a middleSage publication

I never imagined it would be this way

Barbara Coleman middlesageLast week was my birthday…57…mid life I suppose…now I just have to make it to 104.

A lot of things scare me, but aging doesn’t appear to be one of them.  I think it’s about accepting the changes that happen….all the changes…physically, emotionally, financially and especially idealistically.  For the first time in my life, I have the lifestyle to be both reflective about the past and prospective about the future.  I enjoy a relatively stress free life, so my vision isn’t clouded the way it used to be when I was a young single mom, or a stressed out professional.

When I was a young unhappy kid in school, living in a home where I always felt like the uninvited dinner guest that couldn’t leave, I thought graduating high school and moving out on my own would allow me to finally feel the way I thought I should, and finally do what I thought I wanted.  Turns out it takes a little bit more than that.  Now I know you never really get to do whatever you want.   My new lifestyle lets me focus on finding fulfillment, I just don’t know what fulfillment looks like, it seems so illusive…I never imagined it would be this complicated.

images-4When I had my children, they were my first introduction to the word love.  We were close….my daughter and I even looked just alike, and it felt, through a couple of bad marriages it was me and the kids against the world.  I thought there was a bond so strong, that nothing would ever break it.  But now, 39 years later, the only communication I receive from my daughter is an occasional “like” on Facebook, and a vague encrypted mother’s day quote.  My son was always the problem child, angry at his absentee dad, and seemingly, blaming me for it.  I always thought he’d be the one to grow up and drift away.  But when I get a picture of the new tennis shoes he’s buying or a video of the grandkids telling me they love me, or the phone call asking for advice, it touches my heart more than words can say…I never imagined it would be this way.

When I thought about growing up and falling in love I thought it would be just like Judy Collins said it would be:

“Moons and Junes and ferris wheels the dizzy dancing way you feel When every fairy tale comes real, I’ve looked at love that way But now it’s just another show, you leave ’em laughin when you go And if you care don’t let them know, don’t give yourself away”

But it took a while to find the right “Mr. Right”….and realistically, it was a little more like Livingston Taylor says:

“Well it’s first time love, giving you fever
Second time love, cooling your brow
Finally love takes your hand in the dark
And leads you home somehow”

And if I were really being honest, after 15 years of marriage, it now seems more like Maroon 5 really nails it!

If “Happy Ever After” did exist, I would still be holding you like this.  All those fairy tales are full of shit.  One more fucking love song, I’ll be sick.

IMG_0076My husband and I celebrated our 15th anniversary and we toast to being married to each other longer than any one else.  We always say “It could be worse”…then unanimously we say “It has been”!  We’re comfortable with each other, he always takes my hand when crossing the street, brings me coffee in bed every morning and remembers to pick up my favorite wine on his way home from work.  I know now, being in love for the long haul isn’t a fairy tale.  It’s work, and it’s worth it.  I just never imagined it would be this way.

Financially, I thought I’d be in a different place.  Between the economy and 9 out of state moves out of the last 15 years, we’ve had to downsize.  You know, you can only lose so much money on a house every couple of years.  We are now renting, and until we know where we are going to settle (oh, please let it be here!), it just doesn’t make sense to nest.  Instead we enjoy finding great food to eat, new places to explore and celebrating being completely out of debt.  Although, it’s been a tough journey at times, I wouldn’t have traded it…we’ve gotten to experience things we wouldn’t have if we had stayed in our home in Michigan. Plus, I’ve got some “mad skill” when it comes to home organization!  I just never imagined it would be this way.

When I am old I shall wear purple....When I thought about growing up, I never imagined growing old.  Frankly, it surprised me when I turned 25 some 32 years ago.  But I step on my scale every morning and it reminds me I’m 57 (stupid high tech scale), Now, I know I should have taken better care of myself!  Oh, really?  core strength is that important?  Oh, I wish I knew then what I know now.

So here I am…57 and finding fulfillment.  The stress is gone and the kids are grown and the only unfinished project left is me.  So I’ll take the time to imagine what it fulfillment looks like so I won’t be surprised when it gets here.

Message StonesTell us about how you imagined your life to be right now.  How does it stack up against what you imagined?


  1. Lee Aldrich

    20 May

    Reality is rarely what we imagined life to be. Reality, like a river to the earth, is what carves into our being and shapes us into what we are. We may not have imagined our lives to be what they are, but we would not be WHO we are without the deviation. Great post.

    • Barbara Coleman

      20 May

      Wouldn’t trade the journey… my new resolve is now to learn to imagine…move towards something don’t avoid something

  2. Ginger Kay

    20 May

    This is going to sound so selfish, but I thought my husband and I would be at the point where we didn’t have to take our children into consideration when we were deciding what to do next with our lives. We blew that one when we decided to adopt, and I am not complaining about that. It’s just not what my youthful imagination pictured as life at this age.

    • Barbara Coleman

      20 May

      I know exactly what you mean…I thought graduation was their jumping off point too.

  3. Anonymous

    6 September

    Hmm . Same age with no husband as he ran off with his next victim . No money five kids who mostly don’t bother even though it was just you and them most of the time . A law degree worth nothing as over forty no one wants you . Death is the only thing on the Horizon .

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