To be middle aged is to be caught between worlds sometimes. You still remember your youth very well, and frequently the dreams and aspirations you had. But you’re caught up in the day-to-day, the survival, making the right decisions, the best ones for your family, younger and older. Not easy place to be.
But you can also look ahead and see larger digits, recognize that at this point in your life, there are fewer days ahead than there are behind. And still, you’re caught in the day-to-day, a survival in life and getting by in providing support you need to for your family, younger and older.
The thing is, you often have no idea what that support needs to be.
You look at your children, if you have them, and other younger relatives, and understand they’ve grown up in a vastly different world than you did. But when you look at those younger family members, you can see in them the dreams and aspirations little different than yours in a fundamental level, you can see that they want to learn and grow and change the world. You see all the energy and vitality of youth that you are, probably, fighting to hold onto.
You look your parents and the rest of their generation, and you are always shocked at how old they are, because when they’re out of your sight, you remember them as the much younger, much stronger people who raised you. And you know that they grew up in a different world than you did, and because they’ve seen all of the change that the world has brought for you and your children, they have an easier time understanding your kids than maybe you do, even if the attitudes and issues they have don’t match up. And you really have no idea what they need, because they’re not living the same world that you are. They have that implicit understanding of aging that’s going to take you a couple more decades of direct experience to gain.
And so you realize that you are in your middle years, caught between youth and old age, and maybe, just maybe, you have enough wisdom and experience to figure out what you’re doing if not necessarily where you’re going.
You wonder what happened to all the years between youth and now, and you’re just a little bit afraid to look ahead to what’s coming in the years between now and the end.
It’s become a tagline here and there that old age is not for the weak. You’re starting to recognize that and when you look at your parents and you think about how strong they must be.
And then you look at your children you think about how strong they must be to live with the society we have in the world they’re inheriting. Youth isn’t for the weak, either.
I’ve seen it suggested, and maybe even backed up by some actual research and behavioral science here and, that midlife crisis, or whatever terminology is currently in fashion, is often a product of fear that we don’t want to admit. Fear of what we’ve lost, and fear of having to recognize what we still have to lose. We’re not thinking about the gains, of course, because somehow they don’t seem significant next to the stunning realization of our own mortality.
I think I might suggest that middle age is also not for the weak.
And I think that leaves us with the realization that the human experience is a tough one, that we are all stronger than we realize. We learn, grow, we strive, we go on.
But only until we don’t.
The human experience, whatever your version of it is, requires strength, so we all have it, manifesting differently for each of us.
A difficult thought.
Recognized or not, you are strong. We all are, and that’s not easy thing to know or believe or understand.
Be well, everyone.by