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Midlife Crossroad

January 30, 2016

I am officially in the midst of a midlife crisis.  But before you try to talk me out of buying a new convertible or having a fling with someone half my age, RELAX.  I don’t mean that kind of midlife crisis.  (I’m actually quite fond of my car and my husband, thank you.)

I’m talking about a different kind of midlife crisis, one that’s more of a whisper than a shout.  An internal whisper of nostalgia for things past and things yet to come.  Talking with friends the other night, I realized all of us were experiencing similar emotions.  Life is giving us all a lot to think about lately.  And thinking is hard, you guys.

Our children are growing up and becoming more independent, and we realize our time with them as “ours” is finite. They still need us, but not in the way they did as infants or preschoolers.  We now fully understand what all the seasoned veteran mamas meant when they told us as newbies, “It goes by so quickly.”  There’s a ticking clock counting down the time we have with these children as children, and it’s getting louder.  

On the other side of the coin, our parents are also getting older and we realize there will come a time when we will have to find our way in this world without them.  Some our age have already endured the loss of a parent, but what we once saw as an anomaly is growing into a reality.  We see the passing of time on their faces and hear about people their age dying and we want to put on earmuffs to drown out the sound of that stupid clock.

We have friends our age diagnosed with cancer and we rail against the unfairness of it all, shouting, “But we’re so young!”  We schedule mammograms and wear sunscreen and run 5ks.  We no longer take our health for granted.  We find ourselves making lifestyle changes for different reasons than we used to: eating clean to fight heart disease, not just to look good in a bikini.

Speaking of which, our mirrors have begun reflecting some surprises. “Has anyone seen my 20-year old metabolism?”  “When did those smile lines get so deep?”  “And can you really get gray hairs in your eyebrows??”  We have pains where we used to have sports injuries.  We can’t have more than two drinks or stay up past midnight or we feel it for three days after.  Our bodies are still capable of doing amazing things, but we’re beginning to realize that won’t always be the case.

All this realizing is both terrifying and freeing. It means life as we know it is changing.  It means that at some point in the not-so-distant future we will be more on our own than perhaps ever before.  Yes, life is tenuous and fragile and fleeting. But it’s also beautiful and precious and worth fighting for.  Be patient with us midlifers.  We still have a lot to learn.  But we’re getting there…

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