The start of another year makes most of us think about the passing of time and, inevitably, our age. For some, approaching middle age can feel daunting. After getting most of the way through her forties, Jen Mann figured she’d dodged the midlife slump many people go through. But as Mann entered her late forties, something changed.
“I hit forty-seven and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. I really am halfway through my life, and what have I done? What do I have to show for it?’” Mann says.
Mann, an Overland Park native, is the author of the best-selling book series People I Want to Punch in the Throat and a blog of the same name. In her new book, Midlife Bites, which will be released on January 4, Mann takes on the experience of being middle-aged.
Midlife Bites is all about creating a space where middle-aged women can share their experiences without pulling any punches. The book discusses Mann’s experiences with meeting strangers from the internet in an attempt to make friends, trying to find a nonjudgmental mommy group, the tribulations of attempting to discreetly buy incontinence pads and more, all while dealing with a sense of impending doom.
Mann turned to her blog to share how she was feeling, and the response was overwhelming.
The blog, which is now a decade old, has soared in popularity and has over a million followers. When Mann posted the question “Anyone else falling apart or just me?” women flooded her page with their experiences. Mann says that after seeing so many women share the same feelings about midlife as she did, she decided it was time to write her new book.
“My goal was to take the stigma away and get us all talking about [midlife] the same way we used to talk about raising kids and parenting kids,” Mann says. “I wanted to start a conversation and have us be able to talk freely.”
Getting her feelings down on paper became a cathartic experience for Mann and helped her work through her midlife slump.
“It’s really helped me realize there are things out there I can control and things I can’t control,” Mann says. “It’s also reinforced, with my community, just knowing that I’m not the only one going through this and that they’re experiencing this too.”
Afterword: “In addition to all the best books, they have a full bar. The owners are always doing something fun for their patrons, and they support lots of local authors.”
Ernie Miller Nature Park: “The Kansas City metro has so many beautiful parks, but Ernie Miller is one of my favorites because it feels more rustic and secluded than other parks.”
Rooftop Patio at Kansas City Public Library: “I like to work outside, and the rooftop is the perfect spot to write without a lot of distractions.”