What Middle Aged Women Actually Worry About
Today I was searching for some indicator on Google about what women my age think about most of the time. What questions were they asking? And what keeps them up at night? What I found, when I put the question into google was dozens of articles written mostly by men advising on what middle aged women wanted sexually or from men. REALLY? That’s all you got Google? But then I came across this article buried a few pages back, from the Huffington Post written a few years ago by Lisa Solod and I lost it about half way through. Seriously bawling. So I felt that reaction needed some attention. Here’s what Lisa wrote about what we ‘middle aged’ women actually worry about. Let me know what you think.
She starts by saying… Sure, we pass by a mirror and sometimes don’t recognize ourselves. Yes, time is flying; it is fleeting and yes, our youth is long behind us. And, yes, many of us still work out and try and eat right and put on mascara before we leave the house. But what really concerns us? Lots of things that have nothing to do with men or whether they continue to desire us.
- If we have children, we care about getting them grown; if they are already grown, we care about keeping them safe. We care about our grandchildren born and the ones we wish for. We wonder what kind of world they will grow up in and when we look 100 years into the future we are terrified: by climate change and war, by famine and oppression, by injustice and inequality.
- If we have girls we worry about their safety. We wonder how much to teach them about the ugliness of the world, the cruelty of men and boys. We worry about how to protect them and arm them to protect themselves — without scaring them to death. If we have boys, we struggle with how to teach them respect and kindness and decency toward their own sex and the opposite one. We fear for the violence that is under the surface of all our children and we think about ways to tamp it down and give it constructive outlet.
- We care about our parents and how they are aging.We struggle with how to take care of them, if we can pay for their care, if they can live with us and not drive us crazy. We worry about their health and their meds. Some of us continue to try and make peace with our parents despite years of abuse or neglect.
- We worry about our old age.Will we have enough money to provide for us if we live another 30 or 40 years? Where would we like to live and how? Who, if anyone, will take care of us? If we are sick we wonder: will our family be able to go on without us? What joys will we miss by dying? How can we go with as little pain as possible. Will we inherit Alzheimer’s or heart disease or something else?
- We wonder about our partners.If they will live as long as we do. If we can sustain love and kindness for that long, if those partners will be there for us. Some of us are trying to leave old or tired or abusive relationships and we wonder: Can we make it alone at this age? What are our chances of finding companionship again? Or love? Or even one last grand passion? And if we find that grand last passion we will, yes, worry about how our bodies measure up; we will obsess, if only for a few weeks, about the way we may have aged. But then we will remember (our friends will remind us) that no one gets to be 42 or 52 or 62 without scars and bumps and wrinkles and lumps and stretch marks and age spots and that that person in bed next to us has the same fears and the same imperfections.
- We think about our friendsand how much we love them, how much we need them, how much we want to be there for them as they travel through middle age. We hope we can give them something of ourselves without using ourselves up. We hope they can cheerfully and kindly listen to us b*tch about our children and our parents and our partners and money and time and the world and that we can do the same for them. We worry about them getting sick and dying because we have been through that before, already, and it’s hard and sad and ugly.
- We wonder if we will have enough time to do the things we want to do, if we should change jobs or careers, start a business, or stay home and take care of our children and our parents. We think about books we would like to read and places we would like to see.
- And we worry about nameless, faceless fears, the ones that keep us up at night: the sudden storm or car accident or disease or attack which could in one fell swoop changes our lives overnight and forever.
And those are only the worries of the middle-class. Add to those worries poverty, prejudice, and wondering where our next meal might come from. How to pay the bills, who will take care of our kids when we go to work, if we can make that old car last a few more months or year. If we can see a doctor and pay for it.
So. Women worry about the future, money, children, friends, parents, work and life.
Women don’t worry about being screwable. We worry about being lovable: able to be loved, able to give love, able to maneuver in a world so lacking in it. Unless we are quite mad, we do not compare ourselves to movie stars or models.
In my experience over the past 25 years as a speaker I feel, we want to be heard, feel appreciated for the little things we bring to our families, relationships and our careers. We want to simply feel Alive while we still are.