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Embracing My Midlife Crisis: Simplifying Life

A friend recently shared with me a perspective on the different phases of life: the 20s for self-discovery, the 30s for reflection on the past, and the 40s for embracing freedom and self-expression. As I navigate my early 40s, I find this narrative resonating deeply with my current experiences.

This period has been marked by significant changes—parting ways with my long-time home and marriage, transitioning into menopause, relocating to an apartment, and envisioning a future starkly different from my previous plans. In response, I’ve chosen to fully immerse myself in what some might call a midlife crisis.

One visible manifestation of this shift is my vibrant purple hair, a bold choice that symbolizes my embrace of change and individuality. Despite its fading hue, I continue to find joy in this unconventional expression of self.

Additionally, I recently indulged in a long-awaited tattoo, relinquishing control over the design to the artist’s creativity. This act of surrender, though initially daunting, resulted in a piece of art that I adore. The experience was not only painless but also liberating, prompting me to contemplate future tattoo projects when circumstances align.

Embracing this midlife phase has granted me a newfound sense of liberation and authenticity. While I haven’t resorted to stereotypical crisis tropes like purchasing a Porsche or pursuing youthful endeavors, I have prioritized self-care and personal fulfillment over societal expectations.

Rather than fixating on physical ideals or societal norms, I’ve chosen to appreciate and care for my body as it is. By reframing my perspective on imperfections and prioritizing holistic well-being, I’ve experienced positive shifts in my health and self-image.

Furthermore, I’ve embarked on a journey of self-acceptance, acknowledging and embracing my quirks and idiosyncrasies without self-judgment. This process of self-discovery and self-compassion has empowered me to evolve into a more authentic and confident version of myself.

Engaging in activities that bring me joy, such as reading eclectic literature and exploring esoteric knowledge, has enriched my life and reinforced my unique identity. By celebrating my eccentricities and passions, I’ve cultivated a deeper sense of self-assurance and contentment.

In moments of solitude, I treat myself to indulgences like fine dining and movie outings, relishing the peace and companionship found in my own company. This practice of self-appreciation has not only fostered inner strength but also enhanced my role as a nurturing parent to my daughter during her formative years.

As my tween daughter grapples with societal pressures and self-doubt, I strive to model self-love, resilience, and assertiveness. While I cannot shield her from external influences, I aim to provide a steadfast example of self-assurance and empowerment.

For me, this midlife phase signifies a profound “shift in identity,” a deliberate departure from self-limiting beliefs towards a more confident and self-assured existence. With my purple hair and symbolic tattoo as emblems of this transformation, I embrace the journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, eschewing societal norms in favor of personal authenticity and empowerment.

Alicia Strnad Hoalcraft resides in Moorhead with her daughter, Calliope, and their dog, Ripper. She serves as the head of publication services at Forum Communications, balancing work with her passion for reading, collecting skeletons, and delving into diverse interests online. For inquiries, reach out to her at [email protected].