GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book Midlife Battle Cry by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!
In a culture where middle age is thought of as a downward slope into sensible shoes and meaningless existence, we can redefine the second half of life. We can shape it into decades of fulfillment, fun, strength, and purpose.
Because, my friend, there’s no “midlife” to God. He has intended for us to live fully at every age and in every season, and it’s time we embrace it!
So, today on the 4:13, author Dawn Barton encourages all the sisters who are almost in, or in the middle of, or wondering about the second half of life to revive their anticipation of what lies ahead.
As we talk about Dawn’s book, Midlife Battle Cry: Redefining the Mighty Second Half, she shares a different perspective on getting older that will make you look forward to the future. You’ll discover it’s not the beginning of the end—it’s the beginning of a new chapter that’s full of promise.
So, if you’re thinking God is done with you, think again! It’s time to take off those sensible shoes and dance your way into the best season of your life!
Dawn Barton left a thirty-year career in sales marketing to follow a calling and write. Her first book, Laughing Through the Ugly Cry, became a best-seller, and now she’s helping women embrace their second half of life in her second book, Midlife Battle Cry. Dawn is living the sandwich-generation dream with her husband, daughter, parents, mother-in-law, and too many animals to count in Florida.
[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]
- You can win a copy of Dawn’s book, Midlife Battle Cry. Hurry—we’re picking a random winner on January 11! Enter on Instagram here.
Books & Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
- Invisible: How You Feel is Not Who You Are
- Me, Myself, & Lies: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
More from Dawn Barton
- Visit Dawn’s website
- Midlife Battle Cry: Redefining the Mighty Second Half
- Follow Dawn on Facebook and Instagram
Related Blog Posts
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- Can I Live a Full Life With an Empty Nest? With Jill Savage [Episode 168]
- Can I Get Clear on What God Created Me To Do? With Heather MacFadyen [Episode 274]
- Can I Stop Rehashing the Past and Live in the Present? With Jeanne Stevens [Episode 218]
- Can I Find New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working? With Shauna Niequist [Episode 208]
- Can I Embrace a New Season of Life with Purpose? With Caroline Rothschild [Episode 22]
- Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the 4:13 Podcast here.
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4:13 Podcast: Can I Redefine the Second Half of My Life? With Dawn Barton [Episode 279]
Dawn Barton: Well, the first thing we need to say out loud is there is no midlife to God. I have a feeling he kind of is giggling at us at this crisis of sorts that we have, because there is no midlife to God. God doesn't say in the middle of our lives, Oh, thanks for coming. Here's your number. Go ahead, sit over there, watch Netflix, I'll call you when your time's up. He just doesn't. God wants us to live fully all the way through. So I think that when we -- how sad it must be as he watches us shrink back because we've listened to these lies of the world rather than bringing all of this wisdom that we have.
Jennifer Rothschild: In a culture where middle age is thought of as a downward slope into sensible shoes and meaningless existence, we can redefine the second half of life. We can shape it into decades of fulfillment, fun, and strength and purpose. So if you are almost in, or maybe you're in the middle of or wondering about that second half of life, today's guest, Dawn Barton, wants you to know that God has a lot in store for you. We are his gift to this world at every single age and in every single season, and it's time to embrace it. So take off those sensible shoes and let's dance into the best seasons of our lives. K.C., here we come, cha-cha-cha.
K.C. Wright: I love it. Let's go.
Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and Biblical wisdom set you and I up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.
Jennifer Rothschild: All right, I wish I had confetti gun in here to say Happy 2024.
K.C. Wright: Woo-hoo!
Jennifer Rothschild: We're so glad you're with us for a new year. And if you're new to us, that was K.C. Wright, my Seeing Eye Guy, and I'm Jennifer, and our goal is just to help you be and do more than you feel capable of as you're living this "I Can" life. And what a great time to start thinking about the future, because it's a new year. New mercies. Could be a new you. But it is going to be a good year.
