Caitlyn Jenner looks incredible.
Yes, she's been photoshopped and she's probably wearing a boatload of makeup, and Annie Leibovitz could make the Hunchback of Notre Dame look gorgeous. But this is something to admire.
It's not just that Caitlyn Jenner looks good. It's the amount of courage she has to have to put herself out there, first on television as a man, and then on the cover of Vanity-freakin'-Fair as a woman. And not a young woman, either. Jenner is 65-years-old -- midlife, but approaching her senior years.
I've always said that midlife is a state of mind more than an age, and I am fairly certain that Caitlyn Jenner is not thinking of herself as old at all. Her life is just beginning. All of the excitement and thrill of approaching womanhood that you and I felt as we passed out of the awkward adolescent years and into the beginning of womanhood -- that's probably what she's feeling right now. She has finally become fully and completely herself. Just like so many women at midlife have.
Ask a midlife woman what the best thing about being at this stage of life is and, more often than not, she'll tell you it's the freedom to be who she is, do what she wants, embrace all of her own quirks and passions without apology or regret. For so many of us at midlife it's the first time in a long time that we aren't responsible for anyone's happiness but our own.
Caitlyn Jenner is on the cutting edge of society's norms because she's transitioned from male to female, but as a midlife woman she's faced with all the same things so many of us are facing -- our youth is gone, our lives are more behind us than ahead of us, our identities -- as mothers, as wives, as working women -- if we've retired -- have possibly been drastically changed. We have the chance, at midlife, to let go of whatever may have inhibited us when we were in our 20s and insecure, in our 30s and distracted by everyone and everything around us, even in our 40s and unsure of what would come next.
Caitlyn Jenner is finally, finally living her true life. We should all do the same.
Previously published on Midlife Boulevard