My husband’s employer recently held its annual holiday celebration. Perfect timing actually—a little pick-me-up after the January doldrums. It was an amazing evening with much good company, great food , lots of laughter and great music provided by a Madison-based band called Midlife Crisis.
My husband talked about how the music was that of “our generation”…his actually. I’m two years younger, which makes me not a baby boomer (but not quite a Gen-Xer either—some would call me a “tweener”). I came up in the MTV generation: Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart Unplugged; I didn’t hear any Rod Stewart this weekend. We did get a little Clapton though.
The name of the band gave me pause. Midlife? Really? Are we there yet?
Most of the time I still feel like I’m thirty-something, with the world and my life ahead of me, and I think that is a good thing. Although sometimes I get quite a shock when I look in the mirror and the image that is reflected on the outside doesn’t look like how I feel on the inside!
I’m old enough and experienced enough to really appreciate a good lobster dinner. I’m old enough and experienced enough to know how to dress nicely but still get out on the dance floor and laugh and have fun. I’m old enough and experienced enough to know that I can’t stay up all night, but I still appreciate staying out “well past bedtime” with friends.
I’m also old enough and experienced enough to know that midlife is no crisis. Midlife is something that should be celebrated. Let’s face it. We’ve survived adolescence and made it through young adulthood—and for most of us, our frontal cortexes have developed—we understand now that actions have consequences. In many cases, those of us who have become parents have come to a far better understanding of our own parents, and often that understanding has opened an entirely new level of relationship.
We have loved. We have experienced loss, and we have learned that both life and love go on after loss, though it can be incredibly difficult. We know that a life lived fully is full—of laughter, hope, tears, regrets, sorrow, anger and joy, and that that life is made more beautiful by the wealth of our experiences and emotions. From these experiences and emotions we are better able to understand and reach out to others in kindness, mercy and empathy, and help make the world a better place.
No, midlife is not a crisis. It’s an exciting time. And, I must ask again with all the enthusiasm of a three-year-old: Are we there yet?
©2015 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.