Learning To Love Midlife

Learning To Love Midlife
Angela Galloway

Lifestyle Editor

Dec 05, 2022

When you say the word midlife, what’s the next word that immediately pops into your head?

Is it crisis? I thought so… which just reinforces why midlife urgently needs a rebrand!

‘Midlife crisis’ was a turn of phrase coined by psychoanalyst Elliott Jaques in 1965 to describe the ‘trauma’ that many people felt when faced with the imminence of old age. The term was quickly embraced by popular culture and subsequently stripped every skerrick of its original intent. The hackneyed narrative of the ‘midlife crises has been reduced to a lampoonable parody of aging. Part cliché and part trivialised societal stereotype, more often associated with infidelity, sports cars and plastic surgery, than the response to a legitimate life transition.  

El Camino done and dusted by Angela
Angela Galloway in front of the Cathedral at the end of El Camino. Read her Golden Gap Year story here.

For me, midlife feels less like a crisis and more like an awakening. Like I’m finally waking up after a long hibernation, feeling liberated, energised and ready to step into the shape that was always meant for me. But midlife ‘awakening’ sounds as lame and ‘woo woo’ as midlife crisis does clichéd. So … after much deliberation, I arrived at the idea of a midlife metamorphosis …  or ‘midamorphosis.’

Courtesy of MEAx

While it might seem like an unflattering comparison to draw, there are a number of parallels that can be drawn between humans around midlife, and caterpillars. Both have a longing to shed an old skin and to transform into who or what they were born to be. Both require time to undergo this transformation. And for both, this process is not as seamless as it might appear, to an outsider looking on from the sidelines. Caterpillars, as it turns out, do not just spin a chrysalis and magically start growing pretty wings. No siree. They basically meltdown into soupy moosh first, after which their ‘imaginal cells’ take over and organise the other cells to reform into the butterfly they were born to be. It takes time and effort to become a butterfly. And so it is with midlife, as we retreat into our own midlife chrysalises, to strip back all the layers and wallow in a mire of midlife moosh. Only after this has happened can our own ‘imaginal cells’ get to work to reimagine who and what we are meant to be in our post-chrysallis life.

As Sue Monk Kidd said in The Secret Life of Bees, “You gotta imagine what’s never been.”

If you want to learn to love midlife, then register to attend a free, live online conversation (Sunday Dec 11 from 11am – 12 noon AEDT) hosted by the Modern Elder Academy (MEAx) with Kari Cardinale – expert longevity educator and visionary social entrepreneur. Hear Kari’s story as a journalist, educator, and digital intimacy master and why she’s passionate about rebranding midlife from a crisis to a calling. Reserve your free ticket here


By Angela Galloway

Lifestyle Editor

After a successful career in marketing and advertising, Angela Galloway devoted the majority of the last nineteen years to be support crew for a partner and two kids across three states and two countries. Now, as she emerges from the haze of ‘domestic pit alley’ she is faced with the familiar dilemma of trying to rediscover and reinvent in preparation for the the next half century. She has returned to her love for writing to help with this process (and as a cheap form of therapy!) Be inspired by her regular stories as she travels the world and writes a regular travel journal on her mid-life Gap Year for The Carousel.



The Carousel