I feel like I am always talking/writing about aging lately, which makes sense because I think about aging so frequently these days, at least inasmuch as I’m able to focus on any one topic for any length of time on account of how foggy and distracted my brain always feels which seems potentially like an aging thing?

(Or a pandemic thing. Or a menopause thing. Or a clickbait-culture thing. SO MANY THINGS.)

One glance at this long-running blog and it’s clear that self-absorption has been my jam from the getgo, but I don’t think I am obsessively focused on aging, exactly. I think the middle-age years are a natural time to kind of … really look at your life, you know?

If you’re a parent your kids may be transforming into sulky adult-sized humans whose dependence on you is now reduced to requests for Hi-Chew to be added to the grocery order, and the empty-nest view is no longer blurry and unimaginable but right there in front of you. If you work outside the home you may be re-evaluating your career and goals and maybe even your definition of success. If you’re a female person with a body you’re probably noticing all sorts of increasingly dramatic changes, none of which are endorsed or even accepted by the cultural beauty standards we’ve all marinated in for pretty much our entire lives.

There are things I don’t enjoy about aging, like for instance the observable physical decline (example: I very briefly broke out into a run on the beach during our spring break getaway and my right glute was like RUNNING? OH HO HO I THINK NOT, and over a month later it’s still mildly bothersome, which seems like a lot of punishment for approximately 4 seconds of jogging), and of course the no-longer-abstract knowledge that children are little for such a short amount of time and that time is now gone forever, excuse me while I get all red-nosed and watery-eyed as always happens lately whenever I think about that fact which is distressingly often.

Anyway. Plenty to bitch about, but so many more things that are actually legitimately wonderful about getting older. I feel like I really know myself now, and I mean who I am as a person and what kinds of challenges and situations and friendships and environments I find most rewarding, but also, like, what style of clothes work best for me? (A-line dress is most flattering, empire waist is a forever no.)

Overall there’s this sense of shift towards what is most meaningful, at least that’s how I perceive it. For instance, my thinking on fitness has changed so much in recent years, veering away from vanity-based motivation to a longer-view approach: I stay active and I work on flexibility because I want to be able to do all the things I love doing (which excludes running, obvs) for as long as possible. I mean, I wouldn’t mind if I could fit into 2019’s pants again while I’m at it, but that’s not the main thing anymore.

That aforementioned brain fog isn’t so great, but I’ll tell you what, even that has its upsides: entire books, movies, and TV series have largely disappeared into the ether of my memory which means they can be enjoyed all over again as if they were new. Plus, if something’s bumming me out, eventually *squirrel!* my attention is drawn elsewhere.


7 Responses to “Shift”

  1. Jules on April 27th, 2021 4:35 pm

    Your continued honesty and authenticity is so refreshing.

  2. Anonymous on April 28th, 2021 8:34 am

    I am now 71. I feel like my mid-40s and 50s were a wonderful time for transitioning to my self as I know it to be now. It was a time of letting my children go, finding a new comfortable and different closeness to my husband, accepting my tamed-down and stress-free job as one I enjoyed. Yes, there were problems to come, both family-wise and health-wise, but now that I’ve reached a truly older phase of my life, I’m happy how I got here. I’m glad you are seeing this.

  3. Belle on April 28th, 2021 8:35 am

    Sorry, hit the enter key before I had given my name. Haha, another sign of aging!

  4. Shawna on April 28th, 2021 9:21 am

    I feel like aging is hiding around the corner waiting to smite me with a 2×4 when I walk past. I’m 48, and will be 49 this year, but I have far less grey than my husband and his friends who are around 3 years younger than me. Based on my mother, I expected to go largely grey in my 30s, but so far not so much. Likewise I read about perimenopause and hot flashes – not yet for me. I’ve been “temporarily laid off” from the gym for more than a year now, but I’ve kept up my weightlifting class 2x a week at home and I’m as strong as I’ve been in the last 20 years. I haven’t got much in the way of wrinkles yet either.

    My biggest distress is caused by the fact that when I lost some weight last year the skin under my chin did not retract up nice and tight like I’m used to, and now there is no angle at which I can look forward that does not show a slight wattle. Second to that is that I’m definitely entering “need glasses to see close up” territory, which really only bothers me when I’m at the grocery store and trying to check ingredients that are printed too small or with not enough background contrast. In theory I can solve that last one by carrying reading glasses, but it’s weird to think of myself as someone who needs to carry glasses, so I haven’t gotten into the habit yet.

    So yeah, in summary… aging: can’t believe my luck so far, but expect it to run out at any time.

  5. Shawna on April 28th, 2021 9:23 am

    Oh, one other thing: I weigh less now than I did when I got married, yet things that fit me at 5 lbs heavier when I was younger do not fit comfortably around my waist anymore, so I suspect my shape is changing to more resemble a middle-aged potato. Sigh.

  6. Mary Clare on April 30th, 2021 4:30 am

    Are you waxing philosophical about the meaning of life? I find that to be another symptom of middle age. Now that I can get my head around the idea that it doesn’t last forever I find myself in deep thought about star dust and my place in humanity. Cue the hot flash!

  7. Juli on May 2nd, 2021 4:02 pm

    Approaching 47 things start to fall apart and you wonder if it’s the natural way of things or if something’s really wrong. The doctor’s running bloodwork just in case.

    I suspect it’s all the normal stuff. Because lord knows I can not start jogging again. :)

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