+
upworthy
More

7 simple tips for women seeking authentic happiness in their 40s.

Kathy* is an active mom of three with a successful career and, by all accounts, a good life.

Shortly after her 46th birthday, Kathy found a lump in her breast. A biopsy was done and she was waiting for the results. Kathy is one of my personal life coaching clients (her name has been changed to protect her privacy and keep our work confidential).


She came to me in the thick of midlife and, as many women her age do, was reassessing everything she'd done up until now.

The moment she walked through the door, Kathy announced, "It’s benign!" Her relief was palpable. As we sat down for our session, we got quiet. Soon, she began to cry.

"I am relieved, of course," she said," but all I could think about before they called me with the results was, 'What if this is it? I mean, my life — what am I really doing with my life? Am I really living it how my soul wants me to live it?!'  And I answered, 'No, I’m not.'"

Here, I thought, is a woman about to gain clarity on what matters most to her.

Maybe you’ve had a health scare like Kathy. Maybe one evening, late at night, when everyone was asleep, you admitted to yourself that you aren’t satisfied — in the bedroom or the boardroom. Maybe you find yourself dreaming about going on a retreat or taking a vacation — by yourself. Maybe, one otherwise ordinary day, you had enough of being ignored and putting everyone’s needs before your own, and as you are unloading the dishwasher, you pick up a plate and smash it on the floor.

Image via iStock.

"It’s not a midlife crisis," my older and wiser friend once told me. "It’s a midlife awakening."

Women in midlife aren’t looking to "get back the joy" of their twenties. We are looking to name, claim, and embody authentic joy now as wise women, who want to live according to what is most sacred to us.

It's not an easy or neat process, but there are simple ways a woman can own her space as wise, independent, and happy. Here are seven suggestions:

1. She can practice radical self-responsibility.

She does away with the "blame game." Yes, she has been hurt, rejected, and dumped. The actions of others weren’t her fault, but she recognizes how she responds to what happens in life is her responsibility.

She owns her healing and thrives by treating herself with gentleness and kindness. She commits to self-regard.

2. She can clear out the clutter to enjoy empty space.

She might go through the whole house and ruthlessly get rid of anything that doesn’t bring joy. But beyond that, she starts to give up negative beliefs about her self-worth that have taken up too much space. She stops devoting time to relationships that don't nourish her and focuses on the people who do.

3. She can forgive her parents.

Her parents are human, and whether they're still alive or have passed away, she starts to let go of what she held against them.

Image via iStock.

4. She can set healthy boundaries.

She recognizes that it’s time to stop sacrificing her self-care and consider her needs — before work, family, and friends that might drain her. She starts to say "no" to what depletes her and "yes" to what is vital for her to thrive. She stops justifying her response.

5. She can stop comparing herself to other women.

When she sees another woman standing in her brilliance and power, she sees this as inspiration for her to risk living, loving, and expressing herself. She decides to be bold.

6. She can name her deeper longings.

She may go on retreat or check into a local hotel room so she can have space to listen to her heart. After decades, she knows that if she keeps pushing away her heart’s longings, she is going to turn bitter.  She follows her gut and takes the "right steps" for her.

7. She can decide to honor her longings.

She is OK with others questioning her bold moves.  She is no longer basing her life on what others think. She operates with wisdom and clarity.

Kathy’s health scare spurred her midlife awakening. She began to take responsibility for her joy and claim the second half of her life with boldness.

It was not a tidy process. Kathy’s journey of finding her joy — like all of ours — is ongoing and both messy and miraculous. As women in midlife, we claim our joy by being tender, clear, bold, and true to the longings of our heart. And we decide to thrive.

*The author works as a personal life coach and has permission to share stories of her clients under confidentiality agreements. For this reason, Kathy's name has been changed to ensure her privacy.

Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

Keep ReadingShow less

Kevin Bacon's farm songs have become a social media favorite.

When Beyoncé dropped two songs from her upcoming album of country tunes, Renaissance: Act II, she may not have expected to make history, but that's exactly what happened. Her first single from the album, "Texas Hold 'Em," shot to the No.1 spot on the Billboard country music charts, making her the first Black female artist to hit that top spot. The catchy tune also topped the Billboard Hot 100 the last week in February 2024, a week after it debuted at No. 2.

Presumbaly, Queen Bey didn't expect her song to become an Irish stepdance hit, though that's also exactly what happened. And surely she didn't expect it to be sung by Kevin Bacon to a bunch of farm animals, yet that also has happened.

Perhaps we should all have expected that, though. There's a precedent here, after all.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photos by Daniela on Unsplash (left) and Rens D on Unsplash (right)

Peeling garlic is notoriously challenging.

If you ever cook with fresh garlic, you know what a challenge it can be to remove the cloves from the skin cleanly, especially if you're starting with a full head.

There are various methods people use to peel garlic, with varying levels of success. Doing it by hand works, but will leave you with garlic-smelling fingertips for the better part of a day. Whacking the head on the counter helps separate the cloves from each other, but doesn't help much with removing the skin.

Some people swear by vigorously shaking the skinned cloves around in a covered bowl or jarred lid, which can be surprisingly effective. Some smash the clove with the flat side of a knife to loosen it and then pull it off. Others utilize a rubber roller to de-skin the cloves.

But none of these methods come close to the satisfaction of watching someone perfectly peeling an entire head of garlic with a pair of tongs.

Keep ReadingShow less

Teen with size 23 feet receives new shoes from Shaq

Any adult responsible for raising a teen will tell you that not only do teens eat a lot and sleep nearly as much as they did as infants, they also grow quickly. Sometimes it feels like their growth spurts are literally happening overnight. You go to sleep with a squeaky voiced teenager that's still shorter than you only to wake up to what appears to be a fully grown man wearing your child's clothes.

It's no wonder that parents can have a hard time keeping up with the ever changing clothes and shoe sizes that come with a growing teen. But Tamika Neal's son has surpassed what would be considered the average height and weight of a 16-year-old, which means he's also outgrown sizes carried in the stores.

According to Cincinnati Children's Hospital, boys aged 16 are typically between 5-foot-3 and 6-foot, weighing between 104 to 180 pounds. Jor'el Bolden is a towering 6-foot-5 and 380 pounds with a size 23 shoe.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Erin Bailey Law (used with permission) and Monstera Production/Pexels

Erin Bailey has taken a hard stand on sleepovers.

A mother who’s a criminal defense attorney is going viral on TikTok for a hard stance she has taken on her children going to sleepovers. For Erin Bailey of South Carolina, the answer is a big no. The reason? There are too many variables that could make her children vulnerable to sexual assault.

Bailey has a practice in Georgetown and is ranked among the Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers in South Carolina by the National Trial Lawyers.

"I don’t allow my children to go to sleepovers. I’m a criminal attorney and here’s why,” she opens the video. “First and primary is the S.A. [sexual assault] risk. While you may feel like you know the parents who are hosting the sleepover really well, and you know and love and trust them, that's exactly who's committing S.A.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Harold Krichel, Wikipedia/Representative Image from Canva

Anne Hathaway hilariously tries to sit in a tight latex dress during Fashion Week in Milan

Anne Hathaway might have played fashion-oblivious Andrea Sachs in “Devil Wears Prada,” but nowadays, in real life (or at least on the red carpet) she’s more on the level of Miranda Priestley—turning heads at every event with showstopping looks.

However, no matter how high her status as a fashion icon rises, the “Princess Diaries” actress still holds onto her humility.

Case and point: she has no problem sharing what it’s really like to wear certain designer dresses. Spoiler alert: it’s not quite as effortless as the fashionistas make it look.

Keep ReadingShow less