Welcome to your Midlife Matters newsletter.
An online space to explore YOU in the mayhem, magic and mystery of your midlife.
Hi Alana, who are you and why are you here?
Great question. Curiosity is one of the three superpowers I talk about needing in midlife, so great start! I’m Alana Kirk, and I’m a single mum to three teenage girls (so yes, between my menopause and their puberty, it’s the Horror House of Hormones, and no, there is barely a door left hanging on its hinges). I live in Dublin, Ireland with them (most of the time), our dog Mojo (we may have rescued him, but he gave us our mojo back), cat and tortoise. I’m a Gen X-er with hankerings for 80’s music, and my favourite things are books, sea and sun (preferably all together). I wear A LOT of blue, love nature (have been known to talk to trees), am a psychology junkie, love cooking (not the 3 times a day for 17,835,735 years sort, but the nice meal someone will appreciate sort). I love shops that sell blue clothes, stationery and dry, crisp Rosé wine and my goal in life is to find one shop that sells all three. Somewhere in my mid-40’s my midlife fell apart and was a total shit-show for a while. Ten years later I’m an author, midlife coach for women, yoga-loving, sea-swimming, kitchen-dancer, none of which my early 40’s self could have imagined.
That’s great, but what do you actually “do”?
I use words to change worlds. Yours hopefully. Mine definitely. Through writing, speaking and coaching, I help women explore themselves and figure out how to navigate this incredibly unique, but often desperately hard midlife. As the Midlife Coach, I work with women 1:1 and through workshops to empower them run their lives, not be run down by it. As an author, my latest book Midlife, redefined: Better, Bolder, Brighter is a self-guide to inspire and guide the reader with information, stories and powerful exercises so you end up with your own bespoke midlife (wo-manual). I’ve written regularly for UK and Irish newspapers and magazines, and am happiest on my soapbox talking all things midlife women on radio and TV. As a motivational speaker, I give talks, workshops and webinars for companies and events, as well as run my own events and workshops.
The most important words you hear are the ones you tell (or think) yourself so I help women understand they are not their thoughts and feelings but in fact can have far greater agency in their life than they think. AND most importantly, help them matter more in their own midlives by understanding that while being so many things to so many people, it’s so utterly, sanity-savingly important to be very much something to yourself.
Why did you start this newsletter?
My writing career began with a blog. I’d given up my 15 year career in the non-profit sector and was grappling with the dynamic duo of figuring out a career and raising a family. I began a blog because writing words has always been how I’ve made sense of my world. That blog got me a book deal for my memoir The Sandwich Years and as my life imploded (I was to realise that I could build a better life from the rubble) I went back to college and retrained and here I am - a coach, writer and author.
But it’s not enough. Despite speaking out through media and through my own work, I want a platform to write regularly, to share regularly, to help and inspire others regularly in a place that doesn’t have algorithms dictating who sees my stuff, or time specific moments. So this is it. It will be a place where I regularly share and explore the main issues women like you and me face, with archives of previous work and it’s also a fun place to connect and communicate directly with my readers and followers. It’s also a way for me to get paid for some of my writing (most of it will be free) and build a permanent place for the midlife manifesto that will grow from these newsletters. It’s bigger than a blog in that I can start community chats, host live events, and do lots of other fancy pancy things.
I really hope you come to see this not just as a newsletter but as a hangout for you to take your bra off and chill, feel seen and heard, feel inspired and held as you navigate this unique, precious, pressured, full of possibilities midlife.
Oh and those other two superpowers I mentioned? Curiosity is the first - curiosity about you and who, how and where you are in life right now, at this age and stage: what turns you off, what makes you tick, what are you tolerating, what are you missing, what lights you up, what’s next. You know, all those juicy, hard questions.
The second is intention. Living with intent is how you thrive in this life, not just survive it. The third is an attitude of gratitude. Not just the top three things you are grateful for today. I mean the fact you are still standing girl! That you are here for all that has happened - the good, the bad and the ugly, and with the right tools (I’ll show you that toolkit) you can play the best hand of cards, with whatever cards you hold. (I’ll help you see cards you didn’t think you hold, or ways to play the ones you have better.)
What’s the difference between free and paid subscribers?
I am so grateful to everyone who engages with my words and my work, from Instagram followers, to readers of my books, to subscribers to my newsletter (free and paid), and everyone I coach, or who attend my talks, workshops, webinars, and hey, anyone who smiles at me in the morning on my dog walk. Not because I’m needy, but because I want to help women. I believe we are the generations of women who get to act as a bridge. A bridge between those all the way back throughout history who never got the chances and choices we do, and the next generations who need to see us breaking the cycle that the only way for a woman to survive is to be hanging on by her fingernails. So because of all the good, the bad and the ugly that has happened in my life (there’s that third superpower there, attitude of gratitude) - the betrayal, divorce, single parenting, the sandwich years caring for parents and small kids, the loss, the grief, the loss of identity AND the glorious growing, the friendships and love, my glorious girls, my finding better things in loss, the travel, the creative ambition, my books - it all… I find myself here, doing what I was meant to be doing. So I’m grateful to everyone who I meet / encounter / share with / learn from / teach / help / inspire along the way. I really am. It’s a gift I don’t take for granted.
So that’s out of the way, let me answer the actual question.
Free subscribers get:
my weekly email
daily Midlife, redefined journal prompts (released weekly). This is starting beginning of June (and in a year will become a full 365 day Midlife, redefined Journal). For a full year I will drop a daily prompt that takes you on a journey of self-discovery, midlife planning and action, as per the journey of my book, Midlife, redefined: Better, Bolder, Brighter. You don’t have to have read the book, but if you have, it will build on the work you’ve done and keep you curious, intentional and cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
You will also get notification of discussions and be able to take part in chats with like-minded women kicking ass (or trying to) in midlife from your 30’s to you 60’s
Snippets of my interviews with fabulous experts on everything from time management to menopause, food to fashion, body image to books, sex to separation, dating to daring and lots, lots more.
Notifications of (but not free access to) other fun stuff like workshops, lives and Q&A’s
Paid subscribers will get all of the above, plus:
Full access to interviews with said fabulous experts
Full access of free monthly live coaching and Q&A
Discounts on all my events, workshops, webinars and courses
Free workbooks and coaching reflection exercises
Exclusive content such as articles and posts
An ebook of the Midlife, redefined Journal once the year of daily prompts is done, including bonus exercises
Founding Member will get all of the above, plus
Free, signed copy of Midlife, redefined: Better, Bolder, Brighter
Free ebook next year of Midlife, redefined Journal
Free copy of upcoming book (2024) Midlife, redefined: Sex, sensuality and relationships
One hour 1:1 Discovery Coaching Session
As a writer, I give a lot of my content away. I write in my spare (ha!! What’s that!!?) time between coaching, speaking, book writing, single parenting, dog walking, laundry (nothing in the universe warned me how much laundry 3 teenage girls can produce) and meal production. But I love to write and I love to share and so here I am. Substack has come along to make sure writers can get paid for the work that they do. Hail substack!
Follow me on my:
Website here - www.themidlifecoach.org
Instagram here - @midlifecoach