When I turned 40, I wrote a post called On Turning 40. I think that’s what messed me up. If I hadn‘t written that one, I wouldn’t feel the need to write this one, but I did, so now I do.
I have been thinking about this post for months, trying to come up with the salient points of turning 45, because it’s important to me. This blog is eventually for my daughters so I want to make sure I pass down good info. The thing is, 45 isn’t a super significant age. There aren’t any fun cards or gag gifts—all that glory goes to 40 and 50. The age of 45 is a different kind of special: It’s the age in the middle.
At least to me it is. To me, 45 was always “middle age.” Everyone has their own “middle age,” but to me, it’s 45. I can’t really see myself living past 90, so 45 is my middle—and unless there is a pain pill that takes care of EVERYTHING, I’m OK with 90 being the end. You will say you know a lady who is 100, and she looks amazing. She walks three miles a day, in stilettos, and I believe you—and that’s awesome, for her.
For me, I’m good with 90. And if I really do make it that far, I’m (right now) literally and metaphorically, in the very middle of my life—and my story. Seems like a pretty good time to take stock and pass down some stuff:
- The best laid plans do not matter. What will happen is going to happen.
If you were to ask me 20 years ago where I’d be today, I don’t know what my answer would be, but I can tell you I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be married to a camp director, living at an overnight camp full of kids, with two kids of my own. The fact that I’m a mom to two kids with hundreds more, on loan, every summer is crazy to me. And living at an overnight camp? I always thought I’d end up in a big city somewhere, maybe one with a nice park, but a camp? No. Oh, and one of my kids is from China? Whaaaaaaaat??
But that’s how it goes. You never know where life is going to take you. It’s all part of the story, and we all have one.
- Whoever said “It’s all about the balance” wasn’t just kidding:
If you have parents who are still alive, and a family of your own, you’re a part of the Sandwich Generation. We’re in between our parents and our family. We’re still bound by loyalty (and sometimes guilt) to our parents, but we’re also responsible for the happiness and welfare of our own families.
It’s a struggle to find balance with family and extended family. It’s also a struggle to find balance with work and our own families. And by “work” I mean stay-at-home-moms too. Of all my professions, the profession of “Mom” is the hardest, and the biggest time suck. When you are a mom, there is always something that needs to be done, answered, cleaned, fixed, scheduled or re-done.
No matter the profession though, something will always “need to be done.” It’s hard to walk away from work, even when spending time with family is (usually) so much more preferable. It’s just not always easy, especially if you’re ambitious.
Am I spending enough time with my kids?
Will they be lacking anything because I work?
Are they going to complain one day that I worked too much?
Who knows? But on the flip side they will see you as a positive role model and for some, myself included, I’m a better parent because I have other professions besides the “Mom” one. If that was my only job, my kids would be even more off the wall than they already are, because I would be too.
It’s the same with money. Balance is where it’s at. Our instinct is to want to spend ALL of our money (well, mine is) because buying things is the BEST, but we also know we need to save. It is for our future and our kids’ future, and it’s important. (Still sucks though.)
The eating thing? Yep, balance. As we age, our metabolism slows down and that sucks just as much as saving money. It means we either need to work out more, or eat less. Eating less is boring (BOOOO!), but as responsibilities pile up, it’s harder to find time to exercise. For me, my body is so beat up from years of crazy work-outs, I can’t do the same exercises I used to do. There‘s too much pain involved now. For those of us in this position, we live in a constant struggle of finding balance between eating and exercise—especially when dessert is served.
- You start to care less about things you couldn’t care less about:
“Not caring” as we get older is more of a time issue than anything else. It’s hard to care about all the things we used to have time for, because we don’t have as much time to give. Stupid things become stupider when there are so many bigger, more important things to deal with. I love to hear about the drama in my friends’ lives or my kids’ lives, but in my own, once it goes from entertaining to time consuming, I gots to go, yo.
- You learn how to accommodate and maintain in the truest sense of the words:
People are like cars. After a certain amount of wear and tear, s**t starts to break down and anything that isn’t broken needs to be maintained. That means doctor appointments—so many doctor appointments. Some are preventative, and some are for new (and inconvenient) issues. Crazy stuff starts to happen as we age and we have to accommodate it, because if we don’t, it will just mean bigger problems later.
