The symbols generally fell into one of three categories:
- Representations of physical aging: various skin and facial creams, tiger balm, and even a cloth tape measure representing the all-too-common thickening of our waistlines.
- Symbols of midlife accomplishments: graduation tassels from someone’s completion of a master’s degree, business cards of new midlife vocational “callings,” and an ornate box representing a woman’s amazing artistry.
- And there were also symbols of midlife intentions: A passport and “road trip” music representing plans to take those bucket list trips, a heart with an open hand reflecting an attendee’s efforts to be more “open hearted,” and a packet of seeds symbolizing another woman’s intention to plant new beginnings.
It was awesome. We loved hearing about the significance of one another’s objects and also had a lot of fun joking about what wasn’t on the altar – gummies to help us sleep, discarded scales (yay!), and our favorite lubes 😊.
Perhaps most illuminating was how beautifully the altar captured the many ANDS of midlife. All too often, women in midlife focus primarily on challenges of this time period, while barely acknowledging the good stuff. In fact, most everyone at the workshop resonated loudly when we discussed how our accomplishments often get “drive by,” fleeting attention.
But our age-related perks and achievements are pivotal ANDS of midlife. Along with our weakening eyes, we’ve made some impressive feats and with our cranky bones, we’ve taken some courageous steps. And despite our cadre of creams, we are still “more comfortable in our skin.”
So, my invitation to you all is to widen your midlife lens so that you see and feel the many concurrent “ands” that are always happening in your lives. Take some time to consider what would be on your midlife altar. Or even better, make one to remind yourself of the many “ands” alive in your life.
And when you pass the altar, bow in recognition and honor of your midlife reality.
Wishing you all presence to the many ands in your life.