[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hy is it that middle age is so often portrayed as a time for regret: regret that youth and inexperience has passed and regret that old age and inability may all too soon be with us? Personally I was glad to be out of my twenties, and only really felt grown up once I reached my thirtieth birthday, but reaching 50 did feel like a kind of watershed at the time. Four years later I think of it more as a plateau after the hard struggle up the north face that was childrearing, having no cash, working at three jobs and getting used to being married. I’m now on the wide open plains of middle age and the view is spectacular!
But for a while there I needed reminding that middle age should be a time where we don’t waste the opportunity to grow and thrive by obsessing over what was, and what might yet be. It should be a time like no other when we can live in the moment. Let’s leave regret to other people and enjoy ourselves
It’s true that middle age brings its own challenges. The family dynamic may be changing, women (and maybe the men they live with) have to adapt to a different body, and our time and money are often needed for new commitments. But for me I have to say that I feel as though I’m on the brink of something exciting. My world is opening up and I have choices ahead that could change my life. I’m also fortunate that my best friend will be coming along for the ride.
I think I can safely say that when I get to the other side of the plateau, just before the inevitable descent down into old age and quite probably (for me) dementia, I won’t have spent my middle age mourning a lost youth. There’s too much fun to be had for that!
Am I unusual? Do you spend more of your middle age looking forwards or looking back?