Once upon a time in a land she didn’t love, our heroine woke up at 46 with single digits in her coffers, five stone over what the village physician deemed acceptable, without gainful employment from the local tradesmen, nary a sire seen for over a decade, and living in a village hut with her maternal guardian.
Wait. What? What books have I been reading? That’s definitely not a fairy tale I remember.
As a woman born in the late 1960s, I was raised on my share of Disney princess stories to fill my head with castles, ball gowns, charming princes, and singing animals. But what do you do when your real life looks more like a Brothers Grimm dark and twisted saga than the happily ever after promised by so many childhood cartoons?
You suck it up and realize your fairy godmother ain’t coming and get to fixing your own freakin’ life.
Yes, my mid-40s really did find me broke, fat, unemployed, perpetually single, and living with my mother.
Yes, my mid-40s really did find me broke, fat, unemployed, perpetually single, and living with my mother. All was not lost though, I did have one bright area in an amazing kid who was kicking ass at life, living his dreams, and taking names. Did successful living skip a generation in our family? Surely if I raised a child who was self-sufficient and able to go after his dreams I could conjure some of that magic into my own life, right? Right? Please, please, please, please, please say yes.
I can tell you the exact date I began to turn my life around: August 5, 2016.
Michaels craft store sent an email coupon on my half-birthday celebrating, you guessed it, my half-birthday. There it was in its glaring email glory, “Happy Half Birthday, Allison!” Wait. It’s my half-birthday? That means…I’m 48 AND A HALF??? Do you know what that makes me? A year and a half away from 50.
Fifty. That no woman’s land of officially being old. A desert wasteland where you live out your days quietly fading into the background. Where wrinkles grow exponentially, pointing out that you are no longer viable as a fertile female within the human race. That your value has slipped away with your elastic skin, thin waist, and cellulite-free thighs.
Okay, maybe that’s a wee bit dramatic. But if we look today for stories of midlife women who feel vibrant and sexy, started a successful career, made sweeping changes in the way they lived, or just simply adored the crap out of their life, we begin to think that a fairy tale may be the only place to find it.
It didn’t matter that most of what I heard about middle age were disenchanted tales of crises and empty nests, I was going to write my own story about a badass woman who made a brilliant life she loved.
Sitting in my car in that Michaels parking lot, I bippity-boppity-booped myself in the ass and decided that my life was not going to continue as it was. It didn’t matter that most of what I heard about middle age were disenchanted tales of crises and empty nests, I was going to write my own story about a badass woman who made a brilliant life she loved living in a way she never had.
Wave the sparkly wand and throw glitter in the air, or what I did to turn my life from tragic to magic:
- Owned it: I took responsibility for absolutely everything in my life. Every belief, thought, action, and reaction were mine and mine alone. If there something I didn’t love it was up to me to change it.
- Loved it: I figured out what I truly loved. Not what I loved to make someone else happy. Not what society told me I should love. Not things loving would make easier. What I loved. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. If it lit up my soul. It if made me giggle. If it put a spark in my eye.
- Slayed it: The fear, the confusion, the doubt. I put on my armor and stepped into the battle every day to live the life I wanted. Showing up ready to fight for what you want wins the war.
I’m not going to tell you it was easy. It wasn’t. Change is hard. It’s a process. It’s messy. I will tell you it’s worth it. One thousand times over. I will tell you it’s possible. Absolutely.
If life isn’t where you wanted it to be at 50, or 45, or 68, change it. You have that power. You have that magic.
Yes, I turned 50 this year. And I f*cking love it. Truly. Madly. Deeply. I found out that at this age I could look in the mirror and cherish the woman staring back at me. That I could build a career that I loved for the first time ever. That I could shape my life to look completely different than it ever had. That I could write my own happy ending. No fairy godmother needed.