I remember a few years ago my Dad saying that I was middle-aged, and being taken aback. I had not hit midlife. I was still young. But as 40 continues to creep closer and closer I’ve found myself realizing that maybe this really is midlife.
Maybe it’s midlife…
when you get up off the couch and feel a sudden pain in your knee that doesn’t go away for days.
when a late Saturday night means you can’t do anything on Sunday, even after 2 Gatorades.
when you go to the casino and the first thing you do is check your rewards.
when you decide where to go out based on the likely hood of there being 90’s music and you not being the oldest person in the room.
when going to dinner at 8:00 seems crazy but you used to not go out till at least 9.
when you go out and the prospect of hours in heels is too much, so you wear your Uggs for the car ride.
when you hear more about divorces than you do about people getting married.
when scrolling through Facebook you see friends with their new spouses and wonder “what happened there”
when you ponder your career decisions and wonder if you took too much time off with your kids or too little. It’s worrying that you squandered their childhood days working too much or not enjoying it enough. It’s realizing that all those assholes who said it would go too fast were right.
It’s realizing how short the years really are and pondering all the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s that run through your mind late at night when you should be sleeping. It’s never getting enough sleep.
It’s friends losing parents and parents getting sick and the unending march of time.
It’s keeping your doctor’s appointments and paying your bills on time and crossing your t’s and dotting your I’s and hoping that if you do things just right things will turn out well. That you will remain healthy and mostly happy and that disaster isn’t lurking around the corner.
It’s a feeling of uncertainty that you didn’t have before. A loss of that sense of innocence and naivety that everything would be ok. The realization that the world is so much bigger and more nuanced than you thought it was when you were younger. That you are not invincible.
It’s having money to do some of the things you dreamed of doing in your twenties. It’s not worrying when you lose $20 in a slot machine and when you feel blessed that you have the money for the good concert seats but sitting in the cheap seats is still fun.
It’s a fine line between growing up and growing old. It’s seeing yourself as getting older and realizing that kids who were born when you were in High School are now 20.
It’s trying not to have regrets but maybe you still do. And maybe it’s ok to look back and wonder “what if” but to still be happy with what you have. Maybe it’s a phase of life that no one really talks about other than using the words “midlife crisis”. There is the joy of youth and the excitement of your twenties when everything is happening. Weddings! The babies! And then there is this. The space between youth and old age where the “they lived happily ever after” ends and life begins. It’s monotonous and busy and heartbreaking and wonderful in its own way.