Every week for the past 6 years, a group of women who are part of my spiritual community in California checkin with each other by email. These checkins are an honest account of what’s happening in our inner life. These include challenges we are coming up against and how this is relating to our life and where we feel stuck and see ourselves shifting and growing.
It’s not an account for what’s happening on an outer level, the day-to-day stuff, but rather an honest account for our inner experience as a human being.
A few weeks ago, a dear friend wrote this checkin about her experience as a middle age woman. I haven’t been able to shake the discrepancy between what I see and what she and so many other women feel and experience during this time in their lives.
She wrote as part of her checkin, “I see the ways my body has changed (skin that is dry, wrinkled, sagging in places; hair thinning, dry, dull, frizzy; fat in places I never had fat before) and to be completely honest with you I’m sometimes repulsed by what I see. So no wonder I believe that men are repulsed too or at least simply don’t look at me. Plus, I’m bored with myself and my rat race, boringly predictable, no fun life. Who is going to want to join in on that?”
Let me say that from my seat, what I see is a beautiful and confident woman and that’s the discrepancy that I feel across the board with middle age women.
What I see are women who have experienced life. Who have weathered many storms, who have endured the arduous experience of raising a family, who have often sacrificed themselves for others, who have questioned their purpose at times but persevered, who have gone through many transitions and yes, have watched their body change.
And they are still standing, still doing the best they can to find meaning and joy in their days.
I had a conversation with my 9-year-old daughter a few weeks ago about how her body is changing (she too is struggling with it) and I thought to myself that the relationship we have with our body starts so young and really never ends.
I am 42-years-old and only started to experience certain changes in my body so I don’t really know what it’s like to go through midlife changes.
But from my vantage point, I see wise women. Women who have endured. Women who are strong. Women whom I admire.