Friday, October 16, 2009

Midlife vs. Adolescense

Hmm. Can't say that I see a whole lot of difference between the two. Both are marked by change and growth, drama and anxiety, joys and sorrows, emotional turmoil --life is out of our control and full of uncertainties.

For me, adolescence was a long time ago, but according to my failing memory, I think I made it through that season much easier than I'm struggling through these midlife days. Back then, change was good. It offered hope, challenges, improvement, and excitement about the future. But now, when I look in the mirror and see how time has changed me, and remember fondly days gone by while wondering about the future, ...Oh brother!

The hair (what hasn't fallen out) is silvering more every day. The eyebrows (no longer arched just so) are relocating to other places on my face. I can't find my waist and, well, let's just say my girlish figure has headed south for the winter.

Uncontrollable physical changes are not the only anxiety triggers of midlife. Health issues--that's a biggie. And planning for retirement--wondering if retirement will even be possible before the age of 95--can keep us mid-lifers up half the night worrying. In seventh grade we stressed over pimples, wearing the right clothes, and who "liked" whom. Today I stress over things like the problems my children face, the economic downturn, and the future of my nation (just to name a few). Hot flashes, mood swings, double chins and bat wings...What pill should I take for my achy joins, and have you noticed how the print on those darn labels gets smaller ever time you buy a new bottle?

One of my friends once told me, "Whoever said life begins at 40 was full of c**p!" I'm inclined to agree with my friend and I'm thinking it must have been a foolish teenager that said it.

But hey, midlife is not all bad. One of the biggest benefits to this awful season of life is grandchildren. They give us opportunity to act like silly little kids without judgment or condemnation. We can play, pretend, make silly faces, talk like babies... Our kids may think we are starting to go through our second childhood, but who cares? We are finally smart enough to live every moment to the fullest and we aren't going to let anybody spoil it for us. Besides, tomorrow we won't be able remember what we did, so in our minds, it never happened!

Another positive is the senior discount at restaurants. We mid-lifers seem to want to color our hair and wear "younger" styled clothing, etc. to hang on to our youth. But, I've discovered that if you let your silver locks glisten and wear those unflattering pants with the elastic waistbands, a polite and considerate server won't insult you by asking if you want the senior discount, (even though you aren't really that old) she will just give it to you anyway.

The Bible tells us that all our days are numbered and written in God's book. So if I really am at the midway point in my life, then I'm 16,802 days away from seeing my Savior face to face and walking the streets of heaven for eternity. (If I live to be 92.) That day, no matter how many days away, is something to look forward to.

So until then, I'll avoid mirrors, wear my custom readers, use tweezers on my face, wear long sleeves, play with little kids, and just put up with the aches and pains while enjoying discounts when I can. No, life didn't begin at 40, but it didn't end there either.

And hey, look on the bright side. We don't have to worry about who "likes" whom any more. Frankly, we don't care!