Middle-aged women contending with stress can find solace in this gospel message.
The holidays are upon us. My mailbox is brimming with catalogs, our family calendar is stacked with end-of-year events, and I’m not the only woman feeling the irony of hauling out plastic totes of decorations proclaiming “peace” and “joy” when often this season feels quite the opposite.
In our house, at least, the lion’s share of meal prep, travel arrangements, holiday shopping, and household scheduling falls to the lioness. It feels like someone hit the fast-forward button in mid-November, and I’m barely hanging on.
However, for Generation X women like me, stress isn’t limited to the holiday season. In her recent piece “The New Midlife Crisis for Women,” Ada Calhoun documents the acute and chronic stresses faced by women born between ’65 and ’84. Ours was the generation with the unluckiest of timelines: We were young children when divorce rates were highest, teens as high crime and AIDS were all over the news, and buying houses just before the greatest recession in three generations.
At work, we feel stuck and stalled in careers—more educated than our female forebears but financially and vocationally insecure. At home, while some are struggling with the care of older parents and a rising number of children with special needs, others stare down the ambiguous losses of singleness and childlessness. Add to this the real (and yet seldom discussed) phenomenon of perimenopause with its sweatiness, insomnia, and increased susceptibility to depression, and the descriptor de jour becomes all the more apt: We are a hot mess.
“Me too,” was the resounding response when I posted Calhoun’s article on Facebook. “This really resonated with …