03/08/2013 06:45 am ET Updated May 08, 2013

A Few Things I've Learned Since High School

Come to find out, this spring marks the 40th year since I graduated from high school. Who knew? I certainly didn't until I received a friendly note from the reunion committee. So I joined their Facebook page and started looking around.

What did I find? The faces of hundreds of people I don't know. Had I joined the wrong group? Did I sleep through high school? I was even more shocked to find out how many of my former classmates remember their high school teachers. I do not remember a single one.

As I combed through my yearbook, memories did return, but they were all bad ones. What I remember was a girl with serious self-esteem problems, a quiet, self-effacing child who felt utterly uncomfortable in her own skin; too shy, too insecure but mostly too self-critical. That was me in high school.

Not that I was unusual or unique. I believe two words describe high school best for most: boundless insecurity. We had no idea what we were doing, and why would we? Some of us hid our insecurities better than others. Some acted superior because we didn't know what else to do. As I recall, there was plenty of insecurity to go around and projections gone wild.

I envied the popular girls back then, and imagined that they had perfect lives. They seemed so sure of themselves, and they were dating. Boy, did I want a date in high school, but all I could manage were a few serious crushes. Crushes were easy. I could make up the whole thing in my head and nobody got hurt. Of course, nobody got to know me either. What a lonely time that was for me.

Overall, I decided high school is one time I will choose to forget. However, I did receive one great epiphany from this sad trip down memory lane. Since age 50, midlife has turned into the very best time in my entire life!

My 40s started out badly, as I got divorced and then lost my job, but somehow I found the strength inside to turn my misfortune into useful wisdom. I finally found the inspiration to go in search of my authentic self, and luckily I was quite pleased with what I found. In this process, I learned how normal, natural and even healthy it is to become your authentic self in midlife.

Boomers are so lucky! For the first time in human history, we have long enough lifespans to transition from the limiting beliefs of our early adulthood, learn about new stages of human development previously unavailable, and embrace our full potential and power as we take responsibility for the full range of choices before us. These opportunities are especially new for women, who historically have been ignored or marginalized when it came to attaining higher levels of education, psychological development, and consciousness.

Sadly, far too many of us are damaged or destroyed while trying to negotiate this sometimes difficult midlife transition. Because of rampant misinformation, this natural rite of passage is too often spent feeling alone, confused, misunderstood and marginalized, when it should instead be a time to celebrate coming into our own power and embracing what is unique within us.
Boomers: Learn more about who we are and where we came from. Gather the information you need to experience a happy, healthy transition into a better you!

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Milestones Through the Years