A life stage created by longevity patterns of the 21st century.

Cultural norms and rampant ageism have labeled midlife as a crisis riddled with stagnation and decrepitude. The reality is entirely different and full of potential. Old constructs no longer apply.

Enjoy the benefits of
increased longevity and vitality.

Consciously curate decades
of meaningful life.

Gain the clarity you need
to determine your next steps.

Increase your energy,
equanimity and resilience.

Live authentically, in
alignment with your values.


Noun. /mɪd.əˈles.əns/

pronounced middle·essence

A transitional period, between the ages of approximately 45 and 65, created by longevity patterns of the 21st century. Like adolescence, a term popularized by psychologist Stanley Hall, it is often accompanied by physical, emotional, social and economic changes.

adjective middlescent

word origin blend middle and adolescence

(circa 1960-1965)

Have you bought into the myth of the midlife crisis?

You’re not alone. We live in a culture that believes anyone in midlife is on a slippery slope towards their demise. Birthday cards telegraph that the best years are behind us. Brands and companies target us with terms like anti-aging. Suddenly it feels as if our only choices are retreat or submission.

Yes, midlife can be a time of questioning many of our choices. But growth, clarity and fulfillment come with examining what changes are needed to live authentically and on purpose.

Did you know that happiness increases after age 50, particularly when it dips so low in our 40’s? No generation before us has had the potential to experience the benefits of increased longevity, sustained vitality and the capacity to consciously curate decades of a meaningful life.

MIddlescence and the U Curve of Happiness

We have more years of living, not dying.

"Current life structures, career paths, educational choices, and social norms are out of alignment with the emerging reality of longer lifespans."

Lynda Gratton, Fellow World Economic Forum

I’ve spent most of my career listening to people at the midpoint of their lives, helping them make sense of where they are and where they’re going. The pattern is clear: everyone used the same language and expressed the same feelings. Even those with extraordinarily high achievement, report feeling lost, and as though something was missing from their lives.

Far too often, stereotypes become ageist arrows we point at ourselves. Most people don’t understand that we continue to develop and grow as adults. Once we have the tools to harness our energy, creativity, and wisdom, we can begin to forge a vibrant, exciting path forward.

Step into new ways of showing up in the world.

Take the Five to Thrive Quiz©

New and updated for 2021, Barbara’s science-based, proprietary Five Essential Elements process will enable you to discover how the Elements can change your life. Assess your current energy status and turn insights into action by creating an activation plan to cultivate clarity out of chaos, live authentically and expand your leadership capacity.


The Consciously Curated Life

During this Mastery Week you'll explore the new reality of Middlescence at the intersection of Chip Conley's concept of the Modern Elder to gain a new understanding of the growth and development that will allow you to create clarity out of chaos, regenerate and renew.

Barbara Waxman MS, MPA, PCC

Life Stage Expert, Expert Coach, Caring Truth-Teller,
Strategic Thought Partner, and Accountability Advocate

Middlescence Midlife Life Stage Expert Barbara Waxman

Barbara Waxman envisions our midlife years as a vibrant, extraordinary time to unearth accumulated wisdom. An advocate who helped redefine this period as the life stage Middlescence, she rejects the American trope of middle age as a period of suffocating stasis. Her recent TEDx Talk, The Myth of the Midlife Crisis, explores the ageist origins of midlife myths and empowers viewers to join her mission to shift attitudes about aging by embracing Middlescence as a life stage filled with exciting new opportunities.    

Author of The Middlescence Manifesto and founder of Odyssey Group Coaching, Barbara helps adults in midlife thrive personally and professionally using her singular executive life coaching model, Entrepreneurship Turned Inward©, and her proprietary, science-based Five Essential Elements© and Five to Thrive Quiz©. She is one of the only gerontologist-coaches in the United States incorporating such cutting-edge research. An Advisory Council Member for the Stanford Center on Longevity Barbara is a faculty member at Chip Conley’s Modern Elder Academy and an angel investor in the Active Aging and Longevity Fund with Portfolia. She has appeared on CBS This Morning and has been featured in Marin Magazine, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and Grace Creative’s global #AgeIsNotJustANumber campaign.

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Inspiring audiences with passion, intelligence, and humor towards clarity, commitment and action.

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The Future of Resilient Leadership

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