In the Middle with Rebecca Carroll
"I’m learning how to more efficiently allot my fucks."
AHWM: How old are you?
REBECCA CARROLL: I just turned 54 in May
AHWM: At what age did you consider yourself to be midlife?
REBECCA CARROLL: Maybe 52, when my memoir came out (2021)—writing my memoir was a full, truthful excavation that felt enormously freeing. And when it was published, to have it received and reviewed so well, I knew then that my life was fully my own, and that I had worked hard to make it my own.
AHWM: What’s your personal definition of this stage of life?
REBECCA CARROLL: Being able to prioritize blessings and the things that bring me joy. Leaning headlong into my sense of purpose and self-worth, and then, of course, demonstrating open, unabashed, and endless pride in my son.
AHWM: What do you believe are the biggest challenges faced by Black women in their middle age?
REBECCA CARROLL: I think it’s the all or nothing standard that has always been disproportionately held to Black women—we’re either a Superwoman, or as Malcolm X famously said, the most disrespected person in America. And I think as we age, especially in this completely unabashed attention economy, wherein cultural relevance and self-promotion is pretty much all that matters, it widens the chasm between trope and reality for us. Because how do you standout, stay relevant, or simply garnish respect, if you don’t have some kind of star power, if you’re not a literal or figurative descendent of Beyonce—if you’re not living up to that myth of Superwoman? And I say this as a writer/creative, but I think its applicable industry wide.
AHWM: What have you found to be the most rewarding aspects of midlife so far?