One of the unexpected positive side effects of middle age is a mental transformation. Until I got to this stage in life I never understood why people seemed to go off the deep end in their 40’s and 50’s. I get it now.
As I crept closer to turning 50 it dawned on me that I am finite. My logical brain has always known this, but I pushed the thought to the back burner because my demise (from old age, of course) was so far away. Now, logic tells me that I may not live to 100 (or want to). This body may shrivel up and wither away sometime in my 90’s, or even my 80’s. That really doesn’t leave me much time . . .to do what, I’m not quite sure, but now I feel a psychic time crunch.
It is this ticking clock that brings on what others might see as crazy. When I look at my dreams, my bucket list, my BIG to do list; there are things I have had to let go of. Scratch rock concert promoter off my career list. Right now I am deep in a career of raising two teenagers and when I am done with that job, I can’t see myself wanting another one that involves extremely loud music, cleaning up after people and juggling multiple schedules.
Other things have moved up on the list. Tour Europe before I need a walker or a Hoveround. Skinny dip more often. Take gourmet cooking classes (and eat my homework). Brush up on my high school French, in Montreal or Paris. Hug and kiss my kids as much as possible before they slip away. Date my husband.
I see that my time is too limited and too precious for people who are petty or mean. I’m filling my life with people of all age groups who are fun, and kind, and live with a carpe-diem attitude more often than not.
I also understand why the divorce rate spikes in middle age. People change during 20 or more years of parenthood and that can become glaringly obvious when the noise of child rearing quiets and you can hear your clock ticking. You either decide to tackle your bucket lists together, as lovers and friends, or you don’t. I count myself lucky that my sweetie wants to drive me to the tattoo parlor and video my skydive. He wants to join me in my crazy and I’m looking forward to his.
I could deny growing older and pretend my birthdays away, but I really don’t want to. I like having a hall pass for breaking out of my box; a get out of jail free card for tattoos and bikinis, sports cars and romance. I like my middle age crazy.