Trust me – there are benefits to midlife. First of all it’s an awakening, not a crisis. Granted, much to the dismay of others, we sometimes awaken to the fact that we need a corvette ASAP. We awaken to the reality that we have put all of our hopes and dreams on hold. Maybe much worse, we awaken to the fact that we don’t love our spouse, our friends, or even ourselves. 😦 These issues are a bit disruptive, so I get it – the word crisis has its place. But for the average person, these feelings are often a part of maturity, and justified. So you wake up one day and realize you have lost yourself along the way, and you desperately want to find you again. We aren’t talking a pair off lost keys here. We are talking about YOU! Sounds legit to me.
For some we are awakened with a painful slap in the face.
Bam! We no longer want our marriage or our marriage doesn’t want us. You’re too late for major league baseball try outs. The career you always dreamed of seems impossible now with all of your responsibilities. For others, it’s a little whisper. “Hey – go back to school. Get a little marriage counseling…it’s not too late.” I have always thought a flashing neon sign with direction and answers would be nice.
Besides the profound, new awareness, there are simply benefits to getting…dare I say….older. For example – this brownie. I didn’t give one second of a thought to the fact that it is close to dinner time. Not only do I run this house, but I also find enjoyment in sort of “flipping off” the voices in my head saying, “Eww don’t do that.” I am 47 years old and brought these brownies into existence. Leave me alone.
I am learning though, that midlife is not for wimps. Amongst my closest group of friends, there have recently been the death of parents, and parents who are currently sick and dying. There is concern and worry over college aged children and their choices. Many of us still have young children at home, and we worry about what kind of world they are growing up in. Will they be safe? Will I be around long enough to help see them through as long as possible? We have teenagers learning to drive, rocky marriages, confusion about what is next in life, and an acute awareness that we are so very needed and being pulled in every direction. We cope with it all through humor and plenty of wine. But deep down, we worry…constantly. Within my circle we have seen divorce, cancer, abuse, loneliness, job loss, job changes….we celebrate and cheer when we can, and circle the wagons when necessary. It’s just where we are right now. It’s busy. We are tired. We are also FABULOUS!
Let me tell you – if I stay on those type of thoughts too long it could get really discouraging! Here is the part I fear many mid lifers miss….THIS IS IT! This is our time! We are no longer young and uncertain. We are not yet old. We are in our prime – busyness, stress, worry, and all – midlife is where it is at.
It is the stage in life where the little voice inside our head comes out of hibernation and says, “Hey! I remember you! Do you remember you? You have passions and talents! Let’s wake those up!” I tend to see this voice as a little elf type man on my shoulder, and I am not sure what that means. Also not sure I should share that.
Here’s the thing, and I’ll admit it is true about me. This “awakening, ” can go on for a lot of years. I believe sometimes that’s all we get out of it – constant turmoil, confusion, deep thoughts, and questioning every choice we’ve made. Then what? I don’t know. I haven’t gotten there yet. My point is, (promise I have one), we better do something about it while we can. The time truly is now.
I am closer to 50 than 40 now. That still boggles my mind. Some days it feels like the race I am on , trying to reach my goals, just keeps adding miles and miles, and I can’t run any faster. I have to keep running though. I have to know in the end I did everything I could to make my life how I wanted it to be. It’s like at 40 we start climbing the giant hill of a roller coaster, excited to get to the top, so we can fly, fast and furious down the exciting hill and around the curves. Then as 50 approaches, we start down that hill, and it is going faster than we expected. But we refuse to give up. We can’t be afraid of the roller coaster. We have to enjoy the ride, whether we reach the destination we are seeking or not. If we don’t choose to throw our arms up in the air and scream with laughter over the craziness of it all, then the ride isn’t worth it. It’s got to be the journey that is the best part.
If you are currently in midlife, you are very likely stronger than ever, and stronger than you thought you were. You simply can’t reach this age of awareness, without having gone through something in your life. So, yay you! You made it! Now grab on to it! Take it! It’s yours!