The Art of a Mid-Life Rebellion

Designing my second act: How I got a do-over at age 40.


Something magical happened to me when I turned 40. I stopped caring. I literally stopped giving a shit. No, I didn’t have a nervous breakdown or stop being concerned about myself, my family or friends. I stopped caring about the mythical “they”.

You know who I’m talking about.

The “they” that says you can’t wear white after Labor Day. The “they” that says as a woman in Corporate America, you have to dumb yourself down to allow the people around you to be a bit more comfortable in your presence. The “they” that says you have to stay in the career in which you’ve already invested two decades. The “they” that says you can’t love curse words and God at the same time. What the hell ever.

It was an epic, soul searching, gut wrenching shit fit of a moment.

The Art of a Mid-Life Rebellion

The year I turned 40, I embraced my authentic self, instead of only occasionally visiting her.

So there I was, in Corporate America, after almost two decades in financial services — and I was having a moment. It was an epic, soul searching, gut wrenching shit fit of a moment. I literally felt like flipping the desk over in my cubical. I mean, I probably would have if it wasn’t screwed into the wall. But I digress…

I was pissed and having a one-sided conversation with God. “Surely you created me for more than this foolery. This cannot be what you meant my life’s work to be.” I had just finished having yet another asinine conversation with a “leader” who had asked my opinion and then had the audacity to get pissed when my opinion didn’t line up with his. Seriously, I lost track of how many times, through my actions and words, I conveyed that my ethics were not up for sale. My constant & consistent mantra had been, “If you are looking for a yes person, buddy, I’m not it.” And yet here we were again.

The Art of a Mid-Life Rebellion

I began to try to figure out what’s next for me? What in the hell comes after this?? I cannot –I will not— have this life for another 25 years. I allowed myself to be open to the possibilities and, after much going back and forth with the big guy, I reluctantly decided to embrace entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship — who would want that burden? You’re exposed, every mistake available for dissection by sideline critics. My dream had always been to be a part of Corporate America.

Corporate America was, to me, the land of paid-time-off, paychecks every two weeks, and lots of policies and procedures. While other little girls were playing dolls and pretending to cook, I played business woman. I had my pens, paper and a rotary phone that wasn’t hooked up to anything. I wanted to be in Corporate America chasing that title, being in control and running stuff. I would be the first in my close-knit family to work in Corporate America. I pursued that goal with a laser focus, through two degrees, several companies, relocations, and motherhood.

The Art of a Mid-Life Rebellion

Imagine my disappointment to discover that I had finally gotten everything I ever wanted only to find that it left me completely empty. I wasn’t happy, not even a little bit. Thank goodness I had a friend who had begun to teach me about the law of attraction and mindset. Thanks to her, I slowly worked past my resistance to thinking about the world differently and opened my mind up to the possibilities.

I considered that maybe –just maybe— the life I had been pursuing wasn’t the life that I was supposed to have after all. But it was a catalyst to finally get me on the right path. So on that day in my 40th year, I decided to take responsibility for intentionally building the life I wanted.

Imagine my disappointment to discover that I had finally gotten everything I ever wanted only to find that it left me completely empty.

I would create an amazing legacy for my family and others by being a servant leader. I would design an existence of which I could be proud, making up the rules of how my life would work as I went along. I would bravely rewrite the script of my own life. And so I quit Corporate America. I left it all behind and launched a personal concierge/lifestyle management firm. I changed my life completely, and now, finally, life feels like it is moving along quite splendidly.

The Art of a Mid-Life Rebellion

If you are in the market to rewrite the script of your life, here are three things I highly recommend that you do/embrace:

Get ready to turn your current mindset on its ass.

I heard this quote somewhere (or maybe it’s the name of a book), but the gist of it is this: what got you here, won’t get you there. You have to be willing to do some heavy lifting, read some books, make some new friends, get rid of some lifelong friends. This is about going to a new level and unlearning some stuff that has been blocking you and holding you back. Everybody is different but, for me, this journey started with purging, decluttering my house and no TV watching (I know; this was in the 2nd or 3rd season of Scandal!! Talk about agony!).

Invest in yourself.

Again — buy a book, read it and actually implement the practices. Attend a seminar, listen, take notes and actually implement the practices. Pay for a coach, engage your coach, and actually do what he or she says. Have you noticed a theme? It’s not enough to just spend the money. You also have to strengthen your commitment to execute.

Embrace self-care.

You simply cannot rewrite the script if you don’t put caring for yourself and your health high up on your to-do list. You won’t have the energy for it. I hate the gym, and I’m not a fan of working out. My trainer assures me that I will fall in love eventually, but it hasn’t happened yet. I work out because I HAVE to do it. I’ve noticed when I’m not doing a good job of taking care of myself, mentally and/or physically, my body will call me out and just not participate in my plans. I’ll start to get sick or start to get migraines.

