Now that the fog is clearing from the brain after the rigours of studying full-time for a year, I have come back to work with an attitude taken from Suzanne Braun Levine’s lovely book, “The Woman’s Guide to Second Adulthood.” Her guidelines are simple: what matters, what works, what’s next? We have to constantly review where we are up to in our lives, careers, relationships and check that we are still getting something meaningful from the work and everything else that we do. If not, it’s time to stand back, challenge the status quo, and renegotiate until there is a better fit between the inside and the outside of ourselves.
For women particularly, I think a lot of what we do can be driven by other people’s needs – parents, partners, children, work colleagues – we seem to march to the beat of someone else’s drum a lot of our lives. Suddenly we arrive in middle age and experience a disconnection between where we are and who we are. As Braun Levine puts it, “you’re not who you were, only older.” You have morphed into quite a different creature and nothing quite fits any more. This ‘neutral zone’ (William Bridges, ‘Transitions’) is certainly an uncomfortable place, but getting clarity can lead to some amazing and radical changes in ‘second adulthood’.