S2-EP2: Exploring Middlescence (adolescence with wisdom) with Barbara Waxman

Oct 25, 2019



Barbara Waxman has her finger squarely on the pulse of a movement to redefine midlife. She has coined the term Middlescence to describe this new stage in life. Think of it as adolescence with a big dose of wisdom added in.



Barbara Waxman, a gerontologist, author and life coach, has coined the term middlescence to describe a new stage in midlife and beyond.

She describes it as a transitional period often accompanied by physical changes, as well as social and economic changes. Sound familiar? Physical and hormonal changes are what we think of when we talk about adolescence. More important, Middlescence is like adolescence but with wisdom thrown in. Barbara defines it as the period from 45 to 75ish. In her words, it is “a turning point from which adults continue to develop and grow. (It is) a life stage created by increased longevity patterns in the 21st century.”

Our conversation ranges widely, from exploring the concept of Middlescence, to redefining success in this stage of life.


What we talked about:

  • Why midlife is such a popular topic right now
  • Middlescence vs. adolescence
  • How to counter ageism
  • How to change the narrative of how we feel when we look in the mirror and see our aging selves
  • Barbara’s gap year in Italy – she calls it repotting (like a plant)
  • The importance of lifelong learning
  • What contributes to thriving or not thriving
  • The 5 essentials mindset and why it is so important


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Thanks to our media partners

Encore.org, our newest media partner, is an ideas and innovation hub tapping the talent of those 50+ as a force for good. Founder and CEO Marc Freedman is an award-winning social entrepreneur and author, most recently, of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations. Looking for a great gap-year transition program? Check out Encore Fellowships, which match skilled, seasoned professionals with social-sector organizations in high-impact, paid assignments.


Modern Elder Academy is a program dedicated to navigating mid-life transitions. MEA, based in Baja California, Mexico, provides the place and the tools to start reframing your lifetime of experience. Grow whole, not old. Founder Chip Conley is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning hospitality entrepreneur and a rock star of the mid-life transition movement. His newest book is Wisdom @ Work: the Making of a Modern Elder.


Next For Me is an important new resource for the 50+ crowd focused on rewriting life. Taking a gap year or timeout may be the best way to figure out "what's next" when you're in this stage of life. Founder Jeff Tidwell explains, Next For Me "connects and inspires our generation to evolve our post-50 lives through new work, a new purpose, or a new social contribution."