And K.C. and I both, if you're hanging out with us, you know we have both celebrated, in the last few months, milestone birthdays, so I think it's very appropriate that we're talking to Dawn about this next half of life. And so here's the thing. You know, somebody listening, K.C., they might be in their 30s and thinking, well, this is for old people. No, Sister, Brother, you're as young as you're ever going to be, so you better prepare. Okay? Because it's going to happen. Some of you are, like, 70 and you're thinking, well, I'm not old. This is not for me. You're right. But this way, you can help all the old people around you. So we're going to have a great conversation with Dawn Barton about this second half of life.
I'm wondering, though, because you've been in your new decade for a few months now, how are you feeling about it?
K.C. Wright: You know, I feel like I'm in my 20s.
Jennifer Rothschild: Uh-huh.
K.C. Wright: I used to think people in their 40s were old --
Jennifer Rothschild: Right. No.
K.C. Wright: -- and I have repented --
Jennifer Rothschild: Amen.
K.C. Wright: -- immensely over that. I mean, you know, when you're in your 20s, 40s, oh, you're so old. Oh, no. Then you hit the 40s and you're like, man, this is so young. But I feel like I'm in my 20s.
But, you know, I did buy myself a birthday gift --
Jennifer Rothschild: What'd you get?
K.C. Wright: -- my midlife crisis purchase.
Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, was this your Jeep?
K.C. Wright: My Jeep.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, you told us. But I'm glad it's the gift that keeps on giving, because that's so much better than a bad choice, K.C. --
K.C. Wright: That's right.
Jennifer Rothschild: -- that you could really be paying for. But you still are paying for your own birthday gift, aren't you?
K.C. Wright: Oh, yeah. It's all fun and games until you make the payment every month.
Jennifer Rothschild: I know, right?
K.C. Wright: But you know what? It's my dream car, I got it. Happy birthday to me.
Jennifer Rothschild: And you're very cool driving it.
K.C. Wright: I love it. It's so fun.
Jennifer Rothschild: See, old people don't drive cars like that. Only young, very hip men drive them.
K.C. Wright: Come on.
Jennifer Rothschild: There you go.
All right, let's introduce Dawn.
K.C. Wright: All right. Dawn Barton left a 30-year career in sales marketing to follow a calling and write. Her first book, "Laughing Through the Ugly Cry," became a best seller, and now she and Jennifer are talking about her second book, "Midlife Battle Cry." Dawn -- which probably sounds like this, "Oh!" No. Just kidding. Dawn is living the Sandwich Generation dream with her husband, daughter, parents, mother-in-law, and too many animals to count in Sunny Florida.
All right, here are Dawn and Jennifer.
Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Dawn, I'm pretty pumped about this, because I like the title of your book -- okay? -- "Midlife Battle Cry." And I like that because a lot of people in middle age find themselves just, like, crying over it. And part of that is because they feel the best is behind them, like, they're uncertain about the future, their best days, their physical strength, whatever. Like, they feel like it's in the rear-view mirror. Okay, so we need to start right there. Why do we need a battle cry for middle age?
Dawn Barton: Oh, my goodness. You know, I think that we have -- just like you said, we've sort of decided that this is maybe the beginning of the end. We have this imaginary big hill in our head, and at the top of the hill is midlife, and everything after it is downhill. And it's just not true. I don't know how the rumor began, I don't know how the lies got out there, but it's actually the beginning of the best years of our life. If you think about it, we're the best we've ever been. Okay, maybe not like the top part of my arms or underneath my chin. I don't know what that is doing. But the rest of us, we're the best we've ever been. We've experienced more, we've loved more, we've lost more. We've made it through everything up to this point, so why would we ever step back?
Jennifer Rothschild: Good word. You're right. Now, physically we can see these changes, and we think that we're not in our prime, but, boy, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, we're finally hitting it, I feel like. I mean, we've all heard that saying "youth is wasted on the young," and you have to get old to understand exactly what that means.
Dawn Barton: Absolutely.
