GENERATION RESTART IS DEFINITELY A THING
Launching Audrey came from a need to do something for myself. I’d had that nagging feeling that something had to change for quite some time, but was at a loss what to do about it. I didn’t hate my work but I wanted something more. It came from a strong sense of the need for a purpose, a desire for the new, something that would fill my life in ways that would make me feel so excited that I would leap out of bed every day, instead of scrolling my way through social media (job most definitely done!). But it also came from an absolutely certainty that today’s midlife women want more from life.
I kept having conversations with friends and acquaintances who were giving their lives a shake-up, retraining, taking degrees, starting a little side project or running marathons. They were talking about this stage of their life as one of excitement, of starting over and doing things they’ve always meant to do. And I realised that for us – women born in the late 50s, the 60s and 70s, even the early 80s – midlife means something different to what it signified for our predecessors.
“Midlife means something different to what it signified for our predecessors.”
The traditional narrative of going part-time in our fifties, planning a slow decline into retirement and waiting for the grandkids to arrive is not for us. Not when there’s so much more to do and a whole world to explore. And it turns out that I was right. Audrey has spawned so many new beginnings, galvanised umpteen women to take the plunge in some way. And we coined the term ‘Generation Restart’ to describe these women who are seizing the day and rebooting their lives.
“I’ve taken up wild swimming, and can’t believe how much I love it. It’s slightly taken over my life. Me who always hated exercise of every form”… “I’ve taken a year-long sabbatical from my job with a charity. My heart’s not been in it for a while, and I want to do something else now the kids are getting older, maybe launch a business”… “I don’t want to leave my job, but I’m going to do a creative writing course and start writing short stories, just because it’s something I’ve always meant to do”… “My career in publishing hasn’t fulfilled me for a long time. So I’ve retrained as a teacher. It’s really hard – I’m constantly challenged and out of my comfort zone – but I don’t regret it”… “I’m retraining to be a life coach. It’s exciting to be using all the skills I’ve built up working in the music industry, helping people to harness their creativity”… “I didn’t know what to do when I left my long career in social care. But I met some artists in their gallery the other day and it reminded me I always meant to do an art degree. I’ve just signed up to it”.
“Life is wasted if we wish it away.”
These are all women I know in their mid to late 40s and 50s who’ve reached a point in their lives when they want something more and are doing something about it. I think it comes from a sense of the number of years we (hopefully) have left to do what we want with our life – because we only get one of those. Life is wasted if we wish it away. But also the sense that we are totally capable of doing new things, taking on big challenges, exploring other opportunities and living differently. Generation Restart is awesome. We don’t ‘do’ old and we have no intention of disappearing and being invisible. We’re good at self-reinvention. We’ve done it before and we can do it again – and do it we shall. Because why not?
Taking ownership of your own destiny can be an incredibly satisfying thing. And the good thing about the midlife stage is we hopefully have more freedom. A hated job can be left in the past if you make an audacious plan. If your relationship has run its course, moving on from it could be the very best thing. And if there’s something you’ve always wanted to do – well, why not do it? It might not need to be radical. The pleasure of learning a new skill. The thrill of rediscovering your creativity. Having little adventures. Reconnecting with the person we once were, before life got in the way.
“Generation Restart is awesome. We don’t ‘do’ old and we have no intention of disappearing and being invisible.”
If working out how you can make a restart is a struggle, or what that restart could be, our agony aunt, Lola Borg says ‘Let yourself think ‘fantasy life’ then work your way backwards from there. Ask yourself what you like doing, how you want to spend your time. What will give you meaning? The fantasy is, you throw everything up in the air and start again, but most people can probably incorporate what they want to do a little bit more in their day-to-day life.’
For all these reasons we are celebrating Generation Restart. It’s definitely a thing – a very lovely thing – and we couldn’t be prouder to be part of it.
Words: Marina Gask
Looking for expert advice? The Audrey Members’ Club is a whole world of support, coaching and expertise for women through self-employment, changing careers, running a business or launching one. Join us to kickstart your future, whatever that may be.