– DARA GOLDBERG
Fifteen years ago, everyone around me thought I was having a midlife crisis. And, I agreed with them.
If you looked at my life from the outside, you’d think I had everything going for me. A great career. Great colleagues. Amazing friends. A loving family. My own home. Good health. And, the list goes on from there.
But, on the inside, something had changed, and I was feeling antsy and dissatisfied, especially with my career.
The career I had cherished for almost 20 years was no longer lighting me up. I couldn’t focus, and my desire to do my work had all but vanished.
Even the prospect of seeing my beloved colleagues, who were (and still are) some of my best friends, wasn’t enough to make me want to go to work.
I felt lost. I felt scared. I felt ashamed and guilty. I felt mad at myself for feeling the way I was.
And, that when we do (naturally) grow and change in midlife, it must mean we are falling apart; we have lost our way; and we are clearly to blame.
But, growth is endless. Growth is ageless. Growth is part of the human condition. And, that is a beautiful thing.
I wasn’t having a midlife crisis. I wasn’t falling apart. I hadn’t done something wrong. I was growing and changing.
I W A S H A V I N G A M I D L I F E G R O W T H S P U R T.
The foundation I had built for meeting my carnal need for a sense of purpose and meaning in my life had shifted, and it was up to me to call it for the growth opportunity that it really was and figure out what will meet these needs moving forward.
- For starters, I gave myself permission to not have the answers. I gave myself permission to be in that uncomfortable in-between space where I am no longer who I have been, but I don’t yet know who I am becoming.
- I reframed my limiting and socially-imposed belief that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness and co-dependence. Instead, I chose to see it for what it really is, which is the embodiment of courage, self-awareness and knowing I matter.
This shift in my mindset also brought me to the harsh reality that if we keep what we’re experiencing a secret and don’t reach out for support, we are (without meaning to, of course) reinforcing the unfair societal myth that when women change in midlife and beyond, it’s a flaw within us.
- I listened to my intuition in a way I never had before. My heart too. I trusted them to guide me as much as and, at times, even more than my brain.
- I found excitement in the fact that our growth is endless. Developmental milestones aren’t just for kids!
- I worked very hard to be patient and compassionate with myself (something I didn’t develop the capacity to do until midlife).
- I reached out to and found incredible validation from other women in midlife and beyond who had or were currently going through something similar.
With all of this in place, I was ready to work through the tough and also exciting questions that my growth spurt was begging me to answer:
— ‘Who am I now?’
— What lights me up and gives me a sense of purpose now?
— What do I want my life to look like now?
— What do I want to add, change and/or shed?
— What will ensure I’m proud to call myself a woman in midlife and beyond?
I L E A N E D I N T O M Y M I D L I F E G R O W T H S P U R T.
I left my job–even though there were people close to me telling me that I was crazy to do so.
But, I deserved to make a change. I deserved to give love and life to the next iteration of the ‘Dara Package’, as I refer to it.
Ironically or not, my experience of thinking I was having a midlife crisis, and knowing that so many other women have a similarly scary and shame-filled experience, actually helped clarify for me the type of career pivot I could make that would give me the incredible sense of purpose, meaning and joy that it still does in droves today.
I created the Lovin’ Midlife Movement for Women to bring together and embolden other women in midlife and beyond to recognize and say NO to believing and falling victim to the many negative myths and misconceptions about women’s experience of midlife and beyond, and aging overall that we are all taught to believe from a very young age.
I truly believe that if we all come together as a unified force to be reckoned with, and share our voices far and wide, we really can get to the day when all women in midlife and beyond are proud to say they are in midlife and beyond, and the rest of the world believes us.
And, the concept of the midlife crisis will have been kicked to the curb once and for all.
Get in Touch with Dara Goldberg
Photography Grace Ginn Photography