When you hit middle age, society sends you a flood of new messages. You’re old, unattractive, belligerent, out-of-control, and invisible. Where are the books and blogs written by women for women who are knee-deep in this stage of life? Women hide the messy, uncomfortable parts of their experiences because they’ve been told they’re “too icky,” “too personal,” or “too embarrassing.”
It’s unacceptable. We need to talk about what we aren’t talking about. We need to change the conversation.
Your identity evolves over the course of your lifetime, but you have a pretty good grip on what makes you you by the time you enter your fifth decade. You’ve experienced enough hardship. You’ve identified your core personal values and what makes you happy. You’ve loved and been loved. You’ve experienced heartache, grief, gratitude, and joy.
So stop freaking out about being in your 40s. Accept the mother you already are. You’ve found your people, and you’ve learned to say no. Most importantly, you know who you are, warts and all. It’s a rich, full decade of life. Don’t spend one minute of it wishing you were twenty-one again. This is soooo much better.
Empty nesters like to say, “Enjoy it because they grow up too fast.” Before I had teens, I snickered at that sentiment. It was easy to say after the fact, am I right? Days felt long. Hours ticked by in sloth mode. Now that my children are older, I understand.
This is it. Soon they’ll have their own lives and their own children, and I’ll never reclaim their younger years. So I will enjoy every second of the teen years. My husband and I will read with them as much as possible, because it’s one of the many ways we love our children. When they look back on these years, I hope they remember the evenings we spent reading, laughing, and loving.