Ladies, where are you in the stage of life and how do you know it?
I stumbled across the stages of a woman’s life on a website for Nuffield Health and written, ironically, by a man, Justin Jones. It lists six stages.
Stage one: young. Stage two: career, family, fun. Stage three, life balance. Stage four: back to you. Stage five: freedom to explore. Stage six: experienced, thankful, content.
I’m in the stage ‘back to you’ with a sprinkle of ‘life balance’ and a dash of ‘freedom to explore’ just to keep things interesting.
Back to you is a wonderful stage that’s a step away from a phrase that cannot use in this column. It means to care less, not even remotely, about a subject. Usually used with a negative indicating that lack of attention you are willing to give something.
According to the website, ‘back to you’ is the stage where most women experience a significant milestone. Menopause. However, it also means more time for ourselves and a sense of resilience thanks to previous life experiences.
I’ve been through some of the worst that life can heap upon a person. My childhood was less than ideal, to put it mildly. Relationships have left me been bruised and battered, both mentally and physically. Juggling children and a career as a single mother – not something I foresaw in my crystal ball – was a daily struggle. Caring for an elderly mother. Helping a brother fight cancer, a struggle we lost.
The list of negative life experiences could continue. However, all those have taught me resilience. I have a strong sense of, “I’ve got this” and “I might bend, but I do not break.”
Stage five, freedom to explore is full of possibilities as retirement is on the horizon. According to the website, this stage is full of adjusting to changes in daily routine, status, relationships, and financial situation. This stage can “throw up challenges on a physical level.” Luckily, it continues, studies show that you’re better than ever at navigating conflict, understanding other people’s points of view, anticipating change and considering different outcomes at this age.
Back to you still includes balancing life – a full time job, bills, the joys of homeownership and continued maintenance, vehicle upkeep, loving my grown children, and shopping to keep the house stocked with essentials. Finding time for everything is definitely a balancing act. Sometimes, I feel like it’s a house of cards and one wrong move will send everything plummeting to the ground. Amazingly stressful.
I tossed in a hint of stage five because freedom comes in all forms. For me, it’s clothing. I want comfort. I tried something called ‘boy shorts.’ It was freeing. Women burned the bras in the 1960s. Let’s do the same for traditional undies.
“The passage of time is not always welcome, but it is inevitable…,” said Jones.
Amen, sister. Amen. Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.