In this episode, Alex talks with author Mandy Newman about her book Love Song. Inspired by the struggles of women in their mid-life, Mandy wrote Love Song to help grown-up girls deal with both the challenges and opportunities mid-life can bring. During this episode, Alex and Mandy discuss this wonderful book and the many challenges of mid life plus share their tips on how to make it your best chapter yet!

About Mandy Newman

Mandy Newman is a truly accomplished lady. She has been a professional writer and teacher for over 25 years.  She has worked as a journalist at The Financial Review, a feature writer for The Herald Sun. With degrees in Sociology, Teaching and a Masters Degree in Creative Writing, Mandy has published a few non-fiction books and has just written her first work of fiction. You can find Mandy’s website here.

About Love Song

Love Song was inspired by the struggles of women in their mid-life. Women who are frustrated, going through a mid-life crisis. Women wondering what’s next? Women who want to break out and embrace their female energy. Women who have a sense that time is running out. This beautiful book is about reinvention and is a celebration of female friendship.

The story centres on Jessie, a middle-aged women who is miserable. She happens to get an invitation to her high school reunion which brings back memories of a hot and heavy encounter she had with a handsome boy at her Year 12 formal. Through a strange set of circumstances, this now grown man dances his way back into Jessie’s life. But the story also involves Jessie’s new high-energy ‘can-do’ friend Marion. This is a story of love, friendship, dancing in the moonlight and baking – a must read!

What Are The Biggest Challenges for Women in Mid-Life?

Mandy believes that for women finding our voice is the biggest challenge in our mid-life. But once we’ve found it – it’s then trusting it and then allowing it to come out.

Many women in their mid-life experience a conflicting range of emotions. Anxiety about our children, fear for the future, an acknowledgement that time is running out, sadness for lost dreams and concern that we are too old to realise those dreams.

Mandy believes our 18-year-old selves need to remind our mid-life selves of our passions and dreams. Yes, it is terrifying unpacking these feelings. You will definitely shake things up but it is far better to act otherwise you’ll turn into ‘a horrible person screaming at her husband in Bunnings’ – direct quote from Mandy 🙂

Do Gen X’s Have a Harder Time of Mid Life?

Alex and Mandy discuss whether our generation of mid-life women have it particularly hard.

The fact that many of us were the first women in our families to go to university, have a career, or choose to stay at home with our kids means we are more empowered when compared to our mother’s at this same time in life. With empowerment comes increased expectations.

Our Generation X was also the first to really experience the notion of having divorced parents. If our parents weren’t, then we knew someone who were going through it. So many of us are looking through a lens of instability. But this creates a conflict for many women and we are yearning for stability but craving the desire to be free.

Work is such a key part of our self-worth however Gen X’s have had a trickier time than most in the workforce. Many ‘Boomers’ are still hanging around in the workforce because their nest eggs aren’t looking great, and we have the super empowered millennials breathing down our necks, keen to secure our jobs. So, a lot of ’mid-life’ women have less opportunities for work.

The Power of Female Friendship

Alex and Mandy believe female friendships are the foundation of our next chapter. As women who are transitioning to our next chapter, both ladies believe you can underestimate the power of the female bond to help you navigate the challenges.

Research shows that if you see your ‘positive’ female friends at least twice a week then your quality of life improves dramatically!! Here’s the research so you can show your partners:

Female friends make you feel less alone. They can also provide great comfort. Remember, we all need to be heard and understood and like-minded female friends are a great place.

Alex and Mandy’s Top Advice For Women Navigating the Turbulent Waters of Middle Age

  1. Self-Care. Proactively managing your health can be life changing. Put some energy into getting your body in the healthiest state possible so you’ll be in a better position to deal with the hormonal assault of middle age. Find yourself an integrative GP who has a holistic approach to health. If you can’t find a friend to talk to about your feelings about then please see a counsellor. Workshopping feelings is essential. Shop around till your find the right person. It is essential to release yourself from your self-limiting beliefs.
  2. Female Friendship. Invest in your female friends because they will be tour biggest asset in this period of transformation. If you are feeling a little short on friends, consider joining some groups or reinvigorating old relationships. Yes, it is hard to do this when you are feeling sad and and lonely, it’s hard but if you work on yourself first, this will be easier.
  3. Be Vulnerable. Take yourself out of your comfort zone, face your fears and tackle your issues head on. Dr Claire Weekes, an Aussie expert in anxiety, believed that when dealing with anxious situations and uncomfortable feelings, you should follow the following processing sequence: Face, float, accept, let time pass. Read more here. If you don’t face your feelings, don’t be surprised if you find yourself scoffing chocolate bars! Being vulnerable and open with others also makes it much easier to connect with people. Be prepared to share your ‘story’.

How to Get A Copy of Love Song

Mandy is very kindly giving away 2 copies of her book to followers of The Grown-Up Girls Report. Simple send a direct message on our Facebook page about why you value female friends and you could win yourself a copy! You can also purchase a copy of Love Song here.

Quick and Easy Cacao, Cashew and Cranberry Slice

Just prior to Mandy knocking on the door, Alex whipped up this quick and easy vegan, gluten free, sugar free slice. Inspired by her hours of googling while on a very strict diet, this fudgy slice is the perfect one to keep in the fridge for mental health purposes. Even Alex’s fussiest son loved this – and he’s not easy to please!! You can find the recipe here.

Listen to the episode here: