The closer I got to 50, the more nervous I became.
I mean, not just about aging. About anything.
Tasks and decisions that were once so simple felt like uphill battles.
I would spend hours mulling over outfits for the day, trying to figure out whether or not I was “dressing my age.” Similarly, I had a panic attack nearly every time I stepped into the salon, second-guessing my stylist's suggestions out of fear of an out-of-date haircut.
Even something as silly as ordering lunch became an ordeal as I was so worried about my waistline.
I promised myself that I would never be that single mom that had a mid-life crisis, but there I was living just about every stereotype imaginable. Trying to appear “cool” to my then sixteen-year-old daughter Chelsea, meanwhile scrolling through Craigslist for used convertibles as I pictured myself turning heads around the block.
The idea of aging absolutely terrified me, but ironically it was Chelsea who managed to set me straight. One evening I was going on and on about wanting to date again, probably talking at the speed of light. Chelsea stopped me mid-sentence and said with more sincerity than I'd ever heard...
“Mom, are you okay? Seriously.”
No, I wasn't. And I broke down.
After a heart-to-heart, we investigated the root of my would-be midlife crisis.
I was operating between two extremes: making quick, knee-jerk decisions and overthinking just about everything.
It was as if I had to reset my brain to figure out how to reduce stress in my day-to-day life, but a combination of steps made doing so a reality.
For starters, I started practicing mindfulness in just about every aspect of my day, but especially in regard to my health and my wallet. Before I took any sort of action, I taught myself how to stop and look actually think about what I was stressed out about. Whenever I felt an anxiety attack coming on, I pumped the brakes.
Take a breath. Relax.
Yoga and daily breathing exercises became an integral part of my healthy, daily routine. In addition, I found that living in the moment taught me to stop making rash decisions while also not sweating the small stuff. For example, I used to beat myself up over a missed workout or poor day on my diet; however, I eventually learned not to hold onto such regrets.
The same rules applied to my appearance and dating life. I made a vow to simply accept myself and go with the flow when it comes to future relationships.
Most importantly, though, I became closer to Chelsea. I stopped trying to impress anyone else and decided to focus on our relationship first and foremost. Instead of my going on and on about trivial matters, I started listening to her and it changed everything.
The takeaway here?
Don't be afraid to acknowledge your seemingly inevitable mid-life crisis but also don't be afraid to ask for help. Communicating with my daughter helped the lightbulb go off in my head, and I suspect the same could be said for many women approaching 50 as well.