There has been a good deal of talk lately among my peers and among celebrities in the media about what is today’s definition of mid-life? Is it 40 or 50? How do we find the scale on which we weigh it? Over time our life expectancy has changed and we would like to believe our quality of life as well, at least for some of us. Yet we still live within a culture that worships youth. So are we mid-life, are we older than that? And either way, what does it mean? How does it impact our life’s daily perspective? Sit and flip through the infomercial channels any given Sunday morning and you will be introduced the variety of ways in which one can slim inner thighs, tone up abs, firm underarms, remove unwanted body hair and even make one’s hands look younger! Do we only look to the aesthetics of our bodies for clues that we are reaching the mid point of our life?
For me, only a mere five months from turning fifty, midlife is the ending of one cycle and the beginning of another. And for me, it has so little to do with body image. It has little to do with the face in the mirror or the jiggle of my thighs. Honoring my body has taken front seat, but in a very different way. I find myself in a beautiful flow of adjustment. I have reflected on all the different events that have led to the point I find myself at today. Everything has mattered. And now when I look back I find I have grown a new appreciation of this fact.
Additionally, this time of life creates opportunity to explore my mortality. What is left to be done in this lifetime? What needs to be addressed with my health, my relationships, my pass times, and my career and callings? I feel elder-hood is a bit far off, yet I can see it on the horizon and I cannot fool myself any longer about how quickly time flies!
As I approach the infamous age of fifty that has wreaked havoc on many minds I have come to some conclusions for myself. I have learned to really enjoy life, not to worry about who is looking, how silly I may seem or if anyone else is interested…I am going for it! I dress the way I feel most comfortable. I wear my hair in a style that offers ease. I exercise for my body’s health and well being, not because I want to be a step ahead of bathing suit season.
I also have learned to really appreciate people in my life. And not just the one’s who are nice to me! I have developed an appreciation for those who have made me stretch, challenged me and even caused a little chaos from time to time, because of them…I have learned so much about myself, my strengths and my flaws.
Speaking of flaws, at this age, I am more than willing to admit I have them! Long gone are the days of striving to be perfect! I have learned to honor the delicate parts of myself and celebrate them! If I had lived a life of no regrets…I think it probably would be rather boring if life did not have any.
I also have found I have less to prove. I have strong opinions that have been born of a life filled with many experiences, rich with many relationships and peppered with a variety of interests. But, if you don’t agree, that’s cool. I am more and more comfortable with just doing what I want or need to do and not taking on more than that. Gone are the days of comparing myself to another. I celebrate you right along with me!
And finally, at least at the point of writing this post, I gift myself with ample time for reflection. I have grown to appreciate the importance in this. I have opened myself to life’s mysteries. I have opened myself up to more than just my ordinary thoughts. I have connected to something that is larger than what I thought the whole to be and I find great comfort there. I find inspiration and delight there. I have found a richness I did not know existed in my years past. My spiritual practices don’t fit in anyone’s box, but mine. I am beyond comfortable with this and find it nurtures me in a way I never expected.
So mid-life is interesting for me. I don’t seem to look at it quite the way society does. And there may be some differences from my perspective and yours, but I am good with that. And on that note, I will end this here so I can go and reflect on the tranquility of the coolness of the night air as it creates a longing for a sweet cup of chamomile tea and a warm flannel nightgown. I know what you are thinking…and I am good with that too!
Blessings ~ Lisa
©COPYRIGHT 2012 Lisa Meade