A: Woman’s Midlife Transition
“A”, a woman in her 50s had undergone the loss of an older female friend who was very involved in her life, and who she also described as “my guide and confidante”. This woman was a very special and significant mentor figure who embodied much of A’s understanding of what it is to be a woman. Her loss opened up a whole series of questions for A about her marriage, her career and the things to which she was devoting energy in her life. “Do these things still matter to me?” she found herself asking, “What does matter?”
A found herself wondering what it did mean to be a woman at the midpoint of her life. Where could she find the close friendship and sense of meaningful connection to others for which she yearned? What was it that she really wanted and needed from life and other people?
Far from the stereotypical “buying a red convertible” image of mid-life, A felt hungry for more reality in her life, not less, and recognized that she needed to look deeply at her inner life and her relationships. A explored her dreams and her deepest feelings, until she began to discover at first small sources of vitality. This included some things that she really wanted to be doing in her life–the very things her whole upbringing and work culture told her were frivolous or even useless. As a naturally outgoing person who became more and more aware of her deep feelings, A. became aware of her need to be connected to others in ways that went beyond the often superficial contacts of the business world. Slowly, over time, A began to put her energies in new directions, feeling new confidence in her true self and her deepest aspirations.