Sense of self. Boldness. Voice.
None of which Botox can give you.
To reflect the gains, not the losses,
of midlife, three Nashville women are launching a national newsletter
called Ourselves. They say it is for women ''in the center of
''The sense of loss is where the
focus has been,'' said editor and publisher Amy Lynch. ''We are
looking to balance the view.''
Lynch was the founding editor of
the newsletter Daughters: The Newsletter for Parents of Adolescent
Girls, which she launched when she was raising little girls. Now,
as she nears 50, she finds another group needs her attention —
her compatriots, the baby boomers who are redefining the process.
The U.S. Census Bureau defines middle
age as 45 to 64. Forty million women are between the ages of 45
and 55, and the newsletter will focus on women between 40 and
60. Quoting Carl Jung, Lynch says, middle age starts at 40, give
or take 20 years.
Lynch and her staff say they are
writing for women who have entered a new zone, one as psychological
as it is physiological.
''You move into the period of life
when you know time is limited,'' Lynch said. ''It does hit most
of us. There are job changes, loss of parents, asking for more
of what you need. An internal shift.''
The idea for the newsletter came
when she began to hear from her female friends how they too were
feeling more secure and powerful and yet neglected — save
for those Botox and hormone replacement therapy ads — by
our culture. Pity that just as a woman sheds an old skin and begins
to feel good spiritually, she would feel invisible in a culture
that worships youth.
The newsletter will launch in February,
in print and on the Internet. Each issue will contain stories
on cultural trends, book reviews, medical reports and what the
editor calls ''the re-creation of self'' and ''the search for
the authentic self.''
Women in their focus groups wanted
to read about women making real changes — switching jobs,
going back to school, changing their relationships. They wanted
to read stories about soul sisters who were letting go of things
that no longer suited them and rejoicing that some of the hard
stuff was behind them. They wanted to celebrate exactly where
they were, not pine for the past or fear the future.
While menopause is a real passage
for this age group, the newsletter won't be a repository of change-of-life
stories. Women are much more than their hormones, Lynch said.
''Midlife is a choice. You can stagnate
or grow. It determines how you will live the second half of your
life,'' Lynch said.
Lenore Pomerance, a Virginia therapist
who studies and writes about menopause and midlife, says Ourselves
is indeed on to something. Women in this age group, she said,
do ask a lot of questions: Am I in the right marriage? Should
I have focused more on my career? Was it harder to have kids than
''There is something about seeing
the horizon. Of course, some see it more than others,'' Pomerance
''There has been a medicalization
of sexuality and menopause,'' Pomerance added. ''What these women
are talking about is relationships, which needs a lot of attention.''
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