when my alarm goes off, the first thing i always do is check email and yes, facebook. this morning, the wonderful mari linked to this piece on the fluff post (thank you for that term, extranjera) by some 45-year-old woman. as a woman of 46, i personally feel sorry for this emily that the best part of her day is when she climbs into bed after her day of complacency and being fearful about the health of everyone around her, in addition to worries about her in-need-of-a-tuck tummy. i found it to be a bleak and unimaginative look at middle age. and i can scarcely find a single sentence of it which resonates with me. i may be but one year older than her, but i by no means feel i'm looking at the downhill side of life.
these days, we have so much more mobility in our lives. we can move to other countries or even just across them, we can change our lifestyles, take on new projects and new adventures and even new jobs in our mid-forties. with retirement ages moving to 70, our working life is hardly half over. we can start over, study towards a new degree or learn a new language or completely change careers. we can take up a new hobby or learn a new craft or start obsessively collecting something new. we aren't tied to one place or one thing or one job and if we have chosen wisely, we can even make all these changes with the same husband in tow.
i'm loving watching my child grow into a beautiful and poised young woman and enjoying her being the age she is as well, even if it is 13. i don't feel sorrowful that she's no longer small and helpless, but tall and capable and sensible and smart and with well-traveled view of the world. it doesn't make me sense my own impending death on the horizon to see her growing up. and while i worry about the maniacs who drive too fast on our road while she's biking home, i am generally confident that she will grow into the amazing person she's meant to be.
i by no means feel it's too late for me to decide to run a marathon (i doubt i will, but i could if i wanted to) or take a trip to outer mongolia or write a great novel. i feel sorry for emily who thinks her brain has reached its capacity. mine definitely hasn't. my ability to learn and be open to the world and the people around me still feels pretty boundless. i am perhaps more selective about what i choose to spend time on, but that's something different and part of why i love being 46 - i'm wiser now and make better choices. and i have no trouble staying up for the daily show or writing into the wee hours of the morning. my life looks nothing like the sad picture emily paints and i'm happy for that.
i love being in my mid(ish)-forties. i've never been stronger, felt more secure or at ease in myself, or happier. i'm much more sure of who i love, what i love to do and much wiser about how i spend my time and who i spend it with. i've never been smarter or more in tune with myself than i am right now. i have a whole lot of things i'm good at - cooking, sewing, creating, entertaining, getting an overview, learning something new, reading people, thinking creatively, being innovative, being open, embracing change. i wouldn't want to be any other age. and even tho' in a month or so, i'll be 47, i by no means feel my life is going to be all downhill from here.
* * *
the grim truth of the scandinavian miracle.
and a response by scandinavians who took it a bit too seriously.
especially that guy from iceland.