Why I’m handing back my Midlife membership card

In a few days I will turn 51. It is not a momentous birthday like my last one (and I’m not in KL to celebrate it sadly), but I have come to a significant understanding — I am not cut out to be a Midlife Lady — at least not the type I sometimes encounter online.

Here are seven reasons why I am handing back my Midlife membership card:

1 • I don’t have kids or grandkids – my nest has always been empty

Midlife women talk about their kids going off to college, their kids having babies, their kids doing all manner of things. Mostly it’s under the guise of handing out sage advice — stuff I would think is common sense (like wash your sheets and eat your vegetables) but apparently young people need this reminder.

I have limited experience with children so my only advice for people younger than me is don’t get married and have your own bank account.

2 • I’m not in a long-term relationship

Midlife women talk about the lessons they have learned from being married to the same guy for a bazillion years. It’s usually stuff about compromise with a dash of self-sacrifice.

The only lesson I learned from my moderately long marriage of fifteen years is leave sooner rather than later, or don’t get married at all (see above).

3 • I’m not obsessed with food and/or exercise

Midlife women like to remind each other that eating healthy and going to the gym are the secret to warding off illness and wrinkles. Having dedicated more than five years to strict dieting and punishing exercise, I feel as though I’ve already done enough of that shit.

I take the opposite view – life is too short to NOT eat the cheesecake and I’d rather stay in bed and have sex than go for a run. If giving up caffeine, chocolate, wine and carbohydrates is truly the secret to longevity, I’m afraid my future will be short but full of decadent delights.

4 • I don’t care

Midlife women are easily fired up over the latest scandal which usually involves plagiarism or the inappropriate use of swear words. As I believe that anything you put on the internet is fair game and I say fuck all the time, I find it hard to feign outrage.

I don’t even get angry about the horrible things that happen in the world, I just get sad. I often think it is more productive to celebrate what we do have, and be thankful for our good fortune rather than go into battle against an invincible enemy.

5 • I’m not ashamed of my body

Midlife women have all sorts of rules about what one should wear in order to be  considered ‘respectable’ and ‘classy’. This involves covering most of our aging, broadening, slightly distasteful bodies and pretending we’re not sexual beings anymore.

I don’t give a shit about these rules. I wear whatever the hell I please and take my top off at the beach. I don’t think modesty is the moral high ground it is cracked up to be and I believe all bodies are beautiful. I’m having more sex now than ever before. Seriously.

6 • I can’t cook or craft

Midlife women enjoy sharing their meatloaf recipes and the best way to make a Christmas wreath out of recycled teabags. When my boyfriend isn’t here to cook I live on toast and the last thing I made was an ashtray out of a seashell (but I felt guilty after two days and took it back to the beach). I missed out on homemaker skills.

7 • I’m not buying it

Midlife women like to tell each other how successful they are with their beautiful houses, their brand new cars, their stunning diamond rings, and their latest bestselling book or speaking engagement. Not only do I narrow my eyes with suspicion and assume they are exaggerating, but I also don’t want or need any of those things (well maybe a book deal would be okay). Material possessions don’t interest me at all.

The only reason I would enjoy more money would be to go more places. I’m happy living in my rented cottage, driving a banged up old jeep and . I’ve never had a designer handbag in my life and I’m not going to start now.

When you read this list it is obvious I don’t qualify as a mature, midlife woman. I don’t belong in the Midlife ladies club so I’m handing back my membership card today.

midlife membership fail T

Do you identify with the ‘Midlife’ label? Can you think of a better name for women like me?

About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

55 thoughts on “Why I’m handing back my Midlife membership card

  1. Thank You! At last someone my age who gets it. I’m also divorced and should have left years earlier, have no kids by choice, I don’t want to dress ‘for my age’ or my body ‘type’ whatever that is suppose to be. I’ve had the nice car and house and like you prefer to use money to travel and have adventures. I wish advertisers would stop portraying us as a group of menopausal, cookie baking, heavy hipped grandmas!

