Here’s the best part about the female midlife crisis: We rebound better than men.

Once we hit 50, once the kids are gone, and the career is, hopefully, on track, 36 percent of us reach a time of positive renewal. By contrast, men’s dream fulfillment goes downhill from their mid-30s on, sinking to 28 percent from ages 50 to 64.

So say studies quoted by Sue Shellenbarger in her book, “The Breaking Point: How Female Midlife Crisis Is Transforming Today’s Women.”

And after we pass through our midlife purgatory of self-reflection and self-assessment, women emerge with a more positive attitude about our prospects, Shellenbarger concludes.

Libby Gill knows this is true. She’s been there, done that and has written a guidebook to show other women how to reach the same sense of peace.

“The stresses of our lives have risen up and bitten us on the rear end,” Gill says. “Our roles are hazy. We don’t know who we are.

“We live in a world where a lot of people don’t think they deserve better than they got. Once we really look at our lives and understand we’re deserving and worthy, we see the possibilities.”

Gill is a success strategist and executive coach in Los Angeles who writes books like “Traveling Hopefully (St. Martin’s Press),” a self-help book about self-transformation.

In “Traveling Hopefully,” Gill first outlines ways to get past the legacies our parents give us – from guilt to unfulfilled dreams.

Don’t blame parents for your psychological troubles, she says. Understand most parents do the best they can with what they know and have.

Still, they leave children emotional legacies that can derail lives, she says.

So we replay the wrong tapes, make the wrong choices, reach midlife with our personal choo-choo sidetracked and without direction.

It’s a new “breaking point” for this first generation of women who have worked outside the home and faced emotional stresses their mothers never imagined.

Journaling is among the ways Gill suggests for getting the choo-choo back on track. Ten minutes a day of reflection opens channels of creativity, she says.

“It slows you down and lets you open up to the voice inside,” Gill says. “It can have a profound effect. When you write the words down they take on a power of their own. You can come back lots of times and hold yourself accountable. It forces reflection.”

Gill is a great believer in designing a personal roadmap.

“Keep moving toward what you want and away from what no longer serves you,” she says.

Journaling is one of Gill’s 21 “hopeful tools” to jump-start a new life. None comes without personal pain, she admits.

Her personal roadmap included ending her marriage and establishing two separate households for her sons.

Her solution may not be yours. But, she advises, if you define the purpose in your life, you can turn that definition into goals and measurable steps.

“Refuse to give up,” Gill says.

Perseverance takes women beyond their new midlife-crisis “breaking point.” But the journey gives new meaning to “no gain without pain.”

Jane Glenn Haas is the author of “Time of Your Life: Why Almost Everything Gets Better After Fifty.” She writes for The Orange County Register.


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