Aging ain't for sissies. Neither is chronic pain.

Posts tagged ‘midlife’

Taking Stock

So I’ve been doing a little personal inventory.  I’m amazed at how much I’ve changed over the years.  It’s funny how you don’t realize you’ve changed until…well…you’ve changed.  Things that used to matter so much to me in the past just don’t anymore.  Things that didn’t concern me back in the day now play a more prominent role in my life.

Am I happy with the changes?  Yes and no.  I’m happy that I don’t worry about certain things as much as I used to.  In the past I worried myself silly over what people might think of me.  I was very much a “yes” person; saying yes to just about any request for fear that someone would think badly of me if I said no.  Now?  Not so much.  If somebody is going to think badly of me simply because I choose to say no then it’s on them not me.  It’s not that I want people to go around thinking I’m an ogre or anything but I would like them to accept me for who I am.  Take it or leave it, like it or lump it…I yam what I yam.

I’m happy with the fact that I can let things go more easily, especially things I disagree with.  I don’t have as many hills to die on as I used to.  I have strong beliefs and I stand up for what I think is right but I don’t shove my beliefs down anyone’s throat.  I am better at agreeing to disagree than I’ve been in the past; in other words I don’t feel the need to have the last word in everything.  Go me.

I think I’m better at meeting people where they are as well.  It’s not my place to push people toward where I want them to be.  I’m certainly no expert in telling people where I think they should be at any given time in their lives.  Shame on me if I even try.

One thing that’s changed about me that I don’t like is that I focus more on my regrets than I used to.  I know it doesn’t do any good and it won’t fix anything but I do it anyway.  I also worry more about the end of my life.  I’m going to be 50 this year and I think my thoughts on these issues are part of the process of realizing just how limited my time here on earth really is.  It is disconcerting and something I have to fight in order not to get depressed.  I think a greater consumption of chocolate would help with this.

I pay more attention to the world more now than I did in the past.  I seem to absorb more of the…I don’t know…pain that’s around me.  Pain from people I don’t even know but whose stories touch me.  It causes me to pray more, that’s a fact.

As odd ball as this sounds I find I enjoy pretty things more than before.  I used to be all form and function; everything being black, white, brown and gray (such as my clothes, hair etc.)  If it didn’t have a function then it had no room in my life.  If it was too crazy with color then it wasn’t for me.  I’ve changed in this department.  More and more I like pretty things; not expensive things but pretty things.  (I’ve become quite enamored with the color yellow; the medium to pale shades.  I can’t quite bring myself to wear the I-am-a-screaming-yellow-school-bus hue though.)  Anyway, I want to feel pretty.  I think most women want to feel pretty and feminine.  Femininity does not equate weakness or submissiveness or any such nonsense.  It’s simply part of being a woman.  It may not be for every woman, and I say to each his own, but for many of us feeling pretty and feminine is fun.

I need more sleep than when I was younger.  I hate it but I need copious amounts of sleep to function.  Trying to tell my body differently results in a very crabby Terri.  Boooo.

I think I appreciate the people in my life in a deeper, more meaningful way than ever before.  Time goes by so fast and I’m at a point where I don’t want to miss a minute of time with those I love.  I don’t want to waste my time on trivial things.  I don’t have that much time to waste!

In taking stock of how I’ve changed I can see that most of the changes have been for the better.  I have a long way to go and a short time to get there (can you say Smokey and the Bandit?) but I’ll do what I can with what’s been given to me.  I am greatly blessed and I see it every day.  I know I’ll continue to change and evolve and I hope I can keep a positive outlook.  The way I look at it, if I get enough sleep I will not become a crabby old lady who hates change and the color yellow.

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Midlife Crisis or Something More?

On New Year’s Eve I turned 49.  The implications of this didn’t fully materialize until a day later when it hit me.  What the absolute hell happened to the past 49 years?  The day after my birthday I asked my husband if he knew what day it was.  He said New Year’s Day.  With a bit of panic I said, “No!   It is day 365 of the countdown to my fiftieth birthday!”  All he could do was put his head in his hands and tell me it’s going to be “a very long year.” 

The reality of turning 50 in less than a year from now (only 357 days to go) has left me with a myriad of emotions.  My initial feeling was one of panic when I realized my life is more than half over (unless by some miracle I live to be 100 which, if my eating habits are any indication, is not likely to happen.)  My question to myself is, “What now?”  Where do I go from here, what do I do, what do I hope to accomplish, what will be my legacy?

Looking past all the usual effects of aging like gray hair, wrinkles and hair that appears in places I didn’t know I had places, there is something more I need to look at; something deeper.

It’s taken some time but I’m beginning to recognize many of the ways I’ve sabotaged my own life.  The pain and experiences of my past have governed the way I live.  Fear, worry and less-than-stellar self-esteem has caused me to surround myself with that which I thought made me feel safe.  In reality I’ve simply been hiding…hiding from the things I need to face and the demons that need cast out.

I am blessed with a husband who has spent the past 19 years walking through periods of hell with me.  He is supportive, encouraging and patient.  He has, and continues to be a tremendous help to me but one thing I’ve come to realize is that there are some things I must do alone.  Only I can truly look deep inside myself and honestly assess what’s there and what I need to do to bring about a better me, a happier me, the real me.

This isn’t something I can do all at once and call it a day.  It will be a long process and a journey I would like to share.  Fear not!  I have no plans to turn my blog into a never-ending excursion through the recesses of my mind stamped with realizations, epiphanies and aha! moments.  I will share the things that stand out and grab my attention; things that I hope will help me find my way in this new phase of my life.  Maybe you too will see things you can relate to and share as well.

Agatha Christie once said, “I like living.  I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”

I say, “Let the living begin!”

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