  2. I’m way on the Katie train !! I can’t relate either. It scares me a little. Will I always not give a fuck about having a relationship? Or a house? Or..stuff? I keep blogging about my TRYING to have one..but deep down we all know I just don’t give a shit. But I’ll keep dating because I need that adrenaline to keep me moving haha

    I do love the drama 😉

    1. I always worried that I would wake up one day regretting my decision not to have kids, but I never have. I think when live authentically we don’t regret our decisions. Well at least that’s what I hope.

  3. Technically I’ve already left middle age. My 60s have been great and still are. I refuse to conform, so do my grown up offspring. I say fuck all the time and have been known to let forth with the odd cunt also. I did not enjoy being married or in long term relationships. I travel for work and leisure. My life is great and never boring and I intend to keep it that way until I’m too old to care. I love Italy and try to visit every year. If I retire next year I’ll probably finish writing the book I started in 2010 about my relationship with the bank robber… It will be embellished. I like your style, Katie, keep on truckin’…

  4. I am 70. I think I must have missed midlife some time way back. Divorced at 44, kids with their father(best for them at the time), in a looonnng term relationship. Still I agree with what you wrote. I think the trick is to be able to be who you really are and not have to pretend to be what someone else wants. I love my kids, and my significant other of 26 years, but I tried for the first 44 years of my life to be what I thought others expected of me and it nearly killed me. Bravo to someone who can be themselves.

  5. You definitely don’t fit the mold, Katie. And that’s why I love reading you. Whatever card you’re holding or keeping, I believe it’s your insight and honesty that truly define you. 🙂

  6. “When we live authentically, we don’t regret our decisions.” That says it all, Katie. I don’t fit into the stereotypical midlife woman category, either. But what’s great is that there’s room for all of us on this ride, and thankfully we have opportunities (like through your blog) to find our tribe. Great post!

  7. This all seems perfectly sensible to me. What’s past is past, and should stay there; this is the time when you travel through life with as little baggage as possible. Alas, we don’t all catch on at the same speed.

  8. I fit most of your criteria, and yet that’s not how I define midlife at all. Instead of looking at how other women define it, I live my own definition. It’s just a label, after all!

  9. Hi Katie! The funny thing is I’ll bet there are quite a few of us who don’t feel we fit the “label” of midlife in many many ways. Of course I do tend to gush a bit about my husband and my relationship, and don’t say fuck unless I’m REALLY pissed, but I still believe I too am a fringe member of the midlife community. That’s because I too I am childfree (and grandchildfree) by choice, don’t buy into the mindset set that my body and my looks are anywhere near as important as what’s going on within, don’t have the big house and all the “stuff” that goes along with counting myself among the monied elite, never read blogs that post recipes or quilting ideas, never owned (or will) a designer handbag, etc. etc. etc. But as a self-employed writer for a long time I do appreciate finding a hand full of sorta similar writers who write about topics I think are interesting and important. Do I think of myself as a kickass renegade queen? Sometimes, sometimes not. What’s most important is the courage to stand in any crowd and be okay with yourself and your thoughts, whether they are your tribe or not. Authenticity is critical but I think we all decide when, where and how we fit in. ~Kathy

    1. What’s most important is the courage to stand in any crowd and be okay with yourself and your thoughts, whether they are your tribe or not.

      Great comment Kathy – thank you.

  10. Loved loved loved this post. I am midlife, have children and will be an empty nester soon. Like you, however, I certainly don’t fit the ‘norm’ of midlife and neither do I want to. I think I was slipping into it however, but luckily for me I met a group of women who are midlife renegades and managed to pull me out of the quagmire. Whilst I am happily married and have two children and a grandchild, I have never quite fit that mould of mumsy. I cannot cook to save my life and truly the worst housekeeper you will ever meet. I swear a lot (which is recent phenomenon that has taken my family somewhat by surprise). Frankly, I wish we stop categorising each other full stop. How about we just simply be humans instead of teenagers, youth, adults, mid lifers and seniors. Great post xx

  11. I like to call myself a Renegade Queen, I think you fit the bill too.

    I can relate to this. I’m turning 50 in 23 days and I don’t have much in common with the other mid-life women I know.

