New Middle Age

Linda_1960When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11

When we are young it seems the opportunities are endless doors to the future are flung wide open and we are bulletproof.

Bad love affair? Lost job? Bad grade in a class?

Never mind, we will overcome any and all of these very quickly with a few days of lamentation, perhaps a bitch session or two with our friends and then it is back to life. This is true of most of us; we are indeed invincible and these inconveniences teach us, toughen us up for adult life.

When we are young, doors are flung wide open and we march through them, assured life will hand us the gold medal, most of us rarely reach middle age unscathed by the arrows of real life beyond childhood. I look at my own history as a long hallway, some doors flung wide open and others securely locked with blinking “Do Not Enter” signs above the jams. My future is simply the continuation of that hallway, with fewer doors, fewer choices and not nearly as many frightening outcomes as my past.

My mother once said to me, “Keep it up and you won’t see 40!”

I don’t know if she was threatening me at the time or simply receiving visions of my future, I have always suspected it was part threat and part wishful thinking. Needless to say, not only did I see forty, I will be fifty-six this year. Each decade of my life has seen real changes take place, sometimes those changes have not been of my choosing but the upheaval brought something new and in later years usually something better.

They say fifty-five is the new middle age, with this I have reached a new pinnacle a new point in life. I am no longer ‘young’, can no longer excuse my indiscretions on youth; I am not ‘old’ either, I don’t have the excuse of age or memory loss. I don’t think of myself as anything other than me, just me with all my body dysfunction brought on by injury and misuse. I think of myself as just me, with foibles and strange predilections brought on by my history and need to protect myself and control my environment.

Having reached this wonderful milestone, this spectacular new middle age of fifty-five I can only consider what is next. There was no light flashing over my head last September when this magical age was reached, in fact I believe I was sitting at my favorite restaurant having forgone the normal holiday to bright and sunny spots. I am far too young to retire and honestly couldn’t imagine life without the hustle of work, despite there are days I do not love it.

I worry sometimes, how does society view us? Those of us reaching this magical new middle age, we aren’t old; we aren’t ready to retire to our rocking chairs. Most of us, no matter the lives we have led to now are vibrant, smart and ready still to rock-n-roll, we have much to offer yet we are often sidelined. I am lucky for now, at fifty I began to contract myself rather than work as someone’s employee. This transition gave me freedom though it is a frightening freedom to be sure, especially now in our economic uncertainty. They say though reinvention is necessary and so I reinvented myself, one more time.

Each decade of our lives, we change, sometimes the change is small and other times the change is spectacular. With each transition to a new decade, we carry with us the hopes and disappointments of the previous decade and our dreams for the future. It is inevitable our dreams change as our life is changed by providence. We grow up and expand our world, with people we love and causes we align with. As our world expands, as our vision of what we are capable of grows we are enriched and we are better able to enhance the lives of those we touch.

Although the pasture ahead of me seems welcoming, I am not quite ready yet. At the ripe middle age of fifty-five I suspect I still have some hell to raise and some childish things I haven’t put away. I am guessing the secret to not growing old even as we transition from one age to the next is holding on to all those special memories, loves and lights that caused us to cherish each decade  while releasing the hurts of the past to galaxy.

Comments

  1. Val we are as old as we feel…. and what the heck with what AGE we are… I am 59 and I feel the same now as I have ever felt.. in fact Better!…. So who gives a dam! about this Middle Age thing!…. I think we in this Mid age ( bracket ) are about the most enlightened swingers ever.. lets face it.. We lived through the swinging 60’s 🙂

    Big hugs to my swinging sister! have a SWINGING WEEKEND! Love Sue xx

  2. Lalalalalalalalalalalala I’m not listening….I’m not listening…… lalalalalalalalala.

  3. Not long after I turned 40 in 2003, I came down with the flu for the first time in my life, then a few months later, severely sprained my left ankle, while out walking the dog. Life doesn’t really begin at 40 (as the old saying goes), but rather, when you step out of your comfort zone.

    • I am not certain I ever really had a comfort zone as we traditionally think of these. I push boundaries to allow myself greater risks and better experiences. I fail sometimes but I have great opportunity as well. Comfort Zone though, I am not at all certain I ever had one of these.

  4. Val, the thing is, whether you retire or not, life is always busy… I can’t remember ever having any empty days in all the years since I stopped ” working” . There are so many other sorts of ‘work”… that keep you busy !!!!
    And fifty -five is young these days..even sixty five is young when you get there!… seventy -five ? I’ll let you know in a few weeks !!!