Jennifer Rothschild: But I'm curious, in your opinion what do you think society or culture -- like, what is their general opinion of people as people hit middle age?
Dawn Barton: Well, I will say I do think that it's changing. I think that it has been that 45 plus is -- you know, you're kind of a little bit put out to pasture, you know. And I think that's why we enter into this season of flailing and feeling a little lost. We're not sure of identity quite -- or purpose like we used to be. Maybe kids have gone and left and all of that.
But midlife is simply a pivot point. It is not the beginning of an end, it is not -- I think we've listened to these old stories of society. I don't even think it's -- I think it's really changing today. You're seeing women that are -- the Friends cast is all in their 50s now. You know that show Friends?
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Yeah.
Dawn Barton: And they're still highly sought-after actors and actresses, and beautiful and all that. So I do think the story's changing a little. I think we're part of making sure that story does change.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Exactly. And that's why you've written this book. Because where there might be some remnants of the old story, it does need to update, because there is a wealth of wisdom and emotional stability that comes from midlife and beyond that benefits all of us.
But I would like to focus on the ladies for a minute, because you just mentioned something about women. So do you think women are more likely than men to be dismissed as they get older?
Dawn Barton: 100%. I've actually read studies about it, and we statistically are. Yeah, absolutely.
Jennifer Rothschild: And why is that?
Dawn Barton: Yeah, I don't know that I have the perfect answer as to why that is. But it's wrong.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Yeah.
Dawn Barton: I do know it's wrong. And I do think it's going to take us, instead of stepping back, stepping forward again. And instead of handing the microphone to somebody in their 20s, you know, keeping the microphone in your hand and still having that battle cry that I'm still here and I -- we have so much to give. And that's men, that's women. But women especially, because statistically we are -- men are thought to be kind of in their prime in that 45, 50-ish range, and women are way thought to be out of it. And it's absolutely wrong.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, it is. And so -- sometimes we can't change all the realities, we can only control our response to them. So how can a woman embrace aging and look forward to that future?
Dawn Barton: Well, I think some of it is if you are in that season of a struggle, let's say you have entered into this sort of flailing season, I think you need to participate in your own rescue and fight for yourself. Again, I went through a season, right about the time I turned 50 actually, where I had -- I actually walked into my closet one day, and it was filled with black, gray, a little bit of white, but it was the saddest doom and gloom closet ever. And I thought, when did I start dressing to look thinner and kind of be noticed less? Because I used to love yellow and coral and pink. And what happened?
And so I decided to do more of a deep dive and started thinking -- I know it sounds ridiculous, but I was so far out of touch of who this person -- who I was today, not in my 20s, not in my 30s, not my 40s, but today, I had to go back to what is my favorite color to wear? What do I feel beautiful in? And then I started paying attention to what do I like in my home? What fragrances do I like? What -- all the things that could empower me to start being a powerful voice out there. I started not shrinking back, but becoming more bold. Everything from getting a new haircut. You know, I just started living to stand out. And not in a, "Hey, world, look at me," but a proud of myself again. And some of that -- Jennifer, it sounds silly, but some of it was like buying new undergarments. It was -- you know, it was stuff that just was the littlest bit of empowerment to say stop it, stop shrinking back. And I think we do it -- we have listened to this language that says we should, and I think we need to stop.
Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that's really a good word because it's so practical. And as you described it, sometimes we don't know we're doing it. We get to the other side of it and go, what happened? And so I think revisiting all of that is super healthy, because we're not a different person than we were in our 20s or 30s or 40s as we age, we're just a different, and I believe better, version of it, with maybe some different tastes, some different insecurities, but also a whole lot more different strengths. And so good for you. I think that being confident in the skin that God gave us during the second half of life is brilliant.
So not only, you know, in just that physical presence way that you describe, but I'm thinking also just spiritually -- okay? -- inhabiting this season of life. And so for believers in Christ, why does it matter or why is it important that a Christian continues to seek and discern what God's plan may be for us, even as we age, rather than just shrink back, as you were describing, and assume that God's done?
