Welcome! I’m happy you’re here.

I write this newsletter to challenge the unrelenting and often conflicting messages aimed at midlife women—you should do this and you should be that. I’ve had enough of this should, haven’t you?

In my mid-50s, I moved to Vermont, hired a life coach, and quit a three-decade marketing career, intending to reinvent myself—to find my purpose. This made me the ideal target for the midlife marketing mega-trend.

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” 

I cringe when I see this quote. I hear, ‘Everything you’ve done so far is wrong. Try again and make it snappy.’ But there are also times when I’ve totally bought into it. (This newsletter used to be called The Reinspired Life—I mean, really.)

What if that “never too late” adage is nothing more than a 19th-century marketing tagline meant to instill women with a sense of regret, a problem to be solved, and an opportunity to rescue us (with a “buy now” call to action)?

Well, to quote Tina Turner (RIP), “We don’t need another hero.”

All Midlife Anti-Hero subscribers receive free monthly email newsletters, which include:

  • Short personal essays about learning to let go of expectations, trust my intuition, and use my voice. (The struggle is real and ongoing.)

  • “Not-your-typical-self-help” reading recommendations

  • Pet Photos! Kitty, the one-eyed O.G. of cats, has lots of opinions and no filter.

Paid subscribers also get:

  • Weekly postcards from Reinvention Road with behind-the-scenes snapshots and lessons learned during my two-year purpose quest (a.k.a, the year before and after I quit my job). Things like:

    • Notes from my meetings with a life wizard

    • Snapshots of my morning pages (the ones we aren’t supposed to show anyone) and other insights from my experience with how-to books and workshops.

    • Reports from Rangeley, my big yellow Lab—I record audio notes on our morning walks. He hears things.

  • Occasional interviews with real-world life coaches, mentors, and writers.

  • Access to the complete content archive.

  • Writing prompts, discussion threads, and discounts to online writing workshops and 1:1 sessions.

Anti-heroes are complex, imperfect, and deeply skeptical. A midlife Anti-Hero is learning to come to her own rescue.

Join the Midlife Anti-Hero community.

Hi. It’s me, Catherine.

I quit my marketing job in 2018 and then spun out in a race to reinvent myself. I read everything, signed up for all the workshops, downloaded Podcasts, and followed midlife influencers on social media. I even chased after my own “likes” —#reinspiredlife (ugh). I got a tattoo, toyed with sobriety, studied yoga, took social-media marketing workshops, and made vision boards and sparkly collages. I networked and Zoomed.

The quest was exhausting, and still, I couldn’t shake the feeling I should be something other than what I already was—a woman in progress.

I have an MA in marketing communications and an MFA in creative writing. I managed brand and thought leadership marketing for technology companies, and my creative writing has been published in The Boston Globe, Huffington Post, American Literary Review, and other literary journals. I am a contributor to AARP’s The Ethel Magazine and am currently writing my first book, Typing Lessons, a memoir.

I live in a 200-year-old Vermont farmhouse where I do not raise chickens, make jam, or save my small town—life isn’t a Hallmark movie.


Some anti-heroes work alone, but this one is reader-supported. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber.

To learn more about the tech behind this newsletter, visit Substack.com.

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Challenging the unrelenting and conflicting messages targeted at midlife women.


Catherine H Palmer

Exhausted from searching for my purpose and trying to live up to the #over50andfabulous hype. Published in The Boston Globe, AARP's The Ethel, American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Writing a memoir about expectations called TYPING LESSONS.