Who Is a Midlife Woman?

Who is a midlife woman?

I used to think a midlife woman was a sad and lonely empty nester whose husband bought a sports car and tried to recapture the glory of his youth while she sat home, watching soap operas until the kids and grandkids came to visit. Now “I are one,” and the reality couldn’t be further from that old belief. So if the stereotype doesn’t fit, who is a midlife woman?

If age is relative, when is midlife? That is, how do we decide who is a midlife woman?

One of my friends asked, “Who’s a midlife woman? What do you mean by midlife? Is it even a thing anymore?” I think she was even a little offended by the term.

One definition is the time of life between 40 and 60. I turned 60 last January, so what am I now? Chopped liver?

Another definition is the time between youth and old age, usually 45-65. That’s good to know; I still have 3 ½ years until I’m officially old…

Old midlife stereotypes die hard.

Say the words, “midlife woman” around here and you get a story of the woman who “went crazy,” divorced her husband, took all his money, and disappeared. (Maybe she wasn’t so crazy …) Or the story of the woman who told her family she was tired of them and never wanted to see them again. (I promise, I’m not making these up!)

Look up “midlife” on the internet and you’ll see it’s usually combined with the word, “crisis.” It’s as if you can’t possibly experience midlife without terrible side effects.

The thing is, most people associate “midlife” with something bad. Even my friend who is the complete opposite of the stereotype felt the negative sting of the term.

who is a midlife woman?This generation of midlife women are more active and fulfilled than any other generation of women before.

I know MANY women who are loving their midlife years. After putting their lives on hold while they focused on children and family needs, they enter this time of life with a sense of freedom and excitement.

Rather than being resigned to a life without purpose because the kids are gone or they’re nearing retirement, these women are finding new interests and planning the next stage of their lives. They’re learning new ways to fill their lives with purpose.

They are not defined by society because of their age; they are defining themselves by who they are and what they still have to offer the world. If this is a crisis situation, I’m excited to be “in crisis!”

Who is a midlife woman? She’s a vital, active member of the “Perennial Generation.”

A friend of mine wrote “Midlife and Being a Perennial,” a post about a new term for those of us in this age bracket. She called it the “Perennial Generation,” based on this post by Gina Pell.

I’m a big fan of perennial plants. You buy them once, and they come back year after year. They grow more each year, so you can divide them and spread their beauty to other places in the garden.

In fact, one definition of perennial is “lasting or existing for a long or apparently infinite time; enduring or continually recurring.”

I love this term, and I’m going to shout it loud and wide (OK, metaphorically…) If I’m going to have a definition assigned to my time of life, this is the one I want!

Today’s midlife woman defies the stereotypes of the past. Who is a midlife woman?

Despite long-standing beliefs, the midlife woman of today is actively involved in creating a fulfilling “next stage” of her life. She travels, learns, grows, serves, volunteers, and is constantly evolving into a person who is true to herself and her goals.

This new vision is exciting and perfect for me, and I joyously shout, “I ARE ONE!”


  • Wow Melody – you are definitely a Perennial (and thanks for the link to my post btw!) I think Midlife is where we begin to reclaim ourselves and I figure we’re all living longer, so it can last for as long as we like! I haven’t left my husband (he’s not rich enough for me to take all his money) and I’d be cobwebbed if I sat around waiting for the kids to visit, so I’m just out there having fun and relishing this age and stage!

    • Melody Smith

      Haha – I think you’d be out there having fun not matter what – it doesn’t seem like you’re the sit at home type. That was my point exactly, and I don’t any “midlife” woman who is doing that. Your post was spot on, so I had to add it to mine!

  • Brook Mendez

    I love your definition of perennial and I really think what you are writing about it important. When I read the Feminine Mystique years ago, I was struck by her observations of women who defined themselves solely by their children. These women suffered when their kids first went to school, graduated, attended college, left the nest, or in any way had their own lives. That would be so terrible, but it sort of makes me think of the stories you shared about women telling their families they are tired of them or running away with all the money. I much prefer your vision!

    • Melody Smith

      Thanks. It’s a happier version in my opinion. It’s such a great time to be a “midlife” woman – the world is out there within easy reach. We can redesign ourselves however we choose. (Of course, the “kids coming home” is a large part of the fun!)