February 8, 2012Midlife Changes - Listeners tell their stories
When asked, "What's the most important change you made in your life once you hit your mid 40s or 50s? How did it turn out?" many listeners submitted their stories. Here are only a few:
The most important change I have made after 40 is to be nicer every day to my husband and children. Now, I truly am a fairly nice person by most standards; however, life with 3 active children can be hectic at times. While I hug, kiss, and tell them I love them every day, I also have a bit of reprimanding and fussing thrown into the mix. The older I get, the easier it is to see how lives change in an instant, and we are not promised one more moment, much less one more day. Therefore, I have tried to overlook more "situations" and have more fun with my family. I would hate to being taken away tomorrow with their last memories of me being nagging and fussing!
How is it working out, you ask? Well, I am a work in progress, but I do feel like this decision helps me to live more consciously. I am doing a better job at expressing gratitude and not taking things for granted.
When I reached the ripe old age of 44, I faced some difficult truths about myself. I had made a mistake marrying someone hoping "he'd change", and had danced around that fact for the past fourteen years. I also had not realized I was pretending to disdain what I did truly dream for (family life) so my fellow career-women would not look down upon me.
I threw it all over, and honestly the moment I did, I became ME. I said to myself I would rather be alone than be like married roommates ever again.
The week my "Three A's" (addict, adulterer, abuser) ex moved out, I met the man who would later become my loving, sweet, manly, honorable, home-loving husband. I wasn't even looking, though I said to myself if I ever did marry again, it would be to man who met my very strict requirements. This man was all that and more.
I was extremely cautious, but with that one door closing, a new one opened, and I now have home and family and more love and belonging than I dreamed of. Others might see "housewife", but when I look in my mirror I see a woman who is needed, appreciated and treasured. I matter to my family and I love them more than anything.
Hi Dr. L:
I had long prayed for a kid and prayed that God would allow me to 'work around my kid's schedule', not the other way around. Well, I was 35 when I gave birth (after losing 2 pregnancies), and I was so thankful. I was also working in a 'good government job,' had been promoted to manager and making a pretty good salary for my age/time at this agency. In fact, I found out I was pregnant about one week before I walked across the stage to accept my Master's of Arts degree. Go figure, right? God does have a sense of humor, because, although I still wanted a child, I had sort of 'accepted' I would probably not carry any to term.
Needless to say, I did not want to go back to work. I thoroughly enjoyed raising my own kid, as tiring as it was. My daughter was/is a 'mommy's girl. When I did go back to work, I was 'thankful', (but guilty) that my kid's god-parents had an in-home day care and my kid loved being with them and their family anyway. I made an effort to leave work on the dot and once I picked her up (they only live around the corner from us), we were always together, including weekends. The rule I had was, 'since I HAD to work 40 hr weeks, on the weekends, if my kid could not go with me wherever I went, then I could not go, either.' This worked for a while, as long as I had some 'flexibility' in my work schedule and as long as I pushed aside the guilt I was still feeling.
Fast forward: Of course, things change. The 'flexibility' at work began to be reduced more and more gradually. The workload increased, my daughter was growing, I was tired, torn, and more miserable at work. I was sick of having to put everything off until the weekends, only to not be able to get done much of what needed to be done, including child/family activities, etc. Then, worst of all, because of my job, I had to find someone to take my daughter to school and/or pick her up-which wasn't consistent.
One day, when my daughter was almost 4, she asked me, "Mommy, who's picking me up tomorrow?" She said it innocently enough, but, I thought, "If she is asking this at four, then she must have some concerns, angst, etc," about this, too. That did it for me. I began to pray more and pretty much the only thing God brought back to my memory were the prayers I prayed, and it was as if I heard God ask me, "Are you going to trust ME, since I gave you this child, or are you going to live in fear of not having money, because you are 'comfortable' with the salary you are earning?"
Well, since I'm writing you, you can guess what I did. After about 6 more months, I paid off some debt, prayed, talked to my husband, and realized I was responsible for the health, welfare, and rearing of another human, dependant life, of whom I would kill for, if necessary. I resigned from my 'good government job,' and I haven't looked back since, in spite of some goofy remarks from family.
The most important change I have made is to RELAX. I have been in law enforcement 30 years and I have had to make a great effort to take time to enjoy my boyfriend/husband, kids and grandkids. I am so glad I did that. What I would have missed.
The most important change I made in my mid-40's...
…was becoming my husband's girlfriend. My husband and I already had what we'd both describe as a really good marriage of 20+ years. Then we started listening to EVERY hour of your program via Podcast, often together while we were cooking dinner or doing household chores that would otherwise seem tedious. We would pause for discussion when a caller's dilemma touched home or made us want to ask each other a similar question. Just this made us grow closer.
Then I read the Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. It opened my eyes to what my husband was SETTLING with in ME! I have a lot of anxiety "issues" and he was always the one I could let loose on knowing he'd be there forever no matter how I treated him. And you know what? He would have. And that's why he deserved me to stop EVER treating him that way, no matter what I was dealing with. Since reading that book and taking much of what you have said over the years to heart, my honey and I have a level of closeness and trust I couldn't have imagined between 2 people in separate bodies. Our love, and every facet of our lives, have a level of depth I never thought imaginable until I began trusting my man 100%, and gave him every reason to trust me 100%.
Thanks Dr. Laura. If there were such a thing as a "Mid-life Crisis," your presence in our lives thwarted ours!
Dear Dr. Laura
The color of my midlife crisis is blue and white After a very challenging 5 years - breast cancer, double mastectomy, oophorectomy - I faced my terror of flight. After everything else I figured learning to fly would be easy. Long story short I am a licensed pilot and bought an airplane. Since I don't have children, I want to somehow make a difference with this blessing of flight. Not sure how to do it but " will show the way. Besides, how many frum female pilots are out there?
Thank you for being there over the years.
No crisis… You just wake up one day and realize that you can buy that car you always wanted.
You realize there's a lot more to life and you want to try something else. (I started Shaolin Kung Fu at 51)
You're tired of the BS you've been tolerating for years and realize you can stand up for yourself for once.
It's not a crisis, it's a choice.
Hello Dr. Laura -
My change was huge - I got married for the first time at 46! I married a retired Marine who was my pen pal during Desert Storm.
Apart from being responsible for myself, pets, job, etc., I had never had to put anyone else first and I really enjoyed doing that from the very beginning. We are still married; it will be 20 years this June. We have had our ups and downs, but it is wonderful to have someone firmly "in my corner". He would swim through shark infested waters to get me a lemonade without a blink. He is my hero and I tell him that all the time.
With warm regards,
Posted by Staff at 2:22 PM