No One Told Me

IMG_5462I am not, and have never been, what you would a call an optimistic person.  I tend to not only expect the worst, but to prepare for it as well.  So I’m still trying to figure out how I managed to be be so completely clueless about what exactly was waiting for me when I reached middle age.  Because honestly, I had no idea….

I thought that being middle aged meant I wouldn’t worry about my children any more, because they would be grown up and out of my house.  I also thought I would have much more money and time at my disposal, because, well, my children would be grown up and out of the house.  And while it’s true my grocery bills have gone down significantly since I stopped having to feed my son’s insatiable appetite, I’m still waiting for all that extra time and money to arrive, and my level of worry about my kids hasn’t gone down one little bit.

I knew that I would eventually hit menopause and that some women experienced “unpleasant” symptoms, but I was still shocked when I had my first hot flash. I didn’t realize that having a hot flash meant feeling as if someone had stuck me in a microwave and turned it on high, and that I would have those feelings at least ten times a day and three to four times every night, for years.  And that constant, bitter, complaining didn’t help at all (as my husband regularly and patiently reminded me).

I didn’t know that that one morning I would wake up, decide to make pancakes for breakfast, but be completely unable to read the directions on the box of Bisquick.  I mean, how could that be?  Literally, one day I could read small print, and the next day I could not.  That mystery is right up there with why the hair from my eyebrows (where I wanted it) suddenly decided to migrate to my upper lip (where I most certainly did not want it).

Logically, I knew that as I aged, my parents and other relatives would also be aging, but sometimes I am still surprised when my mother walks into the room and I realize that she has turned into a bonafide, cute, little-old-lady.  Because when I’m not with her, I tend to picture her as she was twenty-five years ago, which, of course, is pretty much the age I am now.  I try not to think about that too much.

I now realize that middle age has its own set of problems and its own gifts, just like every other stage of our lives.  And I don’t want to sound as if I don’t appreciate the positive aspects, because I do.  I know I have a stronger sense of self now, and I appreciate the good people in my life so much more, and I don’t waste nearly so much time “sweating the small stuff” or worrying what other people think of me.

Still, I wish that I hadn’t been caught quite so off guard by my middle years, and that I had more of a chance to prepare, if only mentally, for all the changes I was going to be facing.  And then I realize that I also don’t have any real idea of what is waiting for me when, in the not too distant future, I become an actual senior citizen.  Maybe it’s time I had a long talk with my mother…..IMG_4369

25 thoughts on “No One Told Me

  1. Loved this, Ann. I had to give up my hobby because my eyes just can’t see tiny things anymore, I was tired of how stressed it made me! Aging is not fun, but you are right about having a strong sense of self and not worrying about what other people think. That part, I like.

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  2. Well said cutie! I am right there with you, and was smiling through the whole post relating. Glasses, hot flashes, still worrying about the “kids,” where is the extra time and money?! 🙂 Cherishing these moments!

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  3. You would think that us Boomers would be more prepared. In my family, my parents didn’t share those sorts of things. I am trying to let my kids know about changes so they are not so shocked. And yes, I thought it would be easy with the kids out of the house…the phone has been ringing.

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  4. I have a photo taken in 1947 of my father. No matter how old I get, I will never look as mature as he does in the picture. Economic depression and war does things to people that can never be explained… Some things we could talk about with our parents, others we will never fully understand.

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    • You are right, some thing just have to be lived through to understand. And maybe that is why we can’t talk about them so easily? Each life experience is unique, and some are definitely harder than others.
      Thanks for the comment!

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  5. Funny post, Ann and very true. Of the things that have bothered me about getting older, needing reading glasses is the most annoying for me. I don’t think we’re really prepared for any point of our lives. Did we really know what have children would mean? How do you prepare for that? But this part of life really is interesting in so many ways. Some very fun stuff and some more difficult. Too often there are more endings than beginnings and that’s something we need to learn to live with and accept and keep pushing to do something about. Enjoy the talk with your Mom..:)

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    • I think we do have to figure out each phase as we get to it. But for some reason, I truly thought I was just going to sort of sail through my middle age years! I’m not sure where I got that bright idea. And I do agree that the absolute hardest part of middle age is that there are more endings than beginnings, and the sense of loss can sometimes be hard to handle. But I do love how I feel that, at this phase of my life, I am being much more true to myself that I ever was before, so I try to hang on to that positive thought.

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      • I agree, Ann. I am enjoying this part of my life. I won’t want to sacrifice knowledge and understanding for youth. Besides, as you get older, you can say and do anything and people let it go because of your age..:) such fun.

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  6. I have bucketloads of a lot of sympathy. Up to now, I’ve always looked pretty young for my age, but suddenly I feel like all the bits are falling off the clown car. I’m not so worried about the hair on my top lip, but I do have some concern about a possible future migration from the top of my head to my ears. I really would prefer not to have hairy ears, thank you very much. I’ve also never had much of a problem with my weight in the past, but nowadays my doughnut-plan diet has been catching up with me and I’m developing an unwanted podge around the middle. I feel like I went from being young to being middle-aged in about a week. It’s really not a very funny joke to play on anyone and I wish time would just cut it out.

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  7. This is beautiful! I love the moustache part…I laughed out loud. For me it’s when I look in a mirror, which I try to do as much as possible. Being with my Mom now, I know what you mean. When did we all change so much? It goes so fast honestly! A great reminder to be blessed with every day and ENJOY!!

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  8. Although I am in my mid-40s, I recently purchased my first pair of prescription reading glasses. How did print shrink so much, seemingly overnight?!?!?!? Rather than try to hide my new glasses or be discreet about changing between pairs, I bought a granny chain and proudly wear them about my neck. Yup, I decided to own it.

    Each decade has been better than the one before – each has its challenges, and if needing to switch glasses is the worst of it for now, I’ll take it!

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  9. Good for you wearing the glasses on a “granny chain!” Honestly, I think I’ll be doing that as well one of these days. It’s just so hard to always be looking for my reading glasses when I need them!
    Thanks for the comment!

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  10. Ok ,
    I agree on all of above
    hot flash , more hair on upper lip ,
    Check , check .
    How about double chin coming on strong and I can’t recall where I parked my car at the grocery store .
    And that Marvin Gays song Sexual Healing . Of have mercy .. No healing going on . Heehee .

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