2012 — a midlife review

I woke up this morning with troubling thoughts swirling around in my mind, and remembered that I started this blog with the intent to write about what was on my mind each morning.

I’ve strayed from that intent.

I think I may look back on this year as the epitome of “midlife.”

I started the year nursing my husband through bilateral knee surgery.

I continue to make every effort to support my mother as she cares for my father who suffers from Alzheimer’s. The needs always changing and shifting. A continuum of problem-solving.

I struggle with denial as I try to make every moment count with my father who slips further and further away.

I’m working to fill my life with meaningful purpose now that my days of child-rearing have come to a close.

I’m trying to nurture and even invigorate a relationship with the man I’ve loved for more than 30 years, well past the days of infatuation. For relationships do require attention to thrive and I want to do more than settle into comfortable routine.

Instead of handling our children’s problems, I discuss them over telephone calls, e-mails, and text messages: a suspended license that defies resolution, teeth implants that will be required, job dissatisfaction.

I look forward with sweet anticipation to the new grandbaby expected to arrive next month.

I make road trips to St. Louis, packing a suitcase, boarding out Arthur, driving, and then doing everything in reverse, to eke out every last second  of time that I can spend with our grandson.

All the while I  try to minimize the strain I put on my arthritic knees and visit the orthopedic doctor at regular intervals for injections.

On a daily basis I deal with ongoing physical issues that result from crashing hormone levels and simply aging, wondering if its time to get a stronger prescription for my bifocals yet again.

Thirty years ago today I first became a mother and was nearly swallowed up by the love and joy.

When I was younger life seemed clearer and perhaps less varied. I was bringing children into the world and caring for them. My concerns were primarily focused on little people whose ages spanned less than a 10-year gap. It seemed busy and complicated at the time.

Now I visit my 2-year-old grandson on a weekend, savoring the joy and laughter.

And I visit my nearly 80-years-old parents on a Monday, holding back and denying the sadness and tears, wondering what changes need to be made so that Mom can still manage taking care of Dad at home. Wondering if we can make those changes. Wondering if she’s going to hold up under the strain. Wondering how long this can last.

Here at midlife, I am smack in the middle of the huge spectrum of life, still trying to understand what it’s all about.

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Author: CMSmith

I enjoy reading, writing, gardening, photography, genealogy and travel. I have opinions about many things, but am trying to age gracefully and not continually tick people off with them. Sometimes I can’t help myself.

31 thoughts on “2012 — a midlife review”

  1. I read this post with interest and understanding. Now in my early 60s It downed on me that i now have the bulk of my life behind me. That it’s downhill from here. Somehow my values have changed as I age. Riding motorcycles, for example, is no longer an escape from a tedious job or marital relationship gone sour. My priorities are different than 10 years ago.

    Now, in retirement, I live alone, by choice. I’m happier than I would have ever dreamed. I remember a time when I was so very lonely that I made bad choices with relationships, giving into my love’s desires at the sacrifice of my own dreams. Marriage is about giving not taking.

    Now, my priorities are more basic. My number one priority is my health. I’m eating smarter, exercising more and stopping to smell the roses. The simplest things are now providing me the most joy. I’ve become an avid reading for the second time in my life, devouring over 50 books in the past two years. I know that’s not a lot by some standards but consider that I went through my midlife years without ever taking the time to enjoy a book. It’s so satisfying to envelop myself in the plot laid out by a good writer.

    So, as I hear of your struggles while being in the middle of 3-4 generations of family I stop to look at my life, my circle of surviving family and friends, and thank God for each and every one.

    1. I’m glad you’ve come to a place in your life where you’re finding contentment. I have always read and continue to read a lot of books. They bring me great joy.

  2. Nice, reflective post, Christine. So much in common with you, dear. I like Bob’s comment in the replies: Hopefully the latter years can provide the awareness to stop and enjoy the scent of roses, and to take the time to immerse ourselves in the plot of a good novel.

    It’s great that you are appreciative of your husband – and not just settling into routine. It’s a good idea to take the time to pay attention to those we love.

    1. Thanks, Cynthia. It’s nice that we have things in common, don’t you think?
      I’ve been smelling the roses around here for a while now at my slow-paced life (somedays).
      I’m a believer that relationships need nurturing. It’s not always easy to find the time and energy to do it.

  3. Wow, this post could have been written by me. As a matter of fact, I think you have inspired me to write a post about the same topic, with my baggage of course! Love every second hun….while you can. Thank you for a lovely post!

  4. I so enjoyed this post, reading your mid-life review. A new grandbaby on the way–what delight! And, yes, even our long time relationships need nurturing and commitment. We do have some similarities in our lives, from our knee patients to our aging parents. My dad does not have Alzheimer’s but has other problems which concern all of us. So glad to be with him once again next week for the wedding.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I enjoy knowing bloggers like yourself who are on a parallel journey with me. I need to spend a little time at your blog and figure out who’s getting married.

  5. What aspect of your life has turned out the way you dreamed about and hoped for when you were young, Christine? And what did you not suspect for one moment?
    Not being able to do what you want to do after your body has betrayed you, is one of the things I’m struggling with daily.
    Happy birthday, both you and your dear child *hugs*

    1. Having a loving and committed husband, and raising a family of four children who make me proud on a daily basis, and fill my life with love, has turned out better than I could have dreamed or hoped.

      If I knew how quickly my body would begin to fail me, I might have done some things earlier rather than save them for now. I never thought about a decline when I was younger, until it started to happen.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes.

      1. That must be a great source of joy for you, dear Christine. I’m happy for you and Mark 🙂

        We each live our lives the best we can, without knowledge of the future. Perhaps it is better that way. Take care, my friend.

  6. This post was like sitting at your kitchen table, savoring cups of coffee/tea. It was interesting to see what was swirling around in your head. 🙂 Your mind was very busy! I don’t think any of us could have imagined what this stage of life holds for us. Thankfully you have loving arms all around you.

    1. Wouldn’t that be nice to sit at my table with coffee or tea. That helps to know that I wasn’t the only one surprised by this turn in life’s journey. It’s a little bit scary what lies down the road.

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