Yesterday was the first really cold, rainy day of the fall season….and it was Monday to boot!
Since my Husband and I move around a lot, I find myself without the company of the girlfriends I used to enjoy. My husband, well, he’s just not girlfriend material and the last year or so living in this strange new city (I call it a city, but it’s really a group of apathetic people huddled together trying to stay warm in the winter), I have been sans friends.
So on this rainy Monday I thought I’d see what the internet had to offer in the way of connections. Whoa, I wasn’t looking for a “hookup”, so I guess I should rule all those sites out. I guess it might be a good idea to leave the word “connections” out of this project too. Geez, this is getting complicated! My search for connections had turned into a quiet rage against the perception I was finding about middle age.
I started my search on Google. It seems Google doesn’t think much of the middle age group. The very definition seems to be a bit more poetic rather than precise. To begin middle age, you have to first be willing to give up your youth, and to end middle age you have to be willing to head straight into elderly. So the lines are a bit blurred on either side. Perhaps that’s why the middle age bracket has escaped any real hard core demographics and statistics. It has instead been put up for interpretation of what other (younger) people may think it looks like, feels like and even sounds like.
This isn’t helping me. Instead of connections, I’m getting frustrated.
The Images found under my search “Middle Age” left me feeling a bit quizzical. Is this the worlds perception of “Middle Age”? Gray hair, puffy (some just overweight), more sad eyes than a trip to the dog shelter and a posture that indicates they have had a perpetual headache for aeons. The captions to the images often included things like diabetes or depression. And the couples, oh the couples….The couples found under a middle age search all looked like they were part of a Cialis Advertisement. Creepy.
Next up, scanning the blogs….I found a lot of homebodies reaching out for the first time. It seems everybody was trying to “find themselves” along with other folks in the same situation. Words kept jumping out at me like “depression”, “negativity”, and even “suicide”! A few are lamenting days gone by….as well as days that lay ahead. Some are trying to prove they’ve still got it. Oh, I think I’ve got a migraine now. So many bloggers, so little to say, yet sometimes so much in common.
I think the most common thread among all these blogs was it seems everyone just wanted to connect with someone. I can tell you the biggest contributing factor for blog enjoyment, fulfillment or even “sticktoitevness” is knowing you’re connecting with other people.
Are we the “middle aged” the invisible generation?
If you’ve ever taken a survey, you know that once you hit 50 or 55 you’re usually just lumped in with everybody 55 and over. Clearly the people that want our money or want us to buy their goods consider a 56 year old tech savy, educated and still youthful woman to be of the same calibre as someone who is on the precipice of the nursing home.
According to Pew Research, technically we are thought of as “The Threshold Generation”, but I think of a threshold as that non existent place that exists merely to create a gateway to crossing over. I’m not leaving this place called middle age for sometime, so I hate having no acknowledgement of my current status.
It seems all, if not the majority, of my circle of mid life friends are, again, trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. After sometimes years of applying yourself to a certain career, the 50’s seem to be the appropriate time to question whether or not you’re really happy doing that.
I used to have something to prove, now I just want to be happy. I used to want to take on the world, now I just want the world to acknowledge me. I used to think I wanted it all, now I know I wouldn’t have anywhere to put it if I had it.
Here’s the conclusion I’ve come to…
I’m middle aged! 56 years old and I’m finally, I said FINALLY comfortable in my own skin – no matter what size that skin happens to be. My Hair? I have found a color that I like and the gray looks like an expensive blonde highlight. And those curls I’ve been fighting all my life, well, there here to stay and they’re spectacular!
I look at pictures of my former self and think, oh for god’s sake, I wasted so much time thinking I was fat when those indeed those were pretty good looking years. I now stay within the same 20 lb. weight sway and am comfortable with that.
I’ve discovered the anti depressants I’ve been on for years aren’t needed anymore. I just needed the time and space (and cash) to change the things around me. One of my favorite sayings; “Change your perspective on the things you see and the things you see will begin to change.”
I no longer need to prove I’m “super mom”. My former self was convinced I needed to climb the corporate ladder, have a family…a house and yes, even a dog. I fought for women’s rights and tried to break the glass ceiling. I think most women my age were so used to being told no, we rushed in and said yes before we realized we really weren’t happy. I hope, however, my crusade paved the way for the young women who followed me.
I’m not afraid of learning new things anymore. I used to be…..I didn’t want you to think I was inept or stupid, so I steered away from anything I didn’t know how to do. Now, I’m hungry to learn, hungry to connect and maybe even starving for attention.
Middle age is great, we are now the Sages, we have not become our Mothers (thank god) and we still have so much in common with our daughters. We have a responsibility to share our journeys and what we have learned.
If I only knew then what I know now.
So let’s see I’m “middle aged” technically, but realistically only if I’m going to live to be 112. My kids have been out of the house for so long, the empty nest is no longer a novelty. We’ve been sleeping with the bedroom door open for a long time now. My children have been adults for so long, I almost have stopped thinking about them as “kids”. They are now adult relatives, and they all have tiny humans of their own….I call them grandchildren, they call me Honey.
I have more money than I did in my 30’s and 40’s – and I get to spend it on ME now, my children are no longer dependents. With that kind of resources you’d think the world would pay more attention to me.