What [Middle Years] Women Want
Having written numerous articles and Your Middle Years book with dietitian Paula Mee (Gill Books, 2016), I think I now have a good idea what we midlife women are continually striving for. Through the pages of Your Middle Years, Paula and I discuss, based on a combination of the latest scientific research and our joint personal experiences, the key issues facing women as they grow older - from nutrition and weight gain (occasionally profound weight loss) to body image, skincare, libido, movement, sleep deprivation and mental health.
Navigating Your Middle Years
We know there is no roadmap for what can be quite a turbulent transition with over 40 recognised perimenopause/menopause symptoms that many women have to deal with on a daily basis - that’s in addition to the demands of daily iife as we know it and can often last for some years. This said, here lies the opportunity to truly embrace the next chapter and make it our best yet - yes it sounds idealistic, but it really is the only way forward if we want to make the most of our great lives.
If we give ourselves permission to accept ourselves and our bodies for the great beauties that they are, and no longer live in that perfect ideal of what Buddhist teacher, Tara Brach calls the “if only mind” then we have the best chance of making our next chapter the best yet.
If only Mind….
‘A mind that is never satisfied with the present moment and is constantly questioning ‘if only we were healthier, thinner, richer, more successful, more appreciated. If only we had the perfect partner, a better job, bigger kitchen - we would be happy and well,’ Brach describes this all-too-common mindset. For many of us our sense of wellbeing lies somewhere in the future, relying on external circumstances going right, be it the state of our finances, our physical health or the quality of our relationships being exactly as we want them. Until we move on from this mindset we will never find real happiness - which in truth lies inside all of us.
This Girl is on Fire
A recent girlie lunch in Dublin with Andrea McLean, TV presenter, author and anchor of ITV lunchtime show Loose Women, regarding her book Confessions of a Menopausal Woman reaffirms this . “I may be half way through [my life], but I am not halfway done,” she said. “I decided to challenge myself to say yes to every opportunity that came my way and frightened me, that pushed me out of my comfort zone or deep down I didn’t think I could do it. That shift in attitude was a game changer for me. I don’t want to waste a single day thinking ‘If only…’ or having a regret about something that was perfectly within my grasp if I put my mind and body to it. Whilst it may be hard work, I believe if you want something badly enough, you can find a way to achieve it.”
McLean created This Girl is on Fire to give every woman the inspiration, tools and knowledge they need to be the best versions of themselves. “Don’t live your life thinking ‘If only I had given it a go, if only I was healthier, if I had a happier relationship…’- all of these things are within our control,” she adds.
McLean is brave, gutsy, fun and living her middle years as we all should….with a sense of joy and vitality and not overly caring what others may think. “Some bits will turn you upside down, and some twists and turns you won’t see coming, but it all all be fine in the end,” she adds.
And yes reader - it is and it is even better!