Monday, April 19, 2010

Midlife Rocks

by Lissa Boles

I remember the first time I read ‘Midlife Is The New Beautiful!’ in my tweet stream.

My first reaction was ‘Ya baby!’  As a (prematurely) silver-headed, late-in-life reinvention artist, the sentiment rang loud and true to me, and the faces of my three favourite women in the world flashed through my mind.

First, there was Sheryl, my oldest girlfriend.

A bootlegger’s daughter who would’ve found it odd if the town cops hadn’t been at her door a least once a month while growing up, her beginnings could easily have set her on a life-track that would have meant nothing more than more of the same. But it didn’t because she wouldn’t let it.

The first and only one in her family to go to college, my girl Sheryl’s an inspiration to all who know her – and the epitome of a self-made woman.

Determined to create the home and family life her much loved but rascally parents just couldn’t give her, she’s been the top sales producer in her field for over 12 years. Together with her husband and son, they bought – and restored – a glorious old home in a tony Toronto neighbourhood, living the exact lifestyle she’d dreamed of as a girl. 

When mid-life middle threatened to decide for her what size she’d wear, she wouldn’t let that decide her destiny either. She started running – and running and running. 

Sheryl now has 4 half-marathons and 1 full marathon under her still-svelte belt, and and she’s having a blast booting around in her never-been-better midlife bod.

Then I saw Maureen.

A child of ‘The Blitz’, and one of the thousands of kids parcelled off to ‘safe’ strangers in the countryside, she returned to London to find everything round her – including her parent’s marriage – in ruins.

She could’ve let that perfect storm of tragic early-life circumstances decide who she’d become and what her life would be about, but she didn’t. Instead, this vibrant 73-year old woman is one of my life’s heroes, mentors and major ticklers of my (sometimes hair-trigger) funny-bone.

When diagnosed with leukemia out of the blue 5 years ago, the prospect of death jarred her into admitting that her marriage wasn’t working and hadn’t been for a long time.

Within 4 months, she’d begun a year-long protocol of well-researched alternative medicine, left her marriage and struck out on her own – moving clear across the country to become what she’d always wanted to be: a non-denominational minister.  Today she’s a much respected leader in a renowned spiritual retreat centre in the pacific north-west – and she’s kicked leukemia’s butt to the curb.

And then there was Shadi.

Born in 1959 to one of South Africa’s very few educated, native physicians, Shadi lived a somewhat privileged life till Apartheid started ripping her beloved country apart. Terrified by what was happening to neighbours and friends, her family fled the country, taking only what they could of their belongings and wealth with them. 

They did the refugee-shuffled for more than 7 years, using up all their resources. Unable to find a stable place to land, and often not permitted to work as a doctor, her father became a broken man, and her mother lost without his strong lead.

When the family finally settled in Canada, Shadi was 13. Determined that the only source of stability in life was herself, she proceeded to cut a path to a life that made it possible to do work she loved while staying in touch with her roots: she become one of the countries leading fund-raising and marketing consultants to the arts, with a focus on native and ethnic expressions.

Never one to do anything half-way, a few years ago she up and sold (or gave away) almost everything she owned after feeling a restless urge to explore the deeper aspects of life.  She moved to Diamond Mountain University to study Buddhism, throwing herself into a life that obviously agrees with her: she positively beams. I talked to her just the other day, and she told me what my heart’s suspected for a while know: she’ll be taking her vows to become a nun later this year.

You know the old saying, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?’  Well all these woman are beautiful to me, but not because of what they look like, what they have or what they’ve done.

They’re beautiful because when they behold themselves they see something more than where they came from or what’s happened to them - without denying, hiding, shrinking from or apologizing for any of it.

When they look at themselves they see opportunity, and they decide – again and again – to rise and meet it with the very best of who they are, creating a life that’s beautiful to them.

Midlife (whenever THAT is) never looked so good.


Wise & deeply skilled at making the mysterious magically make sense, Lissa Boles breaths fresh new life into the ancient art of astrology. Her contemporary take on it – Soul Mapping – allows anyone to see what we’re up to and WHY, as we’re living it – both as individuals and as a collective.

As a speaker, teacher, master life coach and Soul Mapper, Lissa has been working with astrological charts for nearly a decade. She’s helped hundreds finally make sense of their lives so they can step forward and live with greater purpose, intention and personal empowerment. To learn more visit

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