What sounds better: “midlife” or “PrimeTime”? When it comes to women, does midlife have a branding problem?

Well, … yeah, sort of. Granted, branding doesn’t solve hot flashes or fix osteoporosis, but … could it?

Think about it: women in midlife frequently feel shoved aside, invisible, irrelevant, unimportant. Once reproduction is done, society seems to say, women don’t have much else to offer. And as women, many of us have internalized that idea, accepting a life that’s less than full because … well, reasons.

We don’t demand solutions. We don’t demand answers, information, even attention. What would happen if we did?

What do you think of when you think of women in midlife? Hot flashes, exhaustion, frazzled concentration, mood swings, resignation, and misery?

That is, as Juju Hook would say, bull****.

With her book Hot Flashes, Carpools, & Dirty MartinisHook is launching a revolution: to rebrand “midlife” to “PrimeTime.” She wants women to take charge of their futures, decide what they passionately want, ditch the “reasons” they’ve created or internalized for not going after their desires, and step into their power.

“With every action you take, you will ignite your imagination. You will open yourself up
to possibilities. You will empower yourself through momentum. You will, through action,
facilitate more opportunity.”

Welcome to PrimeTime

Hook’s book is a refreshingly upbeat look at the positive side of perimenopause and menopause. Are there physical and emotional challenges? You bet. Do those signs of hormonal change define us, limit us, rule our worlds, and determine our futures? Only if we let them, says Hook.

The problem, says Hook, is too many women buy into the BS that midlife is a time of slowing, giving up, accepting diminishing returns from our bodies and our intellect, and letting go. When really, she says, we should be rushing headlong and hallelujah into some seriously rich, exciting, fulfilling years.

At 50, with decent health, genes, and luck, women can reasonably expect to live another 30 years. Do you really want to spend three decades denying all that energy, wisdom, and experience?

So what’s PrimeTime? According to Hook, it’s that magic moment when it all comes together for women: in your 40s and 50s, you’ve got literally decades of experience managing your complicated life, accruing work experience, building credibility, gathering your network, and learning the heck out of everything.

“If you had a real problem – I mean the kind that requires strategy,
quick reaction times, the possible use of duct tape, and absolute secrecy –
who would you call? … If you need a job done right, you call a PrimeTime woman.”

PrimeTime women have it all going on, but until we believe it ourselves, it’ll be hard to convince others. And that’s why midlife needs a rebrand.

(Ready to get your midlife mojo back? Hear more from Dr. Anna Garrett.)

Read or don’t read? Read.

Some of Hook’s book takes us over well-trod territory: exercise, give yourself some affirmation and love, live in the mindful moment, stop living to please others. But it’s well-trod for a reason – this is all solid advice that most of us agree with and studiously ignore.

Hook does take a rather novel approach to cheerleading us all back out onto the field: understand how letting go of damaging societal assumptions will give you back the power you’ve surrendered.

According to Hook, there are six lies we’ve been fed that we need to let go:

  1. Noble Selflessness (everyone’s life and needs take priority over yours, all the time)
  2. Irrelevance (once the kids are raised, you no longer have anything to offer)
  3. Extenuating Circumstances (X is the reason you can’t get on with realizing your potential)
  4. Empty Hourglass (it’s too late for me to reach my dreams)
  5. Impropriety (this isn’t proper/dignified behavior for a woman my age)
  6. Diminishing Capacity (I’m too old to learn or improve, my best years are behind me)

None of these, says Hook, is real or right. And letting go of outdated notions will free you to step into your PrimeTime.

My takeaways

I don’t ordinarily read self-help books; I find they’re either too rah-rah for words or they give me crippling guilt for being too lazy/wounded/under-inspired and wasting my gifts.

But Hook, while unrelentingly rah-rah in a good way, does break it down to some real truths. Yes, society has been engineered to underestimate you, to ignore you, to grind you down. You don’t have to let it.

So, Hook asks, what do you want?

What do you want as passionately and with as much focused purpose as her golden retriever wants treats?

Hook helps you ignore the noise, focus on your big beautiful want, then start aligning your planets to get there.

And imagine what we can do with a world full of PrimeTime women demanding what they want. Imagine how far medicine and science might go toward easing the menopause experience, once women insist on being heard and taken seriously.

That’s the power of “rebranding” midlife to PrimeTime. It’s a chance to shed old, outdated labels and – individually and collectively – claim the fulfilled, fulfilling lives that await.

“Just apply yourself to what you want. Make yourself useful to you.
And the world will open up before you.”

Ready?

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Shannon Perry

Shannon is a celebrated author and global educator. Whether she’s interviewing a physician or producing a podcast, her appetite for research, facts, and truth culminates in credible health education and programming that women can rely on. An avid runner, cyclist, and climber, Shannon knows a thing or two about thriving in midlife and lives in Seattle with her cat, dog and boyfriend.

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