Dawn Barton: Right. Well, the first thing I think we need to say out loud is there is no midlife to God. I have a feeling he kind of is giggling at us at this crisis of sorts that we have, because there is no midlife to God. God doesn't say, you know, in the middle of our lives, Oh, thanks for coming. Here's your number. Go ahead, sit over there, watch Netflix, I'll call you when your time's up. He just doesn't. God wants us to live fully all the way through.
So I think that when we -- how sad it must be as he watches us shrink back because we've listened to these lies of the world rather than bringing all of this wisdom that we have to help people, and using all of the -- well, for me in my life, I have lost a child, I have been raped, I have survived Stage III cancer, my husband was an alcoholic. So I have all of these things that have happened in my life that I hope and pray I will not shrink back, but go forward to help others through. So I think that as we age, we are meant to use the hardships of our life to bless those behind us, and those coming, to help them through it with perhaps just a little more ease and grace.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, and that's really a reflection of who Christ is, because he's redeeming. He's constantly redeeming. And in your hardship, your loss, those terrible things, his redemptive process can be at work as it blesses and ministers to someone else. That is right there good reason, Sister, that you don't shrink back. Wow, that's good stuff, Dawn.
All right, Girl, we're going to get to our last question. And I'm glad our listeners can get your book -- in fact, we're going to be giving one away -- because I can tell there's a lot of good stuff in here that a podcast could not contain. So let's just boil it down to this, though. Okay? If you could just give one piece of advice right now to someone who's in her 40s, or maybe in her 50s, what would it be?
Dawn Barton: Well, I think that we have this invisible line in our mind and we believe that, say, to the left of that line is all of God's great miracles in our lives, our children, our career, our spouse, all the beautiful things that we have experienced thus far, filled with miracles. And we believe, subconsciously or consciously, that to the right of that line that it will be devoid of as many miracles. There may be a few here and there, we believe, but not nearly as many. Not nearly as many.
But that is so wrong. God does not divvy up the miracles of our life based on age, that you only got some in your youth or when your body was a little more firm or your mind was a little more sharp. That is absolutely false. And I want anyone out there listening to know that his miracles for you are just as rich and just as full in the years to come as they were in the past, but the difference is you have to live and seek those. You have to live expectantly of the miracles. If you live believing that they're all done, then that's really hard to see them. If you live expectant, that they're still to come, they will be everywhere and it will be a very rich and different life going forward.
Jennifer Rothschild: All right, friends, let me repeat, his miracles are just as rich in the years to come as they were in the past. So live expectantly because -- look for them. They're going to be everywhere.
K.C. Wright: Yes. And she gave us some good news. There is no midlife to God.
Jennifer Rothschild: No.
K.C. Wright: I love that. And you will absolutely love her book. We're giving one way, like we always do, at Jennifer's Insta. Simply go to @JennRothchild on Instagram or the Show Notes. You can find a full transcript right there. Plus, we'll link you to Dawn's book if you want to purchase that. 413podcast.com/279.
Well, our friends, go take on the world.
Jennifer Rothschild: Go take it on.
K.C. Wright: It needs you.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, it does.
K.C. Wright: And happy new year.
Jennifer Rothschild: Happy new year.
K.C. Wright: J. R., get off the table.
Jennifer Rothschild: Stop dancing. I took off my sensible shoes.
K.C. Wright: Remember in this new year, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. I know I can.
Jennifer Rothschild: I can.
K.C. Wright: And --
Jennifer and K.C.: You can.
Jennifer Rothschild: No, I think the midlife battle cry sounds like Tarzan, which I can't do either. I don't know how to do it. But it's not weeping and gnashing of teeth.
K.C. Wright: No, it's not.
Jennifer Rothschild: It's like, "Watch out."
K.C. Wright: It's the roar.
Jennifer Rothschild: It's [makes roaring sound].
K.C. Wright: It's the sound of freedom.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, it is.
K.C. Wright: It is. Come on.
Jennifer Rothschild: It is.
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