But it’s so much work! Every day it’s something new! “Flo” pretty much comes whenever she wants, I can’t look at my forehead without thinking I could teach my kids Cursive between all the lines, and if my back and shoulder pain weren’t enough, there’s a new pain in my foot which the doc says is basically just something I will have to learn to live with. AWESOME! Actually, it’s kind of starting in my other foot too. Oh well, at least there’s one thing in my life that will be balanced!
- You’re going to be busy.
You’re going to be busy no matter what age you are. We’re all busy. Your schedule will get exponentially busier if you have kids and a job outside the home, but no matter what age you are, you will be busy. Your friends will also be busy, so when one of them texts, apologizing for not getting back to you right away because she’s SO busy, it’s understandable you’d want to respond by saying “Who isn’t?” because it’s true.
- You start to recognize your place in this life.
When we were younger, we had more time and fewer responsibilities. That usually changes over the years, but for many of us, at this age, it’s ON. New stuff, bad stuff, good stuff—it’s all happening. There will come a day though, when we aren‘t as busy. One day, many years from now, things will settle down and our responsibilities will change.
I will be ready when that day comes, and I plan to enjoy every minute because I know I will have earned it: I’m going to binge watch TV with all my friends (who are still alive), I’m going to take EVERY drug I never tried just to see what the hype is about, and I’m going to stuff my face with heavily frosted cakes and cheeseburgers until my husband takes them away or I go into a coma.
But that’s not for awhile, so until then, (as my dad used to say) I will “keep on keepin’ on.” I have lived too much of my life to start over, and I’m not even close to being done. I’m in the middle, right where I’m supposed to be.
Thank you for being here!
You are amazing and fabulous. I laughed out loud at the cursive on your forehead comment. You made so many relevant points. Love you tons!
I’m so happy you were the first comment. This was a hard one to write. They’re all hard but I feel like this is one of the ones my girls will skip to and I wanted it to be good. Thank you. You’re so important to me! XOXOXO
Thank you for your honesty – Its always nice to be reminded we aren’t alone in this aging and busy thing!
I’m so happy you’re here! I’m between honored and happy, a little bit of both. I know (for real) how busy you are, and I appreciate you being here. I’m happy we found each other. #StyleShackForever
Thank you for sharing your wise words and talent for writing. Always a pleasure to read, relate and laugh!
I love you, Diva. This is so us. Right now. For sure. And you’re KILLING it. I get to live vicariously through you. You’re my hero: Good mom, partner, hard worker and friend. I love you forever.
This was definitely one of your best and one of my favorites! Love you!
I’m so happy you said that, PLL. I think it’s one of my faves too. I love them all, but this one is special because it’s so much in one. I know it was longer than most so I appreciate you taking the time. I know you always do and I love you more than you know. I will never stop wishing we were next door neighbors. EVER!
Ah-men to the whole thing. Getting older can be a bit daunting but it is also liberating in so many fabulous ways! Love this!
My wise friend. I love when you comment because I think of you as wiser than me, so if you are OK with something, I know it’s OK. Thank you, M. I love our connection. Where’s the fiction piece for me to post on DS+D page?? You know I want in on some of that! XOX
Spot on!! One of my favorites (most likely because I’m right behind you with that number,friend).
OMG, you are not here! I have the biggest smile right now. When I think of you, it’s only good. I love that some of my favorite memories include you, but you also know my history. You know deep history, like no other. I don’t even know if you know how much you know! One thing you need to know is how important you are to me. It will all come out eventually, because my girls also need to know about you and your awesomeness. Though, they felt it pretty quickly when they asked you to sleep over! Kids know what’s what–especially mine! LOVE YOU FOREVER. #WheelsIn
I must be “upper middle aged”!!
I 💜 it and I 💜 you!!
