Midlife: The perfect time to dream

Women approaching, and living in, midlife can seamlessly slip into believing they are living in a time of crisis. Believing they are on a slippery slope and from now on their lives are marked by uncertainty and loss (of confidence, health, energy, happiness, opportunity…).

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For many women, midlife is a time when the roles they've held for years change, and the priorities they once had no longer completely align with their true desires. That all adds to the sense of loss. The people we’ve nurtured and cared for no longer need us in the same way. Other people in our lives i.e. parents and elderly relatives may need us more. Work that we’ve found satisfactory and coped with for years now leaves us cold, stressed and fed-up. As the menopause starts, we experience new physical and mental challenges. 

For many of us, this means a growing awareness that how we have lived our lives up till now is not right anymore. The gulf between how we are living right now and who we are inside - and consequently what we need to be happy - widens. It’s this gulf that results in the feeling of disconnect.

It’s easy to see why midlife can feel like an uphill battle and why the women I work with in my coaching practice share sentiments like: “I don’t feel my life fits me anymore”, “I have no idea who I am and what needs to change, but something isn’t right”.

I felt like this myself in my late 40s. I tried to deal with it by ignoring it. I thought I was tough enough to push through and somehow, miraculously, it would be OK in the end. I wasted a lot of time and had a miserable few years. My personal and professional confidence deserted me. Eventually, I had no choice but to admit I was not OK and get help.

I worked with a coach. It was such an amazing experience. I am not only happier and more confident than I’ve ever been. I’ve also retrained and worked as a coach myself.

I am now on a mission to change women’s attitudes to this phase of their lives. Let’s flip the script, and view it instead as a golden gift!


How can we embrace this change more positively?

Instead of viewing midlife as a challenge to be endured, let’s see it as an opportunity. A special time in our lives, when we release our hidden dreams and flourish! We can acknowledge we are changing, and need a different balance and focus to be truly happy.

Let your inner wisdom guide you

Instead of seeing midlife as a period of decline, see it as a time of renewal and growth. A time when we can reach our full potential by listening to our bodies and hearing our inner wisdom.

Our bodies are helping us make a shift into this new phase of our lives, both physically and mentally. Helping us by making it hard to keep living in the same familiar patterns of the past years. We are being gifted the realisation that we need to live differently in order to be happy.

Let’s be honest - this sense of being pushed to live differently by our bodies is, at best, uncomfortable and at worst downright difficult. It’s no surprise that we push against it.

I believe acceptance is a great starting point. Not feeling judgemental towards ourselves when we no longer enjoy things we have in the past, or when we are not willing (or able) to tolerate situations such as stress at work and poor work-life balance that we have previously.

It’s time to enjoy the process. Time to make a mental shift, to see that we are on an exciting journey, and to embrace the new person we are becoming.  

So now you may be asking yourself how exactly do I accept and embrace the new?


Start to reimagine your life

I love this exercise because it’s fun and effective. You’ll need a pen and paper: 

1. Make up a movie title that describes your life right now. Have fun with this - is it a horror movie, a comedy, a thriller, or a sad tale? Write down your movie title and underline it. By all means, use a real movie title if it fits but it can be more fun to make one up.

2. Now write down a description of this movie.

3. Get down all the details. What is happening in this movie? What is the plot? Who are the main characters? What about you - what is your part in this movie? This is a very refreshing way to stand back and take stock of your life.

I once had a client who spoke about feeling that she was running around in frantic circles like a half-bald, crazy goose with feathers flying off all around her. That was a very strong image. 

4. Now it’s time to imagine a new movie. Imagine you are flicking through the options on a popular movie streaming service (no names mentioned)! What is the movie you want to watch? The movie is about your new life.  It pops up on the screen. What is this movie called? Write it down. 

5. Now, elaborate on this movie – what is the main character (you) doing? How are they living their life, what is their purpose? Write down as much about this new movie as you can.

 Tip:Don’t filter or evaluate what you are writing. Just get it down and enjoy the process of exploring.

What have you learned about your life from this exercise?

What does this exercise tell you about your midlife chapter?

Notice how you feel after doing the exercise.

  • Did you get an understanding of what is and isn’t “working” in your life?
  • Are you continuing to do something that you no longer enjoy?·      
  • Do you continue to commit to a job that you intensely dislike?
  • Are you constantly exhausted at the end of the day?
  • Is fun missing from the mix?
  • Have you a passion for something that is struggling to be heard?

As a coach specialising in working with women in midlife, I've had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the transformative power of reinvention.

One client discovered she always wanted to write comedy and act. Another client always wanted to ride horses, and the client who wanted to step off the treadmill of stressful project management is now doing a degree. I could go on but I’m sure you get the idea. Change is possible.

We all have reservoirs of courage, resilience, and creativity that we might never have known we possessed. Use them and have fun tapping into buried dreams and ambitions: of retraining and moving into a new career, becoming self-employed, getting a career boost, and enjoying a better work-life balance.


What is your midlife dream?

I believe many women in midlife have buried their dreams beneath layers of responsibilities and obligations. I urge you to dig down to these hidden dreams. Dust them off and look at them in the light.

What have you always wanted to do, but never had the time or courage to pursue? Whether it's starting a business, travelling the world, or learning a new skill, now is the time to allow yourself to “dream big”.

If you can relate to what I’ve shared and would like some support, I’m here – visit my profile and book a no-strings chat. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Betws-Y-Coed, Conwy, LL24
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Written by Sue Hedley, LCH Dip, APC, Certified by the CMA and ABNLP
Betws-Y-Coed, Conwy, LL24

For 20 years Sue worked in stressful global IT projects. In her early 50s the menopause forced her to re-examine her life priorities. As a result, and with the help of counselling and coaching, Sue retrained and now coaches women in midlife who have realised they are living a life that no longer brings them joy and fulfilment.

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