I am officially middle aged. Having recently celebrated what felt like a somewhat significant birthday, I’m filled with gratitude. My first husband was 4 years older than me, but his life ended before he reached this particular milestone. I’m now 2 years older than he lived to be, which is a strange feeling. The process of aging isn’t without difficulty, but the alternative is far worse. Remembering that our days are numbered helps me appreciate them a little more.
My birthday slipped away quickly. I wished- as I often do- that I could have slowed time down. There are so many things I’d like to do, if only there were more minutes in a day. I went for lunch with two of my sons. My daughter baked a chocolate cake. A friend unexpectedly dropped by for coffee and a catch up. Later my partner and I went for a romantic dinner. I enjoyed my presents: flowers, warm boots and books. I’ve always wanted a pair of Uggs even though they look like slippers. Now that I’m middle aged, why not fully surrender to comfort?
The older I get the less I want. The biggest gift age has bestowed is that I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’m generally content with my life. I no longer feel the need to prove myself to anyone. It’s enough to just BE.
Yesterday we went for a winter walk. As always, the time spent in nature was a tonic. My bonus son wore the colorful wool hat I knit him for the first time and told me how much he loved it. Our relationship has been complicated by his mom’s feelings, divided loyalties, and the usual stuff blended families face. In that moment, however, everything became simple. I made the hat with love, and he received it with gratitude. Maybe that’s all it takes: little gestures of kindness, good intentions, and a whole lot of hope repeated day after day, year after blessed year.
I’m curious about what surprises the second half of life will bring. The strangest thing about becoming older is that I still feel the same on the inside, and it’s hard to grasp that I’m not as young as I feel. I’m fortunate that I still have a lot of energy, my body is strong and capable of moving in much the same way it always has. While I have fears about mortality and growing old, I also welcome this next stage of life. I hope I’ll have courage to face whatever is yet to come with grace.
Featured Photo by Caterina Berger.