Is there a zone between middle age and “senior?” I’m different than I was when I first came up with my “middle aged woman rules.” I look at those now and I think they’re kind of juvenile and stupid. I find myself at a point in my life where I just don’t give a crap anymore about styling myself to please others.
This is actually the second time in my life I discovered (and it was a discovery, not a decision) that I was just being who I am, without worrying about whether who I am pleases others.
That last time I settled into my own skin so comfortably, Mike showed up.
I’ve back to level of self-acceptance that allows me to just “be,” where in years past I would have doubted, criticized or or been disappointed in almost everything I did or said. I’ve calmed down. I’ve become a better listener. Weird shit that seems to be related to aging is happening to my body, but I shrug and think, “whatever.”
It doesn’t feel quite right to refer to myself as “middle-aged” anymore, but hell if I’m going to say I’m “old.” Is there such a thing as senior middle age? Advanced middle age? Not thinking about age?
Angelic daughter and I went through a low patch last year, but we’ve pulled out of it admirably I think, and now things are rolling along nicely (knock wood, cross fingers, whatever you do to ward off a reversal when you say something like that.) The great-creator-power-that-is has bestowed upon me the gift of work I love, at a place populated with genuine, and genuinely kind, people. I honestly didn’t believe such a workplace existed, as I have never experienced it before. Every job I’ve ever had was at an organization fraught with egos, anxiety, competition, backstabbing, stress, resentment, rumor-mongering, and a constant, threatening undercurrent that something bad would happen to someone, any minute. (HA!, reminds me of a certain House in the news lately, but I digress.)
But now, at this stage of my life, I have been welcomed into a workplace where there’s none of that negative stuff, and I get paid to spend the day doing something I love. I’m stunned, and stupid happy. I look forward to going to work. I don’t mind getting up at 4:45 a.m. to get there by 6:30 so I can pick Angelic Daughter up from her new, fabulous, welcoming, caring place by 3:20.
At that place, Angelic daughter has reconnected with a friend she hasn’t seen in years, gets to choose among many activities and decide how she wants to spend her day, and hops into the car smiling and chattering about singing to her friend when I pick her up.
I remember when my favorite film actor, Russell Crowe, won the Oscar for Gladiator. He said, “for anyone who’s on the downside of advantage, and relying purely on courage, it’s possible.” (If you want to skip the intro, start at about 34 seconds in):
There were times, from the moment Mike was diagnosed, through these past three and a half years without him, when I felt hopeless, or ready to give up. I don’t think I can say that I relied on courage – I guess I relied on my version of faith. But I did make a conscious decision to make conscious decisions about how I’d spend my time. I started writing, and I don’t intend to stop, for as long as I still “have my marbles,” as my Dad used to say. I feel wired – a little manic – in the good way I used to feel when I was directing my high school talent show, or improvising with some very talented people in clubs in Chicago, giving packed houses big laughs.
I’ve been blogging since October 2017, a little more than a year after Mike died, and since then, I have cried and despaired vicariously with other bloggers going through their own tough times and tragedies – and I’ve stuck with them long enough to read their stories of getting through it, getting better, finding what they needed and finding themselves exhilarated, reinvigorated, even triumphant.
If you’re in a dark place, going through a tough time, having trouble seeing a way out, hang in there. Things can get better. It’s possible.
Yours with prayers for Australia, Puerto Rico, the people of China and everyplace else on our hurting, pissed-off, melting, diseased, once-beautiful-and-still-could-be-beautiful- again-if-we-get-our-collective-shit-together-and-do-something-about-it planet, I remain,
Your loving, grateful, hopeful,
P.S. Have fun watching the Oscars this weekend, even if, like me, you haven’t seen any of the films (I’m working, OK?) And here’s another list, related to this post, up on my 27 Things page.
11 thoughts on ““Senior” Middle Age?”
Your words are encouraging. Friends of ours are going through a tough time. The husband has cancer and needs to be receiving chemotherapy, but he’s also in pain from a ruptured disk in his back. He can’t take chemotherapy if he has the surgery and vice versa. Jim has pretty much decided to skip both because the surgery would require six months of immobility and without chemo they expect him to only have another six to eight months. It’s heartbreaking and his wife is going to need so much support. We are heartbroken for them.
I’m so sorry to hear this! I hope he gets good pain relief so he can enjoy the time he had left; I read some books when Mike first got sick about people who decided not to have chemo and used nutrition and meditation and non-traditional medicine to treat their cancer. Mike opted for the chemo but he was physically strong and ambulatory. Sending peace and hope vibes to you. 🙏
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Thank you. Jim is one of the smartest people i know, and I’m sure he’s been doing his research. Is there a particular book you’d recommend?
I hesitate to recommend a book because there are no promises – but books I thought were worth reading were Anticancer, S New Way of life; Meditation as Medicine; Food as Medicine; and Radical Remission in
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This is such a different tone today from when I first started reading you. I’m thrilled for you. Happy, too!
PS. Not watching Oscars. May look at some headlines tomorrow, read about the drama, and analyze the dresses. 😉
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Hey nice to hear from you! Yes, I think I’ve grown up a bit in my writing since I started the blog. How’s your memoir going?
Pfff. I’m blogging elsewhere under a pseudonym which allows for complete inhibited writing. Maybe one day I’ll return to the memoir…
Did you ever get your Facebook figured out? Mine is doing the same thing currently. It’s so frustrating. Hoping to connect about this. Love your blog ❤️
Yes, I got it sorted – had to use the same email as my previous account and use a photo instead of my logo. Thanks for the likes and hope you get your FB sorted out!