As I age, I find that life’s landscape becomes significantly more layered; at times rocky yet also soulful and labyrinthine. Two phrases I keep hearing: “Well, it’s complicated.” And “I never imagined I’d find myself here!”
But here we indeed are. Right here, in whatever magic or mire life offers us that particular day. The joys, the disappointments, the challenges, the mystery. We all need someplace soft to fall. The man who finds himself suddenly without a career where he had excelled for 30 years, only to then stumble across a previously untapped talent with autistic children. Another who at 40 is diagnosed with Parkinsons. The woman who after 25 years of emotional abuse, finally leaves her marriage, finding strength in herself – and a capacity for joy – she had not previously known. Another who had always believed she would eventually end up raising a family on a small parcel of land, finds herself childless, in a stale marriage, living in a small apartment, working in an office, waiting for retirement. In addition to any of these, in middle age many of us have our elderly or dying parents to care for, while our own bodies creak and moan.
Here we are indeed.
Kindness and compassion are two attributes that soften the edgy terrain of middle-age. Let’s throw a sense of humor into the mix as well. Resilience seems to come on its own accord. The rest we have to coax.
I do not claim to have all of the answers; I don’t even have a handful of them. There are many paths to the mountaintop. This is but a simple, momentary musing on the topic.
I believe firmly in the need to have people around into whom I can lean when troubled or fatigued: physically, but most importantly, emotionally. That look, that touch, that knowing; that embrace that consumes and comforts. For a few precious moments, the world indeed recedes, edges soften, smiles return. Someone to lean into when I’m wrestling to make sense of my inner and outer worlds.
It brings my world’s axis back on point.
May you have someone nearby into whom you can lean.