Happy New Year - how to reinvent after a midlife-maelstrom in 2024
The Queenager: Eleanor's Letter (January 1st 2024)
Hello and welcome to the world of The Queenager!
First I’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year – and for those of you who are new to The Queenager, my weekly newsletter to our noon.org.uk community of women busy reinventing themselves in midlife and finding a new chapter, a big warm WELCOME!
I know lots of you have signed up after reading my article in the Daily Mail about having to reboot my own life after I was made redundant from the job that had defined me for a quarter of a century. I found myself at a painful crossroads, beset on all sides by ageist attitudes that as a woman of 50 I was done, finished. Well that was one of the things I wanted to change when I became a Founder and set up Noon and started talking about #queenagers (my word for women at this stage). I wanted something which instantly rebranded us in a more positive way, and which fitted better with all the amazing midlifers I saw all around me. If you’d like to know more about #queenagers, what it means to be one and how it came to exist then you might like this article too
Everything we do at Noon is about helping women shift into a new phase at 45 plus. We’ve found from our own experience and from our extensive research that by the time women hit 50 over half of us have been through at least five massive life events – divorce, bereavement, redundancy, tending to elderly parents, or teenagers who are failing to thrive – and that’s before we even start talking about own health or menopause. But the good news is that after encountering these midlife pinchpoints (which often come in a midlife clusterfuck, ie they all hit at once) we find that those who have been through the most end up being the happiest. As one of the Queenagers in our research put it: “I went through so much, I shed so much, my marriage, my parents, the job that had defined me, but now I am 55 and I have never been happier, I’ve got my life set up just the way I like it.” The point of the Queenager and this community is to help all women to get to the sunny uplands, our prime, which lie beyond these tempestuous years. For many of us that means becoming the women we always wanted to be; finally throwing off the shackles of everyone else’s expectations and demands and saying, ok, I’ve had enough of putting everyone else first. It’s my life, this is my time. After all in the 100 year life, 50 is only half way through. We are all living longer but we seem to have collectively forgotten that the dividend of longer lives is this amazing, productive, wonderful new time at midlife when we are still young enough to pivot and reinvent, are full of experience and with a bit of confidence and support we can have a whole exciting new chapter. That is not a pipe dream, I have done it and so have many other women on Noon. Here are some wonderful stories of midlife transformation to inspire you. I love this article by Tracey Woodward about how, after a tricky childhood with an abusive mother, she found safety inside herself at 50. Or How about Rachel Peru’s tale? She was a mum, was stuck at home with a vulnerable child and felt her life was passing her by – and then at nearly 50 she became a lingerie and swimwear model, flying the flag for bodyconfidence for women everywhere. Or Liz, who left her husband for a woman and has never been happier. Or Tamsin who writes about how nature helped her come to terms with her childlessness. Around a quarter of our community are women who are childfree – which is in line with the general population, although no-one ever talks about them! We do here at Noon, particularly when it comes to legacy and finances
Or if you’d like some more concrete kinds of advice – do read this brilliant article by our Head of Consulting at Noon Dr Lucy Ryan, who has just written a book called Revolting Women – why midlife women are walking out of their jobs and what to do about it which is a rallying cry for all of us who have either been pushed out or want to do something new in midlife. If that is you – don’t worry you are not alone!! There is an army of Queenagers who reckon we aren’t done yet, in fact we are just getting started. If you are having trouble finding another job then our age-friendly Noon Jobs Board(constantly updated featuring employers seeking older workers) might help you punch through the unfriendly algorithms (most screen out older people but our Jobs Board doesn’t!) I do a Queenager Careers email once a month too and there is lots of help on Noon in our work section about reinvention.
And if you’d like to know more then why not become a Paid Subscriber to this newsletter and Noon.
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Thanks so much for signing up – do have a look around and get in touch! Hope to see some of you soon. And if you are having a tough time trying to reinvent then I send you much love and sympathy. Remember, be kind to yourself and that change is difficult. It doesn’t happen overnight. But my tip is to follow what you love and you will end up with a bright new future. I did – you can too!
Much love and happy 2024
By Eleanor Mills