Interview with Mel
1. Firstly, what conflicting thoughts did you battle while approaching midlife and beyond?
It was a battlefield for sure. But one that I ambled through more so than consciously approached. Turns out that turning 50 was more than a cultural milestone. It was a turning point – towards and away from everything I’d imagined my midlife would be. My first son left the nest, I underwent breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, my role in my marriage begin to shift, my vision of the coming years began to change – dramatically. I really had to sit back, take months of deep breaths and decide what exactly I expected from myself in the coming years.
2. What are the positives of midlife and beyond?
Oh my gosh – it’s all positive! I am at a place where I can honestly say that I’m good with it all – what comes, what doesn’t – who is and who isn’t a part of my life. There is a beautiful, overwhelming sense of peace that comes from reaching a point in your life when you are comfortable with who you are. Quite frankly, that calm provides the space for you to become so much more than you ever dreamed possible.
3. What are the challenges?
I am still that twenty-year-old girl who wants to run the world. So, along with the peace that comes in accepting and appreciating all that I am, I feel a sense of urgency as well, a slipping away of time and opportunity.
My challenge there is not to focus on what may not materialize, but to simply keep moving forward. And then there are the physical changes! I most definitely am NOT that twenty-year-old girl anymore!
4. What strategies do you use to overcome the challenges?
I move! Physically, emotionally and spiritually. Working out is a source of joy for me as well a necessity. Mediation has become a vital part of my daily life. As a writer, I spend an inordinate amount of time in my head, mediation allows me to truly quiet down my mind. – at times kicking and screaming all the way – but eventually she does settle down! Reading, learning, experiencing “new” on every level is a way that I embrace my ever-changing world.
5. What words of wisdom would you have for the younger generations or your younger self?
That you can create the life you dream of, but it will take more time than you imagine, more work than you think, and more patience than you allow yourself. And MOST importantly, don’t worry about it. Any of it, any of them. People, opportunities will come and go – stay true to yourself, believe in yourself.
6. How important are your female friends and why?
More important now than ever. I think there is a collective understanding that we can be with each other without needing each other. In large part because of our shared life experiences, and I treasure the loving friendships. There is a comfort in knowing you’ve got a friend who ‘gets’ it – all of it. Or at least enough of it to weather your downs and celebrate your ups.
7. What attributes would you want in a romantic partner?
A sense of ‘fitting’ – just enough so the edges that differentiate us all connect. Not so tightly that I feel a loss of who I am, but securely enough that I know I’ve got a partner who encourages, appreciates and respects me. Above and beyond the woman who is their partner. My husband is about as close to this perfect vision as can be – I am blessed.
8. What do you find most fulfilling at this stage of life?
The ability to pursue the things that make me feel alive, relevant. I’ve met the most incredible women since launching my first novel. This writing journey – getting to do, every day, what I’ve loved my entire life and now to create opportunities for others, is my dream come true.
9. What fears do you have and what do you do to move past them?
I’ve been thinking of this so much lately – the idea that “this is it”. And while the logical, grownup me knows that life is in fact a finite matter, the idealistic child in me still questions – what if? What if it’s all gone in that proverbial second. Health, well-being – life as I know and love today. It’s happening in a myriad of ways around me, friends passing unexpectedly, others suffering unimaginable trauma and life-altering situations. I stop myself when I feel the voices of fear and anxiety getting too strong. I turn down the volume and refocus on my now – my power to manage and embrace the present.
10. Style is a reflection of who you are. What style reflects you?
Eclectic, casual and sexy. Black and denim are my staples. Quality fabric and design are essential. There is a confidence and comfort that comes when I put something on that I feel really great in, I won’t trade that for trend. Shoes, however, are my kryptonite. Valentino, Aquazzura and Laurent are my absolute favorites. And boots – never enough boots!