I just turned 49. Next year is supposed to be the milestone. I think my milestone began two years ago. My great Aunt Bernice was turning 99. It occurred to me that Bernice had been old for as long as I could remember. I hadn't even reached half of Bernice's age. All my great aunts lived to be at least in their 90s and many in their 100s. If I inherited the longevity gene, and barring sickness or an unfortunate event like being run over by the shuttle bus (which isn't all that unlikely since the driver's just about taken me out several times), I'll be doing my life as a do-over--but as an old person. Yeesh.
This was the trigger of my midlife angst. I know, I know, it's a privilege to live so long, especially when many pass before their lives get started. I feel guilty for even ruing getting old. I can hear the protests now: But you're not old. You are only as old as you feel. True that. I don't feel old. But I can't seem to help it. I am growing older. If God allows me to stay here for another 50, I gotta accept that one day my face will look like a canned, spiced shriveled apple. My mom used to make those when I was a kid. When you're little, you see things with a certain clarity. I thought an old lady's face looked like one of those shriveled apples.
I have been blessed with much: good health, a wonderful family, and parents who are still living. Our son is becoming a confident young adult thinking about colleges. Our daughters are marrying guys of whom we approve and adore. I'm a lucky gal. So what's my problem?
I am a 'tween. Midlife is just like the stage of being a two-year old or a gangly teenager. It's awkward. I have an emptying house and no grandchildren yet. What to do, what to do? I've become very shallow. I'm working out to stave off the eventual menopausal stomach pot. Using a lot of concealer to cover up the darkening circles under my eyes. Noticing a new crop of age spots from years of baking in the sun. And considering face tape to pull up the growing turkey waddle under my chin.
But besides all that, I'm also thinking more about eternity. Looking at the stars at night and being in awe at how vast God is. Praying that I will be useful in God's kingdom no matter what age I am.
The older women who loved and prayed for me when I was growing up were characterized by selflessness and an inner grace and beauty. Like my friend, Marcie, or my Aunt Betty. They laughed at their wrinkles, gave generous hugs, invited you to stay awhile. I hope to be like that. Less self-focused. Living more for eternity. Even when I have a dried up apple face.
|Giving a generous hug to my niece, Anna|