Middle-age is not a problem to be solved, it is a lifestyle to embrace, and enjoy. Stop browsing long-term care insurance on the weekends, that’s simply morbid, and possibly detrimental to your health. It’s our time to ride into the proverbial sunset without a map, because it’s all about the journey, not the destination. I love this quote by Hunter S. Thompson.
“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”
I am no longer concerned about public opinion (that is only partly true, but it’s so bold). I want to enjoy the time I have left. My new directive is worry less, laugh gently, and experience life to the fullest. Brene Brown would say “strong back, soft front, wild heart.”
“What does that mean?’
“I’m so glad you asked.”
Let’s start with our five God-given senses. It’s time to ditch the carrot sticks (that was so 40’s), dine on foods you adore, cram a cupcake in once in a while. Fire up those amazing candles you’ve been hoarding for the last five decades. Touch each other, hold hands, kiss on the front porch, give the neighbors something to talk about. Listen to music that feeds your soul even if it’s country. Get rid of anything hanging around the house that’s an eyesore, including ugly bedding, clutter, and those half dead poinsettias from Christmas. Read until three in the morning, sleep in, have door dash bring you a breakfast burrito. Do not explain yourself to others, smile, wave the naysayers away. There’s a sixth sense which we tend to ignore called intuition. This improves with age. Trust it.
I realize some of us were raised with this silly notion that everyone should like us? That is preposterous and dangerous. Don’t be blind to toxic individuals just because you assume everyone is working under the same premise, they aren’t, and they’ll destroy you. Create some distance, it’s not your job to love everyone, that’s why we have God, and Raymond.
”I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear: I’m not screwing around…Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.” Brene Brown
1. We’re just sweet little old ladies (or men, I’m all about equality). Time to kick this one to the curb. The truth is I don’t care what you think of me. That’s right, it’s my new go to statement, I’m thinking of having it tattooed across my palm for obvious reasons. It’s not for everyone. No pressure.
2. Unseemly hair growth is a thing. It’s not that hair growth is out of control but it is known to shift as you age up. Breath, I have a solution. The Girl Scout motto “be prepared” is our new gospel. So here’s the deal – invest in good tweezers and magnifying mirrors (buy in bulk). You can never have too many. A rebel eyebrow can unexpectedly drop all the way down to the chin. Don’t panic. Pluck it out and move on to the unattractive nose, ear, and toe hair. It’s there, you just can’t see it.
I think a few warnings about hair removal ointments are in order here. They act on all types of hair! If you scratch your head, rub your eyes, or use the restroom while working with said products the result is only humorous to your spouse, kids, relatives, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. The grandkids love it.
3. A flat tummy is essential. Get real, tummies are highly over-rated, and planking is clearly unethical. It’s only a rumor, but I’ve heard high waisted pants are making a comeback, “Woo Hoo.” They’ll be in style for at least a decade, you might have some stored in the back of your closet from the 80’s, and this my friend is where you put the tummy. If the rumors turn out to be false refer to number one.
4. Wrinkles are the enemy. On Camazotz, from a Wrinkle in Time, all objects and places appear exactly alike because the whole planet must conform to the terrifying rhythmic pulsation of IT, a giant disembodied brain. I love Madeline L’Engle and her quirky view of life. In her story a wrinkle becomes the key element for passage to unknown dimensions. No truer statement has even been spoken. Let’s not allow “It” to dictate our experience. Conformity is boring. Wrinkles are so in (along with gray hair), but don’t flaunt them, because it makes the young people jealous.
5. Hide and Seek is for kids. In Hinduism, upon the birth of your first grandchild, you become a “Forest Dweller.” This is code for “it’s time to celebrate you.” Leaving the chores of managing a household behind, you are free to explore the bigger questions in life. Who the hell am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Don’t freak out, you do not have to be “born again,” or sit under a Banyan tree in a grungy housecoat all day (I will not judge you if that is your choice).
This is your time to explore the aspects of life that resonate deeply within you. Time to Eat, Pray, Love so to speak like Elizabeth Gilbert. Your search for truth might include hummingbirds, mystic waterfalls, or discovering the best Pinot Noir in the South of France. You simply give yourself permission to become a seeker, move into spheres normally dominated by the heart, and go in search of you.
6. I’m not sizzling my way to 60. Have you given mentoring a thought? Stop whining, those of you with decades of experience, it’s time to pay it forward. Take someone under your wing, share the wealth, it benefits both parties. Your base of knowledge does not matter. Someone is interested in parenting, selling, fashion, decorating, programing, investing, down-sizing, creating, writing, educating, hiking, cooking, baking, gardening, traveling, praying, grieving, healing, meditating, acting, reading, or just being. Share, mentor, connect because it’s considered a sin to “leave your light under a basket.” Put it on the nightstand where it gives light to others.
7. I’ve been moved to the good-will pile, unneeded, and out of style. If you are lucky enough to have grandchildren you are lucky enough. Enjoy them to the fullest. It is not possible for grandparents to spoil their grandkids. That is an urban legend. In study after study they are finding a strong relationship between grandparent and grandchildren benefits both parties. Everyone longs for validation, acceptance, unconditional love, and by the way it’s good karma (especially if you don’t want to be a bug in your next life). Get on with the loving.
8. A word about naps. The answer is yes, if need be refer to number one, other than that rest assured.
9. You can kiss your sex life good-bye. When it comes to sex the general rule is quality over quantity but this is not true for everyone. The only study I read on aging and sex claims middle-aged, monogamous, women are enjoying it the most. I’m just putting it out there for future reference. Take advantage of the empty nest, it’s not all about Netflixs, and running the dishwasher during non-peak hours. Things to keep in mind; please don’t tweet about it at three in the morning, according to the children this topic is still taboo, let’s keep it that way.
10. CRS (can’t remember shit) is a real condition. Not true. Be ready for an upgrade in your operating system. It’s true, we process “differently” as we age, but recent studies claim we become smarter. Our brains continue to grow along with our ears and nose but that’s irrelevant. We have better control of our emotions (which compensates for the bladder), we can focus on the positives because we have access to good wine, problem solving is easier (since most of your problems have moved out), people skills are stronger, along with the ability to see the big picture. That’s right millennia’s! We are one badass, determined, gritty, group, who can manage new situations with ease. The Boomers have arrived.
11. You have to be under 35 to enter a LuLuLemon store. Don’t be a rule follower! Every study, blog, or essay on aging (including Oprah) says to keep moving. The good news is our brains do not have to become strainers for pasta, we can keep them healthy by exercising, and this has subsequent benefits, like a healthy digestive system, sculpted muscles, and agility (both physical and mental). So slip into some lycra and get moving. As part of our due diligence Larry and I are walking to El Guapo’s this afternoon, for frozen margaritas, and nacho’s. We’re calling it research.
I don’t have the “golden” answers to aging well, but I figure if I can’t solve all the problems in the world, maybe I can refrain from adding to them. Doesn’t that sound nice?
My Dad always said, “what you think about will come about.” That’s all.
“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” Elizabeth Gilbert
Although aging rapidly, I’m still Living in the Gap, drop by anytime, we’ll sip wine and laugh at the crows.
Notes to self: Happiness is not situational, it’s an operative, and optional.
For Alice: This is only a mock up but you get the gist.