Are you asking and wondering “Schmidlifer?” That’s what I call all who are raising the middle finger to the negative cloud hanging over transitions that happen during midlife. You know, everything from being over the hill, experiencing empty nest, being in the sandwich generation to the Thesaurus.com synonym of midlife as being “the wrong side of 40.”
I’m Liz Applegate, a 51-year-old (almost) empty-nester who had major life transition in my 40’s.
It may look as if I have this midlife stuff figured out but in fact, I experienced what I call “my unraveling” about seven years ago.
You see, my oldest graduated high school and was headed off to college. With my two younger sons soon to follow, I knew my life was in the midst of dramatic change – and I wasn’t prepared.
Who was I when I wasn’t their mother in their day-to-day lives? Who was I now that “this” phase of my life, a phase that seemed just as dramatic as becoming a mother 18 years ago, was ending? I began to question my career, my relationships, and even my mortality.
Soon came other changes, like a near-emergency full hysterectomy that plunged me into full-blown menopause at the age of 46. And then, heartbreakingly, I ended my relationship with my mom when I realized that I couldn’t keep returning with hope only to be torn down with accusations and an inability to want to mend a hurtful past.
I like to joke that my mid-40’s was my “Red Wine and Chocolate Phase,” but in reality, I felt very alone and it didn’t feel like a joke.
I came to realize that the messages about midlife that I had received from society as well as examples from my family didn’t need to be my realities. I had a choice: stay stuck in my grief or mend, heal and embrace the gift of this new place.
And that’s what I chose.
Slowly, with counseling and life coaching, I recreated the life I wanted to live. I began looking at dreams long forgotten, those “maybe someday’s” I had pushed aside and took steps to make them a reality. I became a CLCC Certified Courageous Living Coach and started to see that I still had so much more to give and enjoy. I embraced my flaws, my changing body, and learned to heal those broken places inside that I never admitted to myself. I was becoming who I was meant to be and most of all, I wanted to help others experience the same.
Maybe you can relate to parts of my story, or maybe you realize there is a transition happening in your life. What I do want you to know is that I created my coaching practice, this website, the Midlife Schmidlife podcast and Schmidlife Sisterhood Facebook Community for you. These help you connect and redefine your middle years. It’s a place of inspiration and support but also a space for laughter and getting real.
I consider myself a second-chance enthusiast and a positive change facilitator. It’s my passion to help redefine the messages we’ve been receiving about aging. You don’t need permission from anyone but yourself to change careers, get a tattoo, voice our opinion, start a business or anything else you’ve been dreaming of. It’s up to us to examine the “should’s” we carry around and the “stories” we tell ourselves. It’s time to step fully into our strengths and love ourselves like we may never have before.
Midlife (at whatever age, even if you aren’t ready to define it) is the new 30, just with a whole ‘lotta wisdom.
A little more about me…
On any given day, you can catch me listening to epic ’70s love songs or do-wopping with ’50s hits, reading to Vivaldi, belting out a Katy Perry tune or dancing in the kitchen to ’80s favorites. Just like my varying music tastes, I’m discovering spiritual teachings beyond my Christian background. There is no wisdom teaching that I will ignore. I’m spiritual mixed with a little woo-woo.
Over the course of my life, I’ve accepted my calling: to help others, especially women over the age of 40, gain confidence in their own abilities and dreams.
What else about me?
- I’m an XNFP, with an equally balanced extroverted and introverted characteristics. (Any other ambiverts out there?)
- I was honored to be chosen to be part of the CLCC leadership team as a mentor coach for the 2016 and 2017 classes.
- I’m an optimist with realist tendencies. Which, at times. comes across in my sarcastic sense of humor.
- I often laugh at things that others don’t see the humor in – particularly my own silly mistakes and clumsiness.
- I’m an animal lover and have always dreamed of having an animal sanctuary.
- I collect all-things penguins.
- I don’t believe in acting or dressing my age.
- I crave being in nature but am guilty of not making the time to leave my North Texas Concrete Jungle.
- I have a passion for learning and an ease around technology.
- I see my life (and yours!) as a journey where one opportunity has always led to another.
- My superpowers are empathy and compassion – though for many years, they seemed to be my Kryptonite.
- I believe we all are gifted with passions that are to serve others.
- I believe the old rules of how we should be “good girls” keeps us playing small.
- I also believe the world needs you to bring forth that “thing” that has always stirred inside of you but you have put off until the time is right.
- I believe the time is right.