The New Female Midlife Crisis

09wwln_span-articleLarge From Judith Warner:

Today the daughters of these runaway moms, having arrived at the shores of middle age, are taking flight, too. But they’re not, by and large, dumping their husbands. They’re not looking to the job market with expectations of liberation.

Instead, they’re fleeing to yoga, imitating flight in the downward-gazing contortion called the crow position. They’re striving, through exquisite new adventures in internal fine-tuning, to feel more deeply, live more meaningfully, better inhabit each and every moment of each and every day and attain “a more superior, evolved state of being,” as Claire Dederer puts it in her just-published book, "Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses", the latest installment in the burgeoning literature of postboomer-female midlife crisis.

Warner mentions a bunch of books on this topic. Some might be worth reading: Devotion: A Memoir, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After, and The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir

I suppose that Eat, Pray, Love would be part of that genre as well. (My review is here.)

While it's great to have the time to get the gym and organize my photo albums, I do think that a balanced life has to be about more than tidy drawers and tight abs.


6 thoughts on “The New Female Midlife Crisis

  1. Do you have a link to the Warner piece?
    I read “Poser,” which, despite the ghastly title, is very well-written and thoughtful (and funny!).

  2. Well, if motherhood midlife crises ’cause women to do yoga, meditation, gardening, chicken raising or happiness projects, well, I think society can live with that. It was more problematic when people take the Tsing Loh route and destroy families and childrens’ stability in the process.
    I don’t care about Eat, Pray Love’s running away, since she didn’t have dependents to worry about. Tsing Loh, and the previous generations of her sort and the men who do the same thing, who abandon families in the search of personal happiness are more of a problem.

  3. I thought the article glossed over the deeper issues in these books (I’ve read Rubin’s book and Shapiro’s book). It’s not about domesticity and yoga poses–it’s about finding authenticity and contentment in a world that urges you to have it all, do it all and put it all on a credit card.

  4. How wonderful! What a midlife crisis! It reminds me of a book I just finished reading by Sondra Wright titled, “40+ and Fabulous: Moving Forward Fierce, Focused, and Full of Life!” It is such an inspirational book that portrays such a positive image of midlife! I also wanted to mention that I have always wanted to do yoga- that will be my new year’s goal. Thanks for the fun post and the great book references.

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