Manifesto for Change: A Midlife Creed for Women

Sometimes, change feels like a battleground that we have been thrown into without armor or plan.

Change can feel like the enemy, wreaking havoc on our expectations. Other times change is a victory to strive for, and we make it our mission to overcome the status quo. But even these battles can be daunting and overwhelming for a middle-aged woman.

Middle-aged women are pretty much bombarded with change. Menopause brings hormonal shifts, divorces ensue, parents pass on, and cancer affect each of us directly or indirectly. It seems our identities alter, our bodies look foreign, jobs disappear or become dead ends. The changes can feel like a torrent of assaults that just keep coming and coming. Boom, another death to mourn, boom, another rejection to manage, boom, another bunion to walk on. It becomes harder and harder to cling to any certainty and know where we are headed.

Unfortunately we can’t stop change, even though many of us try. Further, we can’t hide from change, and many of us try this too. There are scads of us hiding in our bunkers, afraid to come out because change is out there ready to pounce. But the bunkers are tight and restrictive, and we have years of our lives to experience.

So I boldly suggest that instead of avoiding, we need to enter the battleground of change armed with a plan. We need to be prepared to face change with sureness, preparation and a mission.

We need a Manifesto for Change.

The word manifesto is derived from the Latin term manifestum, which roughly translates to make something clear, evident and palpable. It is also a form of the verb manifest, to be clear or apparent. A manifesto is a public declaration. Manifestos give voice to intentions, views and motives. Manifestos are to be proclaimed publicly to others. But even more important, our change manifestos need to be heard by us. We need to proclaim them and we need to listen.

A change manifesto can bring to our consciousness the intent to face change head on and make it work for us.

Instead of being change-avoiders, we become change-makers. Our longevity calls for this. Step forward. Get out your parchment. Write your powerful, proactive change manifesto.

Let’s start by embracing the role of change-maker. Middle-age women are alchemists, not victims. Instead of running from change we say, WE ARE CHANGE. Everything about us is change. Change is our advantage and by owning it, we pave ways for more change.

End the “static” quo for women now. Remember this, there are rewards for you beyond this storm of change. Brene Brown put it best: Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you “I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given. Most of these gifts are waiting for us to get up and move out into the battleground of our dynamic, diverse lives.

Here’s how to begin your own manifesto for change.

Make a statement acknowledging the change in your life.

This line in your manifesto takes you out of hiding. You look change in the eye and say, I see you. I see you and I do not run from you.

Own and make known your feelings about this change.

Most change, even the wanted changes, can be painful. They all require a letting go and a transformative leap into the unknown. We don’t have to avoid these emotions. We arm ourselves with awareness and ownership. We say, this change hurts, this change makes me sad, this change enrages me or this change thrills me. Stand up straight and tall and proclaim your feelings. Say it and feel it.

Prepare for battle. Claim this change as yours to move through.

Picture yourself armed with your weapons of choice (mine are love and presence). See yourself strong and powerful. Move into your change experience with the full conviction that you can triumph. Run towards, not away from. Take the leap into the fullness that is our transformative life.

It’s so much more invigorating to be in the battle of change than to be all squished up in the bunkers. Join me and our collective of change makers. Write your manifesto. And say it out loud. We will listen. And hopefully so will you.

Podcast

Each week Dr. Cecilia Dintino and Psychotherapist Hannah Murray Starobin will speak with women who have twisted their plots and discovered that life after 50 can be filled with imagination, inspiration, laughter, and endless possibilities.

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