These middle years of life are hard.
We are done having kids and are now focused on shaping and nurturing and growing these little humans.
The stress of nursing and changing diapers and baby proofing everything has made way to helping our kids acclimate at school, avoid bullies and eat their veggies.
We try to limit McDonalds trips. Screen time becomes a necessary evil. It’s a constant dance of power struggles, growth and nurturing, and trying to let them just be kids.
Our own parents and our friends’ parents health begins to wane.
The people who gave us life are passing, or aging faster than ever, and the fragility of life has never been so profound.
We lose a parent. Maybe both. Or we learn about a new health issue. Our worries transition from which parent we are visiting on which holiday to who will still be around in five years? Ten years? Who’s going to look after them and what that will entail.
We look in the mirror and our faces are changing. New lines forming that aren’t simply from smiling or a rough night sleep.
Gravity is taking hold and the grey hairs are multiplying faster than we can pluck them out or dye them away.
Everyone we know starts getting Botox and we realize this might just be our new normal. Or do we let age settle in and hope for the best? Money that used to go to Brazilian waxes and getting hammered on weekends are now spent on anti-aging elixirs and microdermabrasion.
Our marriages have settled into routine.
We are getting less wedding invites from friends and hearing more whisper of divorce or separation. “Custody battle” becomes the ugly words on the street that makes us all cringe. Relationships are unraveling before our eyes and instead of talking to friends about our favorite honeymoon ideas or which daycare has the longest wait list, we are discussing the the best marriage counselors and divorce lawyers.
The days are going faster than ever. How is it almost fall? Didn’t the new year just start?
And the reality of our retirement account we have ignored or put off for vacations and fun toys for us all these years becomes horrifyingly closer than imagined. We start the crunch the numbers and retiring at 65 sounds impossible. Completely unrealistic.
The question of what we want to be when we grow up has transitioned to what can we continue to do without losing our minds for a few more years.
Our desire to succeed has settled to what do we need to do to survive. The dream of one day being rich has given way to finding a happy medium. Reaching a level of comfortable that is sustainable. Hoping someday there will be travel, and rest, and grandbabies to ooh and ahh over.
All while we settle with our own mortality. Our own realization that our body doesn’t work quite the same as it used to.
It doesn’t recover quite as fast. It doesn’t do what we want it to all the time, and things we took for granted are now things we desire… normal blood tests, a good night’s sleep, a doctors visit that doesn’t require a follow up.
And we’ve worked so hard to get here, and we still have so far to go. But all we want now is health and happiness for our kids. All we desire is a good life for them, and we would do anything to see that happen. We want nothing more on earth.
These middle years are hard.