    I’ve never been married, nor had kids. I am shacking up with my sweetie….and that feels pretty nice.

    One thing I know for sure- owning my power, flying my freak flag and ruling my world is the only way to go.

  12. I hate craft with a passion and don’t give a crap about what anyone else is doing. I “edit out”. Who has got time for someone else’s shit?

  13. Must be nice to not have all that midlife baggage, Katie! While I can check a few of those boxes, I feel I am a woman who is redefining midlife. I like having the authority where I look my age kind of, especially at the University where I teach. I can walk around and students actually move out of my way, perhaps because I look like a professor, but in the out doors way. I loved this post and respect you for writing it.

  14. Brilliant post! Just loved it. And I’m loving all the positivity that it sparked. Feeling totally inspired.

  15. I love your posts & I say embrace life & enjoy it – You are a free spirit & you don’t need to have children to define your life. So many people live lives they feel they ought to in order to keep others happy,while ignoring their own hopes & dreams – I think I fell into this category for a long time – Life is too short not to eat cake & embrace your own identity – You rock Katie! x

  16. I love this! Turned 37 last week, single, no kids, don’t give a monkey’s about what I should wear/eat/look like and I have every takeaway restaurant in London on speeddial. I’m dodging midlife before I even get there 😉

  17. A few years back i worked with a lady in her 50’s. She was unmarried, no kids, at first i was a bit shocked – didnt she get lonely? however she was amazingly vibrant, energetic, attractive. I think you are right, when you live authentically true to yourself, you have no regrets. I am in my early 30’s and I wish I had half of her vibrance….

  18. I have also written about this. I am not happy to be seen as menopausal. My girlfriends all agree, we got stuck in a time warp around 24-27 mark and have never grown further.

    Yes, I have a 24-year marriage, two grown male adults, I love to cook and do crafty things. I also look people in the eye, tell them who I am and if they don’t like it well they can just F-off! I wear what I want and agree life is too short to not follow your passions. If you love to run and eat well that’s perfectly okay, if not, why do it?

    Hubby and I recently left our home of 20 years and moved countries to live near the beach in Zanzibar. The best thing we ever did.

  19. Thank you!!! I am 44 and cracking my way out of my shell. You are an inspiration with your raw honesty and authenticity. I found your words to be motivating and assuring me that is right for me to leave the “mold” behind and be more true to myself. Thank you!

  20. Katie
    Love this.
    Agree with everything but #5 and that’s only because I’m issue oriented. But yes anything put on the Internet is fair game. What’s not fair game is that rare person who tells you you don’t deserve to live or whatever—and “delete” is a great tool. As are the facebook police who used stronger words than I ever would have about somebody who was harrassing me.
    I hate to cook but am good at it.
    And damn, I don’t have kids. I’m long term divorced and not afraid to go to parties with married people. Actually wrote a long post about it the other day I haven’t posted yet because it’s a direct response to a post in the Huffpo, and though I cited her etc not sure if she and other people will think I did it just to gain something from her immense (and stupid to me) popularity.

