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Embracing the 'Queenager' Within: Redefining Midlife as a Time of Wisdom, Power, and Adventure

What is it about ageing? I recently celebrated another year around the sun and went out to dinner with several girlfriends, and they all commented on how much younger I looked and what I was doing differently. It got me thinking about age and how we view ourselves. Why are we predisposed to tying our value and worth with how we look as we age? Shouldn't we be more focused on how we feel and our outlook on life? Should we embrace being "Queenagers," women in midlife who are comfortable with our age and live like we did as teenagers, with curiosity and freedom?

stacy silver

Forbes recently put out a list of the world's most powerful women, the majority of them over 50 and half over 60. Women are reaching their career and life peak after 50. We are defying stereotypes and are thriving. The article attributes this to our education, choice of when and if we want a family, being financially independent, and wielding significant influence.

Midlife: Not a Crisis a Chrysalis

Long-time hospitality executive, Chip Conley, and now the founder of the Modern Elder Academy (MEA), thinks it is time to reframe how we think about midlife, the transition period of life between young adulthood and old age, as not a "crisis" but a chrysalis—where a profound transformation happens. 

Chip completely reshaped his own life and career after the combination of a near-death experience at age 47 and having several close friends die by suicide, serving as a wake-up call he couldn’t ignore. He began exploring the physical, emotional, mental, vocational, and spiritual transitions that happen in our 40s, 50s, and 60s, observing that people are living longer than ever before, and because of this midlife becomes even more of a critical time in our life.

Chip Conley Learning to Love Midlife

He came away with an alternative—and very positive—narrative to the way we commonly think of our 40s and beyond, and suggests that life begins at 50 with the best of our days still ahead of us. In his new book, Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better With Age, which draws on his years of research and first-hand experience founding the world’s first midlife wisdom school (MEA), Chip reveals some of the reasons why life gets better with age. A few that resonated with me:

  • The relief of “my body doesn’t define me:” we finally grow comfortable in our own skin.

  • Stepping off the treadmill: we redefine what a successful life looks like.

  • The “Great Midlife Edit:” we let go of our emotional baggage, mindsets, and obligations that no longer serve us.

  • Growing whole: we begin to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves.

He concludes that by embracing our journey to reach mid-life, we recognize the value of this wisdom and our ability to navigate challenges thrown our way as we continue life's journey.  

Stepping into Our Wisdom

The theme of "stepping into our wisdom," is echoed in a LinkedIn post by Stacy Garcia, Founder & Chief Inspiration Officer of Stacy Garcia Design and CEO of LebaTex, declared as she celebrated her 50th birthday. 

Her post resonated with me as I and many women have hit this milestone and felt different. I remember my own mother at 50 and thought she looked and seemed older than I do at the same age. What are we, as women, doing to step into our wisdom? In my mind, we are entering a time of self-discovery and self-acceptance, embracing this time in our lives with the knowledge and experience we have gained over the years. We need to understand who we are, our values, and, most importantly, what truly matters to us. 

learning to love midlife
Entrepreneur Stacy Garcia

Garcia, a mother of four aged 23 to 13 and founder/owner of two companies, explains it as "an energic shift," giving herself permission to "own your power and make yourself happy first." It is a reflection back but also a look forward. Garcia continued that we need to stop fighting the number on the calendar and take control of this milestone birthday. "Watching my own children hit certain milestones in their lives showed me how far I have come in my journey and reminded me that even though I still feel like I am 20, watching these human beings I have raised become young adults means I am not 20 anymore. And it is nothing to feel sad about. It is something to really own as a place of power." While standing at the threshold of this significant milestone, Garcia shares the timeless advice she was given by her grandmother many years ago, "It is not sad to get old. Every year is a gift." 

Embracing Your Inner “Queenager”

Embracing the journey by becoming “Queenagers” is not a time to mourn the passing of time but a time for celebrating the countless experiences that have shaped us. Every year we get is a precious gift. It is a chance to write another chapter in the narrative of our lives. Let's frame this time in our lives and direct our focus toward favorable narratives, where we can navigate any challenges thrown at us with the wisdom we have acquired over the years, celebrate our achievements regardless of how large or small, and truly become the architects of our lives. This is a time to be adventurous and take chances.


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