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The Middle Ages

October 24, 2017

 

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Tonight I’m feeling my age.  My low back is hurting from yoga.  (Seriously.  Not from rock climbing or power lifting…from hanging out too long in pigeon pose.  LAME.)  My husband, who I first met when he was 18, is turning 45 tomorrow.  I got an email today about our firstborn applying to college.  My high school class is planning our 25th reunion next summer.  Somehow I’ve found myself smack dab in the middle of middle age.

And yeah, that comes with its fair share of wrinkles and aches.  It’s a season when our parents are getting older and our kiddos are growing up too quickly.  We’re no longer youthful, virile, energetic beings.  There’s a reason the mid-life crisis cliché exists.

So how come I’m smiling as I write this?  Because middle age has its perks.  To name a few:

  1. I may not give ZERO fucks, but I give a whole lot less than I used to.  It’s freeing to realize that other people’s opinions of you mean nothing, that your self worth is determined by you and only you.  When I was 20, or even 30, I spent way too much time measuring myself against the invisible yardstick of public opinion.  I worried far too much about whether people liked me, not realizing that respecting myself was far more valuable.  True integrity only exists once you feel comfortable expressing yourself honestly and living a life of authenticity.  The freedom to be yourself completely is a gift given to us by age and experience.
  2. I love my body.  Does that mean I don’t want to improve it or that I don’t sometimes feel self conscious about it?  Of course not.  But I’ve come to appreciate it for what it has done (given birth, climbed mountains) rather than how it looks in a bikini.  Sure, I looked a hell of a lot better naked when I was twenty.  But I feel a whole lot more confident now, twenty pounds heavier but capable and strong.
  3. I am so, SO grateful.  Things I took for granted when I was younger I now cherish.  Age has a way of forcing you to appreciate the time we have with the people we love.  It reveals, in sometimes brutal fashion, the fragility of this life we’re so fortunate to be living.  We realize just how precious each day is, what a gift we’ve been given in these people and experiences that make up our lives.  Perhaps the bitter is what enhances the sweet.  To truly embrace the beauty we must first glimpse the darkness.  Only then can we fully appreciate all that is precious.
  4. I understand who I need walking beside me in this life.  I recognize now that I need real, loyal friends who accept me and lift me up.  The years have taught me lessons about the character of those who I want to spend time with and invest emotion in.  I’ve come to realize that friends with whom I’m my best self, who I can be unencumbered with, who challenge me and teach me and safeguard my heart are the ones I should value.  I’ve also come to realize that it’s okay to break ties with those who don’t, but that I should do so without judgment or anger, understanding that I may not be what they need, either.
  5. I’ve learned to be still.  I get now that busy is not a badge of honor.  Honoring the quiet inside and taking time to seek peace within it is valuable and important.  Listening, truly listening, to the small voice inside, trusting in my intuition, learning to be open to whatever lesson I’m meant to learn…these things are necessary if I want to become more.  More me.  More what I was intended to become.  I’ve become better at shutting down the outside noise and the inner voice that wants to shout above the truth.  I’m allowing room in my mind and my heart for what the universe is trying to share with me.

So yeah, my back hurts.  Yes, I now think naps are the best part of my afternoon.  Sure, gravity is impacting the kinds of face creams, bras, and jeans I buy.
But I’m okay with that.  Life is all about balance, and right now I think the scales are tipped in my favor.  Middle-age isn’t all that bad.  It’s a hell of a lot better than the alternative…and the company is fabulous.  

Kisses,

Ash

 

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