The Middle Life: Making it Real

Hey, everyone! How’s it hangin’? Where have I been? I guess I’ve been on a writing sabbatical and not sure why.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since the school year started. So much so that I’m having trouble putting two sentences together to express myself.

What is the predominant thought swirling in my brain? Middle Age. At 46 years old, I have to admit I’m smack dab in the midst of middle age. By the way, when does middle age evolve into old age? . . . . . . . . You know what? Never mind, I’ll worry about that later.

How did I envision this stage of my life? I don’t have an answer. I’d never really thought about it much until I arrived so I can’t say that it’s not what I thought it would be. I’ve been going through my life like a freight train racing through the farmlands of the Midwest. Everything a blur. Until now. The train has now come to a screeching halt awaiting directions.

It’s so weird not to have plan. I’m a planner. I’ve always had a plan – get through high school, go to college, get an awesome career, get married, buy a house, have wonderful kids, . . . . . . . . Then, the plan is blank. The items listed so far have been completed, but now what?

Obviously, the next stage is . . . . . empty nester. Yikes.

Why am I dwelling on this now?

Rachel got accepted into the first of five colleges that she is considering (yay!) – we found out a week ago.  Reading the formal written acceptance letter was like seeing a Technicolor rainbow while getting pelted with ice-cold rain. Then, the rainbow disappeared. I thought to myself, “It’s really happening – she will be leaving.” I cried the entire day and still can’t talk about it without sobbing. I really need to pull it together, but I’m struggling.

Of course, I’m always thinking waaaayyy too far in advance. Since Rachel got accepted into college, I’m seeing my future with no kids at home (I sure can make the leaps, can’t I?).  What the hell am I going to do with myself when that happens?

The hubs is always saying to me, “Don’t under estimate the value of you quitting your full-time job and being around more for our kids.” I’m sure he’s right, but it’s also easy for him to say. He has a career that he enjoys and will still have this career when the kids are gone. Most of my day revolves around managing the kids. (Holy crap! I’m going to have a lot of free time.)

This next part of my life journey is like an unformed lump of clay. I’m scared of that – I really don’t know what to do with clay.

I need a plan. Any ideas?

Hey, Do You Want to See Pictures of My Colonoscopy?

As I’m approaching my 45th birthday, I am kind of freakin’ out.  Thirty and Forty really didn’t faze me.  I used to have a baby-face and people always thought I was 4-5 years younger than I really was, so the actual number wasn’t a big deal.

Now I’m halfway to 50 and I don’t feel that old.  And, my baby-face is growing up so I’m no longer reaping the benefits of illusion any more.

As I’m aging, I’ve really started to notice a trend that I really don’t like, the blurting of health-related personal information!  Why do people (as they are getting older) want to over-share about their health problems?  I’m talking about people who you really don’t know very well and see on an infrequent basis.  (I do want to point out that I do want to know about the health of my family and closest friends.  I do care about that!)  What is driving this compulsion?  Do they want to see if you are as miserable as they are?  Do they want sympathy? It’s a mystery.

You know the people I’m talking about.  They’re the ones that you avoid asking, “How are you doing?” because they will really tell you how they are doing in fine detail.  You really were just asking the question as a polite opener and a general “I’m doing Great!” would have done the job.

This pet-peeve of mine got me thinking about myself as I’m literally approaching middle-age (I hope I will hang in there until my 90th birthday).

Here are a few of the peeves that I am going to attempt to avoid (or minimize) as I approach and pass 45:

Talking about my health with strangers and almost complete strangers.  We entertained a couple that were parents of a friend of one of our kids and the dinner discussion centered around their recent surgeries, ailments and hot flashes.  Yikes, really? 

Being a know-it-all.  I really need to start working on this now, I do have a need to be right almost all of the time (it’s the competitive spirit in me).  Recently, I overheard a conversation about tomatoes uttered by someone past middle age.  Person A: “My husband doesn’t like tomatoes.”   Person B (sounding very authoritative on the subject of Men and/or Tomatoes): “Oh, Men don’t like tomatoes.  I don’t know why that is, but they don’t.”  Huh?  Where did that information come from?

Trying to dress like a teenager.  I’m noticing this tendency more and more and maybe it’s because the women are my age now (maybe this has always gone on and I’m just now picking up on it).  My girls do not like it at all and they do comment on it when we are out and about.  (Now, I can threaten them with dressing like that in public if they don’t acquiesce to my demands.)  It’s possible for middle-aged women, such as myself, to create a look that is age-appropriate and hip at the same time.  You just need to realize the boundaries – belly button rings and cropped shirts are an absolute no-no.

Being 100% absolutely sure about everything so there is no room for questions or compromise.  This peeve is a variation on the know-it-all theme.  I don’t think everyone over the age of 45 is like this, but this tendency seems to worsen in the aging process.  I’m just thinking of my peer group.  When we were young we all had opinions on the topics of the day, but they weren’t written in stone.  Now, as we’ve gotten older, some of our crew think in the extreme in almost every topic of discussion – there is no gray (ie Republicans are ALWAYS right and Democrats are ALWAYS wrong).  It’s difficult to converse with someone who can’t acknowledge an alternate side to an issue – I really find it rather boring and tiresome.   

Now, here is my list of  the things that I want to embrace as I approach and pass 45:

Keep up the latest technologies.   Right now I think I’m on par with my kids’ knowledge.  My goal is to keep it that way.  I will not be surpassed!

Stay relevant.  I want to keep well-informed on current issues and topics that interest me.  So when I do offer up an opinion or comment, it’s not based on rumor.  Or, if I don’t know much on the topic, admit it, listen to others and be prepared next time.  I’m always striving to keep an open mind on topics – it’s not always easy.

Remember that age is just a number.  It can’t dictate how you feel.

Take control of my health.  I really need to start exercising more.  This will hopefully prevent me from developing ailments and blurting them to complete strangers! 

Continue to try new things.  Hopefully, this will keep me interesting (assuming that I am already!).

Here’s to turning 45!