Midlife comes with a pause, a menopause of recalibration and initiation into what the Chinese call a woman’s second spring. I truly believe that our second spring takes its clues from our first spring, our unacculturated girlhood. By giving ourselves a pause in midlife, I believe we can reconnect with that girl-self who knew exactly who she was and what she wanted to do. In midlife, those old longings, hints, and clues can return to us. I think of these as green callings.
This summer I had the chance to pause. I’ve been reading more than writing, and spending time in the Uinta Mountains. I am perpetually grateful for this natural place, far from the noise of our city neighborhood. Oh I love that too, especially the proximity to cafes and restaurants, but sometimes the trill of hummingbirds at a feeder is the only sound I want to hear. I long for cooler temperatures and sitting by the fire in the mornings. There are no stores within miles of my family’s cabin, or cell reception. We have a satellite service that is as slow as the sun slinking across the sky.
Here the rhythm of the day returns to me. I live more closely to sunup and sundown. The birdsong and stars are closer and brighter. I have no trouble remembering to meditate in the mornings. My body instinctually stumbles to my makeshift altar by a window. I write letters to faraway friends and daydream more. I fall asleep earlier. I feel softer.
If I could spirit this pause to every midlife woman, I would. Because sometimes slowing down is the only way to reconnect with the green callings.
Scaled for humans
The day will come when I’m back at my faster clip. But I want to remember the words of author Jennifer Louden urging me to have a “human-scale” life. By this, I imagine a few pauses scattered throughout the day. And at sundown, when the tally of my productive hours comes up shorter than I imagined or wanted, let me remember that I aim to live a human-scale life. Good for me.
Good for you.
This fall, I’m reopening the doors for the midlife women’s circle. This is a small online gathering of women who are looking to learn from and lean into each other. We’ll come together for 90 minutes once per week over the course of five weeks. This is not a class, but a true circle, where we speak and listen. I facilitate, but the circle is the teacher. Imagine sitting around a fire and sharing stories. You are welcome. Please join us!