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Learn about the "midlife crisis" from mom's journals she left behind

This will be my first Mother’s Day without my mom. Weird.

She spent her life teaching me. Of course, in the most obvious way as she raised me and taught me how to make the best red beans and rice, by opening a can of Blue Runner red beans.

She taught me math and science in the fifth grade. I still can’t see a Hershey bar and not think about fractions.

As she grew much older, 92 to be exact, and she developed dementia and growing needs, she taught me alot about aging and the wonders of a long life-span. That season, she taught me alot about myself as well.

On my last coffee date with mom

My sisters and I have been pouring through and dividing up the things she collected over her long years, picture albums, mementos, awards….and journals. Lots and lots of journals.

The Journals

She documented everything. Mostly on a typewriter. She would type letters to her siblings in other cities on carbon paper so she could type and distribute her communications with her loved ones all over the United States.

It’s really a perspective that can only come from lived experience (aka: age 😅) It’s fascinating to read about things she lived through and who she was, when she was around my age.

Fascinating, and IMPRESSIVE.

Impressive because I see she survived and thrived. I knew a woman succeeding in living her good life. But I am reading the words of her struggles and challenges, doubts and fears. Doing it. Getting through it. Recovering and rising. I have the benefit of seeing it after it’s done.

She had fears and doubts moving from New Orleans to New Jersey, with her three teenage daughters because her husband got a good job. Prepared to miss her Nola family. Uncertain of what it looks like to live in a winter weather state. But she looked for the joy in it all and worked hard to make it something good for her children and husband.

She documented fears when one of her daughters had surgery from thyroid cancer as an adult. I read fears. And I read strength and faith as well.

Proof Mom had "the midlife crisis" too!

One page entry confirmed what I know now to be the turning point for alot of women (and men), that cliched but universally common: midlife crisis.

She doesn’t call it that. A midlife crisis. No one calls it that till you know you’re past it. And then you realize…HOLY SHIT! THAT’s what that was!?!

This journal entry started off with “I am going to write a book. I don’t know when, I don’t know how, I don’t even know what it will be about. But I do know that one day I, Kay Bandi Lyons, will be the author of a book that will be published.”

I’ll leave you the whole journal entry below. But here are the things that stand out to me. Things that my mother went through, that I go through. Things I work with other women who go through:

She describes that season of a woman’s life where she is ready to do something different. Ready for more, She’s ready for her next evolution.

Mom felt it. We all do.

“What is important is that I have the rest of my life to live and I refuse to live day-to-day as I have been living it. I must change. I must create a change in order to grow.”

Now get your own "spanking new beginning"

History does repeat itself. We can learn from it.

“It is possible to change a habit of living which would in turn change the ending years to a spanking new beginning“

It’s not lost on me how she wrote about encouraging someone else in their middle to ending years. I'm trying, mom. I'm trying.

I gotta admit, seeing her write “ending years“ was a little jarring, but in all truth, mortality gets more on my radar as I get older.

I truly do encourage you to hear the stories of an octogenarian. It’s a gift. That life, that history. That perspective.

Learn from my mom. Shoot, learn from anyone who went (or still goes) before you.

Find and use your God-given talents. Get your perspective, don’t lose your head. Stay present. You’re doing fine. You're getting through it. You might even be able to enjoy it.

And maybe document it a little. Believe it or not, you are teaching someone after you how to live the good life.

Cheers to you.

Thanks Mom.

Mom's actual journal entry

Now my life and work is dedicated to helping others get into their evolutions. Stay in touch for insights and info on counseling, coaching, workshops, and speaking. Subscribe.

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Karla Vappie
Karla Vappie
May 22, 2023

I honestly don't know where to begin. This touched me so deeply because it brought me straight back to my mom and the conversations we had about this phase of life, that of course had no name at the time, but I now know was her midlife crisis. And as I am now in the middle of mine, it is so validating to read someone else's words that so accurately capture my very own thoughts. One of the first things I put on my hippy-dippy vision board was "there's a book in me". As I read the typed journal entry, I thought "what a great example of self-care". Your mom took the time for herself to document her life. …


jamie joyce
jamie joyce
May 12, 2023

Wonderful and encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing this!

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