is doing , going wherever whenever she wants. I don't think of her as 74 but my Mom who has always had a zest for life.

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    1. My mum is full on too Carrie - she is such an example to me of living life to its fullest (she's 75) I hope I can have the same zest as she does in 20 years time. I also hope I have enough health and money to not be a miserable old lady huddled under a lap rug and grumbling about life!

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  22. I'm one to "live life on purpose". I hope that doesn't change as I continue to age.
    #teamlovinlife

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    1. What a great mantra Leanne - I think living life on purpose is exactly what Midlife should be all about - I'm adding it to my list of things to remember.

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  23. Leanne, I have seen you grow and expand as a blogger and as a person over the last few years. I have learned a lot from reading your blog that has enhanced my own life and I thank you for that.
    This post will be featured on the Blogger's Pit Stop
    Kathleen

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    1. Kathleen that was such a lovely thing to say - I felt all warm and fuzzy from your kind words :) And thank you for the feature on the Pit Stop - it is my all time favourite linky xx

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  24. I am totally full on. I refuse to hide from life.

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