How One Woman Averted a Midlife Crisis by Learning to Put Herself on the List, Too
She had boundless energy and this super-contagious smile. She was smart, always looked cute, and was kind to everyone she met. Oh, and she was on the pom-pom squad and looked so adorable that I kind of wanted to hate her.
Let me clarify. When I met Christie, we were in high school. We’d both moved to Aurora, Colorado within the past couple of years. I had no idea the move was a major shock to her. (She’d moved from Hawaii. The massive snow dumps were the least of the changes she had to adjust to in her new home.) All I saw was this perfect and popular girl. (I was, um… not.)
We reconnected recently, and I’ve got to tell you… She’s even more beautiful now. It’s not because of her beauty, friendliness, and infectious energy – although five minutes of talking with her confirmed those traits are all absolutely intact more than 30 years later.
Now, there’s a whole new layer of beauty. They say our beauty in youth is a lucky draw from the gene pool. But our beauty as we age is due to the choices we make and the person we decide to become.
It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Christie Kaleo Mattson. She learned one of the most important secrets for creating a fulfilling, fun life at any age.
You Want a Midlife Crisis? Because That’s a Great Way to Get One
Christie’s always been a giver. She cares for others 24/7.
She runs the daily operations for a business caring for seniors. Her employees love working with her to care for seniors in their homes. She’s designed her business to provide maximum freedom for her team. Some go to yoga, taking shifts that work around what feeds their souls. Christie honors their commitment to self-care.
Christie’s mom lives with her. For many families, intergenerational living is the norm. But for many of us, the idea of combining generations under one roof seems like too daunting a challenge to even attempt. While there have been adjustments and challenges in this arrangement, she’s really glad to have these bonus years with her mom so near.
Christie is also part of the Sandwich Generation, caring for her mom while also raising a teenage son. Her husband’s work often takes him away on outdoor adventures, so she mostly handles everything on the homefront herself.
Oh, and she’s started another business with her best friend, LuckyTwo Boutique. Together, they sell handmade jewelry and refashioned wearable art.
If you’re exhausted already, you’re paying attention.
We Often Give Until It Hurts
There’s something inside many of us that drives us to take care of everyone who crosses our path. We’ll bake those cupcakes for our child’s school, play chauffeur to take a loved one to an appointment, then work late into the night to make up for the time we take to help others.
Our list of responsibilities and to-do’s can grow so long we can’t see the end of it.
But it’s too easy to leave one important priority off of that endless list: ourselves.
You’ve probably known women who devote all their time to caring for others until they reach the point they’re running on fumes. You might even be one of those women facing burnout.
Psychology Today says that burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to:
- Physical and emotional exhaustion
- Cynicism and detachment
- Feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment
For a woman who’s spent her entire life showing boundless energy, friendliness, and a drive to achieve, it’s like burnout strips them of their essence. They no longer recognize themselves in the mirror, and they grow to hate how they show up in the world.
When Christie’s tank began running empty, she knew she needed to replenish her reserves, and fast. There was too much at stake to just keep running, running, running without putting herself on her list of priorities.
Self-Care for the Midlife Woman
Christie’s made some small and big changes in her life – changes that elevated her levels of happiness in dramatic ways. Actually, what caught my attention and nudged me to interview her for Vested Beauty was this post on Facebook:
I’ll Have What She’s Having
You can see why I had to talk with her, right?
Here’s what I discovered during our conversation about how Christie was learning to take care of herself first rather than… never.
Feeding Her Creative Soul
Christie says, “It’s important to embrace whatever your passion is. My passion, since I was a child, is being creative. I lost it along the way, getting married… doing the house thing… having a family…. always working full-time-plus hours. I’ve brought art and creativity back into my life and truly love what it does for my attitude and well being. My mind is filled with creations and designs that I try to find time to make a reality. In due time. I can get lost in creating. I’m now painting and refashioning one of a kind apparel and selling it online!”
Self-Care for the Body
Christie had been dealing with hip and joint pain. Maybe you know the feeling, too? You go to roll out of bed and need to take a moment because it just hurts. Her best friend was dealing with it, too – tingling and numb hands and the start of some mobility issues. Together, they started taking a liquid collagen product to try to regain their joint health. Within just weeks, Christie found she was able to get out of bed without hip pain. Her skin, hair, and nails also improved – even after years of dying had left her hair brittle. (She’s not ready to go gray yet. Her son is 16 and says he doesn’t want her to look like his grandmother!)
Christie says she’s a work in progress (aren’t we all!). “There will always be something to learn and improve to help reach complete fulfillment… is that possible? =)”
One piece of that work is learning to make her voice heard. She says, “I’ve put my feelings aside for too long. Our voices do matter. I’m a pleaser, give endlessly, and always have been. I’ve put others’ needs before mine for as long as I can remember. My son is older now. He needs me less and less, so I can pay attention to me now and put my passions, health and happiness first. It’s never been a priority for me until now.
As a mom, wife, daughter, and full-time worker, there’s always someone who needs a piece of you. You know what I’m talking about. I’m really just figuring out how to juggle it all and fulfill my needs but still being present for my family and friends.
“If there were five of me, everyone would be happy! I’m learning now that the happier I am, the happier those around me are.”
Best Advice for Ending a Midlife Crisis?
I always like to ask the women I interview what advice they’d give to younger women – or to themselves a couple of decades ago. Here’s what Christie says:
- Stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Don’t be swayed by everyone’s opinion of how you should be and what you should do.
- There was really nothing holding me back but me.
- Sometimes you need a detour but always get back on track. Nothing more important than your overall happiness and well being. The rest will follow along on your positive path.
- Be proud of who you are, embrace your talents, and don’t let life pass you by. Don’t just exist. It’s not about money, it’s about happiness. It’s about being satisfied inside and out.
- Christie’s surrounded herself with a small tribe of friends and family who love her and challenge her to be her best self. You can choose who’s in your tribe.
As a young woman, Christie once had a boss who nicknamed her “Disneyland” because she has a fun way about her that people love to be around. Even Disney has a dark side, though – and as many women know first-hand, the fun runs out when you’re running on fumes. Nobody’s going to wave a magic wand or sprinkle fairy dust on us to bring the spark back. It’s up to us to do what we need to bring life back into our lives.
In the end, our quality of life is what we make of it. Put yourself on the list.