I promised an upside blog, and I’ve been hunting for inspiration ever since. This is Thanksgiving morning, and it’s time to pull out of the negativity. So here are some of the gifts of hitting midlife that I want to acknowledge, and invite you to add to.
- The kids are grown. Unlike most of my generation who waited to have kids, I was a mom at 22 and an empty nester by 42. We miss them, the number of rubber slippers by the front door down to only two pairs, but we celebrate the awesome people they are and think happy thoughts of grandparenting someday and being done with college costs soon.
- You can afford the hot-babe car. I have one, and maybe I don’t look like a hot babe in it, but when I put down the sunroof and lay down some rubber it hardly f**king matters, I feel so great.
- You know who you are. For better for worse, half a century of experience has taught us who we are and what we’re about, and I for one have stopped apologizing or trying to be different.
- You have time-tested, loyal friends. Like good wine, friendships ripen and richen and develop depth, complexity and nuance that has to do with shared history and story.
- You learn what really matters. I can’t say what it is for you, but for me its doing meaningful work that helps others, following my dream of writing (wherever it leads) and being a person of integrity.
- You find the courage of your convictions. With the hourglass sifting your days more rapidly than ever, you may find yourself saying and doing things you didn’t expect—circulating a petition, marching in a parade, writing a blog, or starting a nonprofit. (Yep, I surprised myself with all the aforementioned)
- You savor things. You learn wonderful experiences and even miserable ones shouldn’t be missed or dulled by too much alcohol, watered down by excess or cheapened by drugs. Even pain can remind you how alive you are and that each day is precious.
- You have stories. Oh my, you have stories. The trick is finding people it’s appropriate to tell them to.
- You get to experience new levels of personal growth. This is my re-frame (something we therapists like) to the PHYSICAL challenges of ageing. I’ll have to do a separate blog on the mental/emotional ones. If I can remember to…
- You look death in the eye and begin a friendship. Either that or you run away as fast as you can, probably in your hot-babe car, but either way, Death becomes a regular guest—because now you know a lot of people who’ve died. I count this as Upside because it’s real, and to me, real is good.
- Sometimes you get things back. My husband’s knee surgery went very well last week, and we hiked along the Pali with the wind in our hair and our eyes on the cobalt sea, looking for the first whales to return. We both felt hopeful that life can get even better than it’s been.
We did an exercise at a Thanksgiving party at the beach today. It was to state not only what we are thankful for, but what we look forward to being thankful for in the future. A subtle, but interesting shift. Mine was health related-I am thankful that my neck arthritis will ease up in the coming weeks and months. Your list is in the same vein. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Great post Toby! I wanted to write something similar but did not find the time to do so. The number 1 on your list is something I do not have right now. Your kids are grown and mine are in the midst of Tween and Tween years! That is why most of the time I lack the time to blog as I was the official chauffeur, etc. 🙂
Happy day after Thanksgiving 🙂
Absolutely love this list! I’m soooo there!
Thanks for the comment and for visiting my blog!