    • The thing is Valerie, I am one of these strange birds who actually love what I do for a living. I didn’t love it so much when I worked for others but now that I work for me, I do. So retirement I would like to hold it off, at least till I can pay for a Ph.D so I can teach what I do! That next mountain to climb.

  5. Val, I’m with you. I’m actually slightly older but I don’t even feel like I’ve reached 50. Like you said, inside I’m still the same person, and frankly, I’m not ready to grow old.

    • I don’t know what I feel like, how does 50 feel? I guess like this, who would have thought we would still wonder about these things. I don’t know what growing old means, I simply suspect I don’t want to do it.

  6. Hmmm, I thought I was middle-age, good to know I still have 7 years to go. lol This agining thing is daunting but it’s up to us to… make the best of it, I guess. 🙂

  7. Listen my Pretty. You will still be raising hell at 95. I have no doubt in the world.
    Regarding how society ‘views women over a certain age’? Who gives a crap. You are YOU, for YOU. It is YOUR life. There are no standards, but YOURS. Live the life YOU want and the hell with the rest. You’ve pretty much been there already. Screw the world and live to make YOU happy. My grandmother was 99 when she left us. She was coy as a sixteen-year-old to the end, and was happy as long as no-one dropped in on her unexpectedly, and she had time to apply face and hand cream.

    Live a life that makes you happy. About ten years ago we heard of FEEDOM55, the new retirement age. I have no idea what that was about. Rocking chairs are for mothers with small children, who need rocking, and help tired mothers who can hardly move. You build your own blueprint.

    Gads, I don’t know if that helps, but I sure feel like I’ve give you my all.

    • Helps indeed! I cannot even imagine retirement, I would be bored to death. I think the views of society are relevant only because they affect our options, other than this you are right screw them.

      😉

  8. I’m way beyond that, and still kicking! LOL

  9. I’m 58 and don’t look back and if I did – absolutely no regrets. When you’re raising hell, look to your side – that guy there, raising hell, is moi 🙂

  10. Umm, you best have some hell to raise… TWO WEEKS!!! Can we leave early?
    xxx

  11. You are Def. raising hell…and you look DAMN GOOD doing it, girl Xxxxxxx

  12. Oh, Val, I know what you’re saying, my friend. At 51 and 53, Sara and I had truly come to understand that our choices had narrowed, so we began to create an option of our own–literally taking the bull by the horns and making the life we dreamed of. Scary–for sure. But worth it! We are trying to get settled in Ecuador and looking for a long-term place to live.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

  13. At 62, I feel that I have more freedom than I ever had before. Because I look back and see all the things I tried and they didn’t kill me. And I see all the things I didn’t do out of fear, and wish I had tried at least a few. So why not?

  14. Val, since we are the same age, I can say with absolute certainty, you are not old> I have a couple of months on you. I promise to let you know when we get there.

  15. Bottom line is embrace the age you are. Embrace where you have been. Embrace the moment, and look ahead with wisdom because life is short. BTW – the last two paragraphs are awesome!

    • I think that is what I wanted to say, despite it all now is just fine even if it is a bit scary. Now is just fine, even if I feel like I am falling apart now and then.

      Thanks Frank

      • I know what you mean about falling apart! Not good …. but still, I don’t wish to be younger because I don’t what to return to be that stupid again.

        • Isn’t that the truth! You couldn’t pay me to go backwards, though I will admit I would pay a small fortune if I could get rid of some of the aches and pains.

  16. Of course you are young, and fifty five is no age these days my great friend and to prove it I will still be playing with my toys, which is one of my favourite exploits 🙂 Hey I mean my gaming, cheeky 🙂

    I am just adding a new posting next that explains a bit about that but I am not plugging my own Space here, just mentioning that it could be a bit on the bloody side 😦 Well just a bit 🙂 lol I think most of our moms will have mentioned the ‘You won’t Reach Forty’ thingy as I remember my mom saying something along those lines to me too 🙂

    I am sure that you will have lots of wicked adventures to follow and that by the time you reach the tender age of ninety five you will be ready for a bit of a rest 🙂 Okay let’s rock 😉 🙂

    Andro xxxx

    • I am sure you are right, that is about most mothers saying this to their children at one time or another. I think though my mother might have been threatening me.

      This new middle age thing, well it comes with some added issues don’t you think?

      • Yes it does have its moments but we will overcome every hurdle when and if they arise, now call in on my Zombies and don’t be pinching their sweets 😉 🙂 lol

        Have a fun Tuesday Val my sweet friend 🙂

        Andro xxxx

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