“Coming of Age” Happens Seven Times – a Letter from Chili Millie


Dear Jan,

Thanks for letting me speak today. After you read about the seven stages of a life by Shakespeare, I thought, Sheeeesh, that theory needs to be updated! And, as you know, I have a few thoughts of my own, and I’m not afraid to voice my opinions. In short, we keep “coming of age.” It’s not a one-off.

The first age is called: Perfectly Precious. We start out by being a miracle. People oooh and ahhh with delight just because we have toes and arms. Each chubby little part of us seems to be cherished for no other reason than the fact that we’re breathing. We’re considered perfect, even with that strawberry mark on our arm, or if we cry at every odd noise we hear. I like this stage of being loved—not for what we can do but for who we are. But it doesn’t last.

At Terrific Two, we are just beginning to be a person. We’re testing our wings and developing a personality. Some people may not appreciate all the trial and error and call it “terrible,” yet that’s how we learn.  When we fall down, we get up again. No problem, no embarrassment. But this stage doesn’t last either.

Eventually, we get to be a Curious Teen. Our bodies change quickly, we lose our balance, and hang on to our peers for the “pressure” they provide, making us feel safe. We wonder a lot: How big will my boobs get? Can I attract boyfriends? Will Richard marry me? Will he be a Richard?  (Well, actually, that last thought never occurs to us, because he’s cute—and someone that dreamy couldn’t be bad.)  It’s all a process, and it’s pretty exciting, but doesn’t last forever.

Next, we transition into a grown-up Wet Winged Butterfly. We’ve been told it’s the best time of our lives—these 20’s and 30’s—but we’re expected to pay rent and adult in ways that are hard. Our degrees prove that we know it all, but life doesn’t ask the same test questions. We still feel that the older generations have messed things up (and they have, but…), but no worries; we are here to fix the world as only we can do. 

Vibrant Butterfly in Full Bloom We’ve made many choices up to this point. Work, marriage, children, food, drink, drugs: all a work in progress. Our wings are not always bright and shiny because of the stress dished out by a society that requires a thousand commitments. Ah, yes. This world is complex—who knew? Here’s where self-care becomes critical.  We wonder if our best days are behind us. This stage has a shelf life as well. 

Wise, Wonderful, Wild, Why Not? At 60, we turn a corner of letting go of what is expected of us. Part of that comes naturally, with family circumstances, and by reflecting on the best and worst of our life’s journey. We’ve stepped up to bat a hundred times, and wisdom ordains us with self-compassion. We hear the sound our eternal soul cheering us on with an occasional, “At last, you’re loving yourself! Be happy!” We know that NOW is the time to do what we’ve always wanted to do.

Museum Quality This is the time when we’re back to being precious again. It’s a time that whenever our name is announced, it’s followed by our age, followed by applause. How fortunate to smile during this time of life. We know that graduation from this life is near. Like any high school senior, there are days we can’t wait to get out of this place, and on others, smelling orange blossoms brings as much joy as buying a new pair of shoes (almost). 

So you see, Jan, we are always “Coming of Age” in our lives. I think it’s funny that most of us count our age in years—but that’s just the body’s experience of these seven transitions. 

What I’m trying to say is:  Your soul is eternal, and if you want to know the truth, that’s why you don’t “FEEL” very different with any of these ages. Those who focus on their soul’s age are the freest of all. And you should know that the acceptance of your age affects your physical and mental health. Just sayin’. So name yourself in any way you choose. This is your ride. 

I’d like to thank you for this platform.  Gotta go. My Ferrari is double parked on the boulevard.  But if you have questions, just send them over.


Chili Millie

P.S. Don’t forget to invite everyone to the book release PARTY for Conversations with Well Seasoned Women on May 19th from 4-6:30 at Memory Lane Boutique in Glendale. It’ll be great big huge fun!

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