My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thoughts from the "Middle Ages"

So now I am 44. I think this qualifies as officially middle age.

I don't mind aging... the numbers don't bother me... not from a vanity standpoint. I don't envy the young because I know that wisdom, knowledge, understanding, gratitude all grow exponentially with each passing year. Youth only means that you still have many lessons yet to learn.

I don't worry about the random strands of grey hair, even though they are harder to tame. I don't notice wrinkles, even if my laugh lines are still there when I'm not laughing... and although my forehead looks like I'm in deep thought, even when I'm not thinking. I don't mind that my beauty, such as it was, is fading.

I'm not crazy about the aches and pains that have become my constant companions. I wish aging didn't cause so much wear and tear on this old bag of bones.

In some ways I miss the hectic chaos of being a single mother of three little boys... but in so many more ways I'm grateful that I have successfully raised three boys to be (relatively) independent young men. Quiet days are a just reward for the drought of silence in my younger years.

I'm not who I thought I'd be at this stage of life. Twice I've closed the book of my life at the page that says, "and they lived happily ever after" only to open it again and cross through the words "ever after" and put an expiration date on that marriage. I don't have the home or the job or the partner that I thought I'd have. The story wasn't written the way I thought it would be... but in so many ways it's been so much better than I could have imagined.

For every expectation I had that didn't play out the way I thought it would... I've had an unexpected blessing that far outweighs what I thought I had lost.

I've loved a lot. Laughed a lot. Been surrounded by friends I didn't deserve. Lost some family members that didn't deserve me. Encountered strangers who I'm certain were angels. Encountered husbands I was certain were of the devil.

I look up to my Sweet Steel Magnolias who are double my age and I know that they both have carried burdens that I couldn't begin to bear and done it with grace and dignity and beauty. I am encouraged that their blood runs through my veins.

I spent hours last night feeding my genealogy habit, tracing back in both directions and wondered about the names there... what heartaches did they face? What disappointments did life bring them? How did they survive? Faith? Gumption? Determination? All of that and more, I'm sure. Knowing what I know as a student of history about their various times on their planet, coupled with anecdotal evidence and even just the basics - born this year, died this year - I know that they set forth a legacy I can be proud of.

I'm far enough along in the journey to look back with pride at the roads I've traveled and look forward in anticipation to the beauty that still lies before me. I'm far enough along in the journey to realize that my life will someday, maybe, be a source of encouragement for someone else.

Last year my birthday treat for myself was a day off of work to enjoy the Royal Wedding and to take care of some details about my health. This year I'm taking a day off of my constant nest-resting to shake the cobwebs off and spend some time with the three dimensional people. It may be physically demanding but it will be a mental vacation from the stress of the nest. And yes, there is stress in not knowing what the future holds.

It's my birthday. I don't know why people think birthdays are less of a big deal as you get older... I think they're a WAY bigger deal as you get older because you can appreciate the blessing of surviving - and hopefully thriving - another year.

Time to glam and get on the road. Have a great day, y'all!



Life truly is a journey with twists & turns we never expect. Some good, some painful.

And at age 54 I see more clearer and understand what's important far better than ever.

That was a very beautiful post you wrote. And Happy Birthday, young lady.