  21. I can’t go into the “OLD LADY” mode either: I’m pushing 70. My partner of 31 years died in 2013… she was my one true SOUL MATE. I’ll go on with her in my heart – and remain single. It’s OK! I’m fine with that!
    I have no kids – no grand kids. Nor even a pet now- for she died died last year at 15. No more pets either. I have gardens – they need me.
    I’m a CHARACTER… an ARTIST. I draw and paint. I sculpt. I write poetry. I love to laugh, be silly, create zany characters, sing, dance around, while I listen to one of my hundreds of Vinyl LP’s on a vintage console stereo because the sound it puts out is still fantastic. Still ROCK’`n ROLLING – still listening to 1950’s early 60’s rock `n roll music. Then when the mood strikes me – I’ll listen to something more romantic and atmospheric, like Montovani or perhaps the Hollyridge Strings. Maybe Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. Maybe Loretta Lynn or Tammy Wynette. Maybe Puccini or Gregg.
    I LOVE my Studio and it is a reflection of my life’s many twists and turns with collections and objects `d art . All of it makes me happy. Same with the Library. Art Books I purchased in the 1960’s lovingly ensconced with other volumes much newer. A memory attached to each one. Book case after book case – with a kaleidoscope of colors and titles all behind leaded glass doors standing proud awaiting a new friend to discover them like new kids on the block…
    I love to ride my vintage SCHWINN cruiser around our little water front town… or going to the local Farmers Market and bringing wonderful things home in the rear baskets – and then while humming or singing, prepare a gourmet simple meal to enjoy… Culinary Art’s are a passion and I have a thorough background in it. I have a vintage Jaguar Sports car – I’ve always owned fine sports cars – and that too is a passion. There is nothing like the sweet sounds and feel of a true classic sports car on the road to sent ones soul into Nirvana.
    I’m a Bohemian – and I know it. Didn’t set out to be one – it just sort of happened by default. I don’t fit in with trendy’s or others my own age. I’m an Anachronism – A Conundrum – and most simply do not know what to make of me or how to enjoy even the smallest Tete a Tete – because they’re too self absorbed with Likes, Selfies, Texts, Tweets, and techno-foolishness! Their loss, not mine! Believe me, I’m far more interesting.
    I’m a sexual creature. I always have been, but always a sophisticated lady about it. It is far too easy – to be easy. However – being the Kohinoor – is the stuff of Epic Romances… and few ever get to hold it or obtain it. I love the dance, the tease, the taunt, the discreet gesture, the subtle touch, the whisper, intellectually spoken words, the first delicate kiss off somewhere away from prying eyes, the full time suspending passion as two feast on one another. The art of Classy Romancing is nearly lost today. My partner and me could thrill and send chills of excitement in each-other, every day for 31 years – and it wasn’t about physical sex. It was the Romance. We NEVER let it Die.
    I love – LOVE – enticing and enchanting strangers – especially some younger woman or man… I can instantly recognize the moment once they begin to feel emotions that are like bolts out of the blue and they can’t help themselves and it shows all over their faces and in their body language as they blush and can’t make eye contact because their brains are totally discombobulated… This is why I can’t be an Old Lady – there is just too many rich moments to experience and enjoy yet with a heart that still thinks it is twenty one.
    I may be nearly 70 – but I look a young 50… and I do what I can to take care of my physical and mental health. Real Beauty is both physical and spiritual. It glows and shows in your personal aura… people not only see it – they feel it – and your aura can make itself known long before you enter a room. Your aura is the extension of your life Being – your true soul. All animals sense your aura. People truly in love can have an Aura so intense that others will be blinded by it. Thus was Bobbi and Myself. She was such a gorgeous creature through and through. Her mere presence could fill an auditorium without ever saying a word. Her smile was intoxicating. Her soft, angel like voice enchanting. Her profession – a college English and Math Professor. She thrived gloriously, brightly, within academia. Everyone – Loved her!
    How I can I be OLD? Middle Aged? What does that even mean? Where is that instruction manual exactly? If it exists, then you read it and follow it – as for myself – I’m not interested. I still read Comic Books! ; )

  22. I do love to cook, and garden, but those are my only home keeping skills. Otherwise, I’ve unloaded boatloads of possessions, kept only the ones that mean the most, and am happily working through my list of places that I want to visit. Really, we have to make up our own rules and not let anyone define us. It’s when you turn over that power that you become the most frustrated.

    My advice: if there’s something you want to do, figure out a way to do it. There’s no one with a sign at the city limits saying, “You’re not allowed…”

  23. Hey Katie, Ha!! I love this. I recently started a midlife blog and it doesn’t focus on any of the stereotypical topics that you highlight. Regardless of our age or stage we come in all shapes and sizes with different experiences, baggage, and viewpoints and just because we are in our midlife doesn’t mean we have to bake cookies and knit and rattle on about empty nests. I don’t have kids but that doesn’t stop me handing out ‘sage’ advice though :). Cheers JIll x

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