Within the last month, I’ve learned that I can be categorized as a midlife blogger. In the strictest definition of the term, that simply means a blogger who is over the age of 40 so indeed I’m a midlife blogger by eleven years.
But is that the real definition? At this year’s BlogHer conference during an “interest in identity session on midlife blogging“, Chloe Jeffreys, the CEO of Generation Fabulous, talked about midlife being a phase in a female’s life after being a maiden and then a mother, but before becoming a crone. Hmmmm…
Back in 2009, I attended the BlogHer conference the last time it was held in Chicago. I found it to be an incredibly un-fulfilling experience. The panels seemed to have an emphasis on monetizing your blog and how to get things for free. As a former journalist, I couldn’t believe some of the things I was hearing. And then it got worse.
On the BlogHer trade show floor, I was asked over and over how many kids I had and what their ages were. Several of us noticed this. At one booth selling vacuum cleaners, the person working the booth got noticeably nervous when I said that I didn’t have any children. Oh no! She had to go off her script! It was clear that me choosing to not procreate the species had somehow made me unfit to buy a vacuum cleaner in her mind.
(And I wasn’t alone in feeling that way. A post on MidLifeBloggers.com stated, “In ’09, it seemed to me that almost all the brands were pitching to mothers of young children. This year, not at all. And in ’09, the brands were mostly interested in selling us their products. This year they were interested in forming relationships with bloggers that were mutually beneficial. Bravo, BlogHer’13; bravo brands.”)
Because of that experience, I’ve having some mixed feelings about the midlife blogger label. Is there going to be backlash because I skipped the motherhood phase? I’m not an empty nester. I don’t have grandchildren to coo over. I am going straight from maiden to crone.
The funny thing is that women get pushed into these “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situations through out their lives. Babies or no babies? If you do decide to have kids, will you keep working or stay at home? These decisions affect our lives and how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived by others.
I don’t feel that much different from how I did ten or twenty years ago. People don’t believe that I’m 51 years old. Thanks to some good hair genes, I have very little grey hair. I even quit getting highlights in my hair because I didn’t want people to think I was trying to hide my grey. If anything, because I’m not out in the sun lots like I was when I was younger, my hair is the darkest it’s ever been.
Now the rest of my body is telling me that I’m older. But then I’ve almost always had a weight problem and my bad knees were diagnosed when I was 15. And I’ve never really liked loud night clubs with thumping bass threatening to break my ear drums.
But I am moving slower. I don’t keep up with new music like I did when I worked in radio fifteen years ago. And a quiet place with good friends and good drinks is my idea of heaven on a weekend night.
So, even without the motherhood phase, I guess I truly am a midlife blogger.