Jun 14, 2011

Middle Age

Every Fall I'd start the school year with expectations of the next big thing. Brand new notebooks completely empty and awaiting whatever I wrote in them, the emptiness craving the possibilities. New books that popped when I opened them that needed to be smelled. What? I'm a book smeller. I also loved the smell of brand new erasers.

My first college catalog was also rife with possibilities. Once again, new books, new paper, and finally a highlighter to use in said books. There was always something exciting just around the corner, waiting to be grabbed. An opportunity with my name written on it. Every date a new relationship. New classes represented new wisdom.

With my gown returned and a couple of degrees in hand, job offers were coming in fast and furious. It was the end of a recession and I had my pick. Once in a career, I joined professional organizations, held offices and enjoyed the new possibilities.

Marriage and the dreams of building my life with another person and all that would entail enticed me and fed my Cinderella issues.

Motherhood came and although I hated the physical aspect of it, I loved watching the new life move below my skin and dream of what was next. I lived my life for the next big thing. And there was always a big thing right around the corner.

The other day I realized that the next big thing right around the corner is no longer my dreams of becoming [fill in the blank]. I accomplished my educational goals. That was cool for a year or two. I married a great guy. That's still cool but a lot of work. I am a mother. Again, a lot of work. We own our home along with the bank. The pop of a new book's spine has been replaced by the pop of my own spine as I straighten up. I have no big plans that involve my own agenda. I am no longer waiting for my real life to begin. This is it.

Welcome to middle age.

I guess I never associated middle age with a life stage but with an actual age. The middle of your life, assuming I lived to be 90 years old. But really, it's the point where you realize the slope is different and the universe no longer spins on your own axis. Perhaps this is why midlife crises occur - a midlife man or woman craves validation for his or her own importance again.

On the other hand, the middle age woman is wiser than her 20 year old self. She is more introspective while being more service oriented. We crave a moment alone but that moment alone leads us to Costco to buy food for other people. At times I feel like I may have lost my essence and I don't know who I am because of the demands placed on me by my family and responsibilities. Other times I realize these are what truly define me...
...my education
...my traveling earlier in life
...my husband
...my children
...my friends
...my work
...my faith
...my family

It's not so bad to be middle aged with the experience of being knocked around, pushed down, pulled over and discovering the strength within myself to stand up again and again and define myself and redefine myself. It's not so bad to be me, a middle age woman, living the life that is. Possibilities are smaller and grieve their loss but I like the way the people and experiences around me have made me.


Kaye said...

Damn. I am middle aged, too.

You are a great writer, ya know. Just love reading your thoughts because they are frighteningly similar to mine! Maybe I wil print off your blog and put a new cover on it. . . "My Journal."

Elizabeth said...

Great post...all true what you say.

Stop by my site if you like...I am hosting a Father's Day Giveaway with five books to two luck winners.



Elizabeth said...
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