Monday, April 21, 2008

Don't Waste Your Mid-Life Crisis

I think I'm having a midlife crisis. Well, maybe 'crisis' isn't the best word for it. Maybe midlife conundrum would be a better word? I'll go with conundrum, it's a fun word to use any way.

Over the last few months (and this may simply be attributed to cabin fever and wandering from room to room like a caged animal waiting for spring to arrive) I've read some things, heard some things, and thought about some things that have left me in a sort of quandry. At 43 I qualify for being in "mid-life", assuming I'll make it to the "life expectancy" age of over 80, for north American women. Then again, if I get hit by a bus tomorrow (not a lot of those coming down our country roads, but it could happen) or contract ebola next year, my mid-life was 20 years ago and I'm in a conundrum for nothing. I certainly don't want to waste a good conundrum, so I'll explain. Maybe you'll recognize some of these symptoms too?

• In sorting through my clothes to put away heavy winter sweaters, I noticed I have more t-shirts than I have any business owning. I didn't count them, but if I had to guess at the number I kept and the number I put in the Goodwill bag to drop off this week, I'd guess it was roughly 15 in the keep pile, and 20-25 in the Goodwill bag. I love t-shirts, and I suppose I'll always own them, but it occured to me that in general t-shirts are what young people wear and I'm not a young people. It certainly doesn't escape me that HELLO I'm in the business of t-shirt design, but more and more I notice that women my age just don't go around 7 days a week wearing t-shirts.

• I've noticed that in dealing with one on one relationships I'm a lot more honest about my limitations and expectations than I used to be - but I still have a hard time putting into practice some of those things I know to be beneficial. For example (any men readers will find this too girly so you can skip this example if you like), I know at 43 that at certain times of the month I'm going to be far more emotional and reactionary to things, than at other times of the month. I know this, and understand it, but at the same time often have a rough time keeping all that in check. I wouldn't even have admitted this at 20.

• While my brain wants to play baseball & badminton, go swimming and bike riding, my body keeps shouting at me "sit down fatty, those days are over". At 43, my body isn't supposed to be ordering me around like that, or having hip pains, or backaches or stuff that I thought I was going to be able to avoid until 60. I think I just assumed 60 was the magical age where it all falls apart and you start wearing more polyester and support hose. I'm not sure what I thought really, but I keep finding myself flustered that at 43, I'm beginning to understand what falling apart feels like. I'm fairly convinced I dislike it, a lot.

• On a far more serious note, I find myself truly desiring to be the older woman in Titus 2:3. I don't want to struggle through the things younger women struggle through. I want those things to be settled and desire the wisdom and sharp discernment that older women have. I want to not only be able to give sound advice to younger women, but I want to be available to do that, and to be used in that way. At 43, I've been a mom for 25 years and I feel like I should have a lot more wisdom than I do. Too often I feel like I'm still struggling through the same things younger moms struggle through, and then at other times I know I handle things in a much different way than I did 20 years ago. I'm not quite "there" yet on the older woman/Titus 2 scale, but I definitely want to be.

Truth be told, I have no idea how long I'll live, but my own mortality has been something that has given me pause for thought quite a bit in the last few months. James tells us that our lives here are but a vapor (James 4:14), and the older we all get I think the more we understand that. Its what we do with this life that matters, and the older we get I think we understand that a little better too. In talking with a friend recently the idea that everyone desires 15 minutes of fame was mentioned. I'll take 15 10 5 minutes of worthwhile, life-changing contributions made, over 15 minutes of fame, any day. I would much rather leave this planet some day knowing that what I did while here made a good and lasting difference in the lives of the people closest to me.

So, there's my mid-life conundrum. I'm not going to go out and buy a convertible or get an eye lift, or do any of those extreme things that trick you into thinking you're young again. I have however, determined to begin to spend much more time being physically active and mentally invested in the relationships that matter most to me. Not that I've neglected those relationships, but there's always more to invest, and ways to improve on such things.

It's not really so bad at all to have a mid-life crisis/conundrum/quandry, if you use it for good!

Great Christian t-shirts and gift ideas for the whole family