Jane Fonda (one of my favourite midlife mentors) defines the “Second Act” as age 30-59. In her book, Prime Time, Jane writes:
During the middle to latter part of the Second Act, especially between the mid-forties and the mid-fifties, many women feel they’re losing control of life and have nothing to hold on to. I certainly felt this way. I call it the challenge of in-betweenness, and it’s scary. As Marilyn Ferguson has written, “It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear…It’s like being in between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.” How we handle our time between trapezes can determine much about how well we swing into the rest of our lives.
You know that dream…the one where you feel like you’re falling and you always wake up rather startled and surprised that nothing bad happened?
But what happens next in that dream?
- Did you grab the next bar?
- Did you fall flat on your face?
- Did you leap and suddenly a net appeared to catch you on the way down?
- Did that inner voice start shouting: “Hey, I can do this…I believe I can fly!”
Lately, I’ve been contemplating “in-betweenness.” Let’s face it. Perimenopause is the epitome of in-betweenness; midlife is full of in-betweens.
Do any of these apply to you right now:
- in between feeling shitty and asking for help?
- in between your last career and your next?
- in between the kids needing you and not needing you so much?
- in between wanting to be proactive with your own health and actually and actively doing something about it?
- in between being madly, passionately in love with your partner and scheduling time to work on your relationship?
- in between leaning on your parents and having them begin to lean on you?
- in between calling it quits and one of you moving out?
- in between the doctor’s appointment and the news?
- in between 49 and 50?
- in between no longer having a period and not yet reaching the one-year milestone?
- in between caring so much about what others think and knowing the only opinion that matters is yours?
- in between letting go and believing you can fly?
For me, my second act, thus far, has included a few of those “in-betweens” mentioned above, a lot of questioning and self-reflection…PLUS the perfect combination of believing I can fly + leaping and having a net (typically my wide range of friends and family) appear + grabbing the next bar right before I fall flat on my face! All those things are equal parts scary AND all those things are exhilarating and make me feel good inside.
This time has also included a period of “the future is calling”…the future is calling me to take MenopauseChicks.com to the next level. I don’t want to be Linus and miss the call because I’m stuck staring at my blanket spinning round and round in the dryer. I am ready to catch the next bar!