What you are is Gorgeously-Middle-Aged-And-Amazing. Your life is what I’m shooting for, except for that whole teaching little kids thing. The rest of it, I want. I want to grow up to be you: happy, productive, wise, smart about money, in good shape, insightful, funny and beautiful inside and out. I’m so happy you’re here. I need you to tell me when I’m right, and when I’m wrong (just like you always have). So lucky to have you in our lives. JJ better be thankful one day!!! XOXO
LOVE LOVE LOVE this post !!! You are spot on. Growing older (and I’m WAY older than you) is not for sissies!!!!! You have such a great handle on what’s important in life and a beautiful talent for writing about it !!! All your impressions of the aging process are very insightful! I still think I’m a big kid- there is such a disconnect in my brain between my mental age & my actual age !!!!!! But the aches & pains tell me the truth!!!!! This is one of my favorite posts—but then I LOVE most of them!!! XOXO
I was just talking to some of our camp staff about the DS+D audience and how it spans from the millenials to the generation x-ers to the baby boomers! I feel so fortunate to have all different people from so many different age groups weighing in. I especially love when you let me know how I’m doing. The “Deenie Progress Reports” mean so much to me because you have been there. You’re where I want to be some day and I hope I still have the same disconnect in my brain regarding age that you have. I have a feeling I will. Thank you for all of your kind words, today and every day. You are very special to all of us. XOXOXOXOXO me
Progress Report: A+++. !!!!
This makes me VERY happy!!! Thank you!!
I’ve got a year on ya and have also learned:
It is ALL about perspective.Yours.
Now is what ya got. Enjoy now. All of it.
Take risks! Leap!
Learn to like your body, or at least stop giving a sh*t what other people think about it. And what they have.
Hair sparkles are sexy. Sprinkles rule.
Yes, middle age is when most of us give up the idea of who we think we are supposed to be and love who we are. And if we don’t, it’s time to make that happen!
XOXO Sprinkles do rule. They RULE hard.
Marilyn levine says
I hope you know this is the best time of your life. You’re young enough to still look great but old enough to know what’s important. Enjoy every stage and age each brings its own joys. Happy birthday many more
Hi Marilyn!! It’s so fun to see you here!! I love your comment! I do agree, it’s a really great time—although to be truthful, my 20’s were probably my favorite so far. I tell my kids that all the time and now they are also looking forward to their 20’s. F says she can’t wait to eat all the pizza she wants and all the candy without having to have fruit first (because I make her do that now.) HAAHAH!!! XOXOXO Thank you for being here!
Lisa McFerren says
Oh My Goodness!! True, True all of it true!! Amazing how with age, our perspective on things change! Sounds like you have a good handle on things! Your doing great! Being a Mimi to 5 grandbabies has been an amazing blessing, But, man am I tired!! Sure don’t have the energy I did when my kids were young!! Soo, I shall have that extra big piece of cake! Lol
I am feeling very fortunate right now to have you as part of the DS+D family. I don’t know how you found us but I can’t imagine a day without a notification from you. I think you are terrific and those 5 grandchildren of yours are so lucky to have a Mimi as cool as you are. And also, you love cake so I imagine you all have a pretty good time together. Wish I could stop by one day to share in the fun, and if that day comes, save me the end piece! OXOXOXO Thank you for being a part of this. It means everything!
Brian Lev says
A great post from someone who’s not only old enough to know better but is also old enough to get away with it anyway. Much of what you said is true for us males of the species as well, so thank you for sharing! Just don’t do what I did when I hit 50 — for almost 3 months after my birthday, I had this dark, sepulchural voice in the back of my head intoning, “Haaaalf a centureee… haaalf a centureee…” until the day I realized that getting there had been a lot of hard work and it was an EARNED milestone! (Of course, now I look back at that time that’s most of a decade in my past with longing… ) Hang in there, yer doin’ good!
I love that you know me so well. I am truly still trying to get away with so much, just as I have always done and will probably always do! I’m seeing the same thing in F more and more and though it scares me sometimes, I know she’s just testing her boundaries–like I do. I thought about the men in my life as I wrote the post because I wasn’t sure how they’d relate. Surprisingly, I heard from many of them and it seems “we’re all in this together.” I’m so happy to have you as part of the ride. You always make me smile with your wit and wisdom and I hope we never lose you. XOXOX