Friday, September 11, 2015

Middle-aged

I'm turning 35 next week. I realize not everyone is fortunate enough to celebrate this many birthdays, and I'm grateful. Just by virtue of being born in the United States, I will likely enjoy a longer and healthier life than women in most of the world. In fact, according to information I found on World Bank most of the world's female life expectancy doesn't much exceed age 70. Which makes me... middle-aged. At my peak. It's all downhill after this.

As I age, I grow more concerned with making a difference with the time I have left. I want to be remembered as a woman of grace by my friends. I want to leave my children as intact, effective, compassionate adults who get along with each other. Things I focused on in my youth aren't on my radar anymore; I care far less about what people think of me. Maybe that's what Paul was feeling when he wrote to the Corinthians: "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me."

(Image taken from http://www.memes.com/img/510571)
Look, I have as hard a time as anyone "adulting" some days. But I'm learning to shed some of the guilt and shame over not being the thinnest or the prettiest or the most put together or the best housekeeper or cook in favor of building better relationships with my husband, my kids, my family, and my friends.

Perhaps the most important thing I'm learning is this, which comes just a bit later in the same chapter of Paul's letter to the Corinthians: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." If we get this wrong, nothing we do will have lasting effect. There is no lasting legacy without love. But if we get it right, people will smile merely at the mention of our name. 


Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So that's what I'm working on--letting people know that they are loved and cared for above all else. 

I get this wrong so often, mostly with my kids and my husband. Sometimes I want them to know how inconvenienced I've been because of them, or how tired I am because of their constant needs.  I need to work on that. That's not how I feel in my heart about them, but it's often what is reflected at them. So, as I approach the middle years of my life, I'm coveting love and relationships and legacy, not cars and boys and makeup. Maybe I have this adulting thing figured out after all. 

What are you focusing on more as you age?






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