by Alicya Perrault.
I remember the first time I was called middle-aged.
It came as quite a shock because I never, ever thought of myself that way. It hadn’t occurred to me that at the young age of 52, I was now considered middle aged.
Of course, in reality, I had been ‘middle-aged’ for quite some time, but no one had told me until my oldest son casually mentioned it in conversation one sunny morning. My first reaction was to deny it completely.
“I am not!” I said while trying to hide the fact that I felt a little hurt.
“Mom, think about it” he replied, grinning from ear to ear as he left the room and leaving me deep in thought—which admittingly can be quite an overwhelming place to be at times.
Oh, dear god, he was right. I was middle-aged. Was I the only one that didn’t know this?
Middle-aged. Ugh! It sounded old. Practically ancient.
However, once the initial shock wore off, I realized my perception of middle age was quite possibly distorted. I had never given it much thought before, but I knew that my first job was to relabel it.
‘Midlife’ sounded so much better than middle-aged—so from that moment on—I was in midlife. This new label was a good start.
Midlife. Midlife woman. Modern midlife woman. There we go. Much better!
Of course, with most things in my life, I needed to research the definition to be absolutely sure that I had in fact, reached this thing they call—midlife.
According to various dictionaries, midlife is the period of age between young adulthood and before the onset of old age. Typically, between the ages of 45 and 65.
Well, there it was in black and white on the screen in front of me. There was no denying it now; I was smack dab in the middle of midlife!
It was time to accept that I was indeed in the middle of my life and had been for several years yet I felt no different. I certainly didn’t consider myself ‘old.’ Oh sure, there were the usual signs that crept up on you without you noticing.
I dye my roots a little more frequently than I used to and leave reading glasses in the weirdest locations. I select moisturizer based on its anti-ageing properties instead of how good it smelt. I forget anything that’s not written down on Post-it notes, and I’m forever touching the underside of my chin for that solitary hair that I can never find but know damn well it’s there.
Over the years I have learned that what you dwell on is amplified and magnified. I never once dwelled on the fact I was getting older, so perhaps this was the reason it sneaked up on me without me noticing.
The fact is, midlife is determined by your age. It is not determined or defined by your attitude. You decide how it feels. You decide how it looks. Moreover, you and only you decide how you will live it!
A lot has changed since the day my son called me middle aged. I’m no longer in denial and have learned to embrace it because the beauty of being this age is that I define what midlife means to me. For me.
Midlife is what you make it. You get to choose how you’re going to show up in the world because you’ve earned that right. We’ve earned that right.
We can moan about the wrinkles around our eyes and the little brown spots that pop up here and there seemingly overnight. We can complain about all the things we hate about getting older, or we can start living life on our terms.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I say, so is your age.
You may have worked hard to raise your family, build your career, and made sacrifices you never thought you’d make. You may have gone through unimaginable hardships, but you survived. Now it’s time for you to thrive.
Now it’s time to look life in the eye and say “I’m coming for you.” That may be a bit dramatic, but the point I’m trying to make is that you need to stop letting life pass you by.
We need to embrace this time in our lives and do all the things that make us smile. Because we’ve earned that right, haven’t we?
“I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” ~ Diane Ackerman