As the world around me searches for youth I am happy to settle into the expanses of middle age. Hush, I know that many of you are think, oh 37 that’s still young. Just hush your minds and listen to my joy.
In highschool when people asked me what I wanted to do I could never tell them anything other than that I wanted to retire to owning a bed and breakfast sheep farm. I grew up being told that college was the greatest time, that my life would be so joyous there and then. Then I got to college and what I do remember of those years was a lot of sorrow and depression and insanity. The whole time I was there I wanted to be on to the next stage of life. Young adulthood was not much different, less studying but little idea of what I was doing there and why I was doing it.
Always I had this vague feeling that at some point all the pieces would shift, like putting together a collage, and my life would finally be on a trajectory, an arc of living rather than change. Lately I feel like I am there. Not that my life is static or perfect, rather that I have found who I am and the direction that fits for me. This Mama, wife, wandering, writing, woman that I am.
I spent so many years looking for my place in the world. I was geographically unattached. My intense connections of my childhood did not fit the woman I was becoming, so I drifted from place to place. Each landing I would delve deep into understanding the “here” only to find the wind taking me somewhere else. Now that we’ve come back to this city I can see better how it nourishes me and solidifies me.
Except that all this time this place I was looking for wasn’t really a place but a vision of myself. Rather than find who I was and what that meant I looked at where I was. It’s the way I am, I need to be content with the where to begin to explore the who. How does this relate to middle-age? I no longer feel like I need to explore new ways of being. It seems that now is a time of rooting down and learning me deeply. To get better at all these things that are me, I’m no longer looking to change me just build and improve on who I am.
I see middle-age as when this should happen, this long expanse of time when the changes slow down. This is an exciting prospect to me.
There’s this other piece that’s satisfying. For the first time in my life I feel like the woman I see when I look in the mirror is who I see myself as. The haircut I choose, the clothes I wear fit with tiny shifts in my face, with my dreams and passions. I never got to be glamorous and now I am happy just to be fully and beautifully me. By being this person I like I can give myself more time grow and get better at being me.
As a Mama I am finally feeling that I truly am one. It’s only been in the past year that I have felt like a Mama, before then I was always a woman with a child. How could I be a Mama when I barely felt separate from my son. But as he has grown into himself I can finally understand “being Mama”. And with all the growing and changing he is doing I feel like it is my place in our journey to be solidifying. Like a plant this family needs to grow it’s roots at the same time as it sends up new shoots and branches. This balance comes into being organically, only through introspection do I see it.
I am learning to see these things all the time.
This prairie, this open landscape of middle-age, lets me slow down and finally learn myself.