My body is very clear about who is in charge, so to co-exist with it; I have to do my part by making good choices. Spa days have found their place on my calendar, as have frequent walks in the park. These are appointments with you, for you. Don’t be one of those people that are great at taking care of everyone but you.

Changing course at 40 or after isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is absolutely worth it. I am happy and free — and you will be too once you get out of your own way.

Be brave!

Avatar of Jaime Bennett

Jamie is a lifestyle strategist that provides "the gift of time" to busy people through her company, The LifeStyle Group. Jamie has 20+ years of process improvement experience that she leverages to help her client’s lives run more efficiently. She is an avid reader, an active volunteer at her son's school.

Reader Discussion: 97 Comments

  1. Avatar of Elise Godenot

    Elise Godenot

    People get into midlife crisis because they realize at some point they aren’t satisfied with their lives. They want to change that and become “rebels”. They want to start everything from scratch and sometimes they act childish. That’s why many people start playing in a band or do some other activities they never did when they were young. Like they are going back to puberty.

    • Avatar of David Shulman

      you are absolutely correct. People are bored with themselves ,their careers, their families and mainly care only about themselves.This is the age of selfishness and looking only at yourself and the hell with everyone else.
      Me me me!!

  2. Avatar of Lesley


    First, I want to thank you, Jamie, for sharing your story, and for loving yourself, and women in general, enough not to settle, for anything. Thank you for delivering your story with the realness and grit it deserves to make us think about what we really want and how we can go about getting it. We work so hard to support our families and our lifestyles and, though it works for many of us, we often sacrifice our peace as a result, which leads us to our MLC’s. We get to a point where that’s no longer enough and realize we have 2 choices; we can keep going down this road of “Ok”, or change course and find that road to “Oh yeah!” I thank you for encouraging me to find that “Oh yeah!” road and look forward to all life has to offer me, and you. Keep us posted on your journey and keep writing, too! You’re touching and changing lives and I love it!

  3. Avatar of Tamika

    Congrats Jaime!!! You are definitely shining!!

  4. Avatar of Alice Harris

    Alice Harris

    In the next decade of my life I’m looking forward to praying more and worrying less. I am declaring that by 40 this will change for all woman. The women that I know who are 40 & over are so sure about themselves, what they want out of life. We will be stronger in our convictions and unapologetic about wanting what’s best for us. Thanks for helping to bring clarity back in my life! 🙂

    • Avatar of Jaime Bennett

      You are so welcome Alice. It’s my pleasure to share my story in hopes of helping someone figure theirs out!!

  5. Avatar of Rosemary Robles

    Rosemary Robles

    Beautifully simply stated.I think with every birthday, we find ourselves re-examining our life progress. In doing this we re-examine ourselves and build a better understanding of who we are and what we want. We will discover new things and some things may change. I love what you do but if you do nothing all year and re-post this message then the world will be infinitely better(laughs).

  6. Avatar of Mary Johnston

    Mary Johnston

    Thank you for posting this great insight. From what I’ve read, you don’t need any advice. I felt like when one person turns 40 they’re finally ready to live. You seem to have a healthy attitude and perspective about aging. I still haven’t turned 40, but i’m ready and i think it’s wonderful.

    • Avatar of Jaime Bennett

      Thanks Mary. I’m loving life, it took me awhile to get here but I’m happy!!

  7. Avatar of Shirley Fuchs

    Shirley Fuchs

    Thank you so much for being you! Much love and blessings, Shirley.

  8. Avatar of Lela House

    Lela House

    I’m 29 and I’m working on living in the moment and appreciating the small moments God has given me.

    • Avatar of Jaime Bennett

      Absolutely,Lela, this process can start at any time. I’m glad you are appreciating life as it comes.

  9. Avatar of Charlene Campbell

    Charlene Campbell

    I have read this several times and keep getting more out of it. I think that it is always important to have a vision of who you want to be at any age. Consider the last 39 years of your life as a foundation built for the next 40 + years of your life. So as long as we are taking care of ourselves and being true to our “best self” we will be at peace no matter what age. This is amazing! Thank you!

    • Avatar of Jaime Bennett

      Thank you so much, Charlene for taking the time to read it, again and again!! I agree with you totally, have a vision and then work diligently towards it. Then have the courage to change it, if you decide you don’t want it anymore.

  10. Avatar of Tracy

    So, so good..I did the first part…the shit fit part at 50…wish I had done it earlier like you did. You’ve given me a lot to think about…thanks so much for sharing!

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