Looking at myself in the mirror one morning, it finally dawned on me that I am not seeing the same person who used to greet me with great anticipation.
I am still trying to search from the core of my brain – as far as my memory allows me – the picture of the vibrant smiles of a younger woman. The sun-bronzed skin that is so typical in Asian tropical countries and the luscious wave of raven black hair . The healthy and strong body of a twentyplus-something woman who was always ready for life’s challenges and adventures.
Each morning gives me little reminders that time is catching up on me. Fast. There is no denying about that.
All the signs are visible – streak of grey hairs, few faint lines on the forehead, drooping jowls, crow’s feet and laugh lines. Honestly, at first , I feel a sense of loss that I have never felt before – the loss of my youth and self-esteem. My candidness and spontaneity . My happy-go-lucky attitude and spunkiness. My adventurous spirit. Now, these are replaced with anxieties, mood swings and chronic migraine attacks. Or occassional joint pains, hair loss, overly dry skin and failing eyesight. Not particularly in that order. And so, as I faced this mid-life woman in the mirror, I asks, ” Who are you?”
Truth is, through medications and exercises physical changes are manageable , but sometimes emotional and psychological hang ups are terrible. This is strange phase in my life where I validate all my personal achievements , experiences and relationships. Am I a good mother? wife? friend? worker? writer? Am I even be a good person ? This is how I tend to evaluate the life that I have lived in the past years. And sometimes, the answers were not what I expected. I still have this terrible feeling that I failed myself and the people I love miserably. People around me sometimes don’t just get it why I just feel like hiding in the cave and sooth myself alone like an aging mama bear. The changes in feelings , physical and life events were so overwhelming . I didn’t even know that a midlife transition is happening until a friend asked me one day that was meant as a joke , ” Are you having a midlife crisis or what? Get yourself together , girl. What she said really hit me. Was it really that obvious that it’s affecting all my personal relationships with other people?
So, this is what people call , midlife.
That being said, I started to look at life differently now – from the midlifer’s point of view. This transition is happening not to break me but to make me better- that every decision that turned out to be wrong, every mistakes that pushed me to the edge, every plans that I didn’t achieve, all the people that I met and crossed in the past, the relationships that I have – these were the stuff that made me the person that I am today. The good , smooth and happy times were just bonus. In life, there is no such thing as perfect plan. Like in baseball , life will throw you a lot of curveballs. It’s up to you if you can catch it or not. Mid-life is the point where we stop for a while and look in retrospect the past so we can have a clear view of the future.
To be able to reach that magnificent half-way journey through life is an achievement. Nice! Congratulations! Yet, there is a little annoying voice at the back of your mind that always says, ” you are not getting any younger”,” You are losing it , girl .” ” You haven’t achieved that much. ” But I have to fight that little voice.
And if you really think about it – it’s not really that bad.
The scenes from the past made a flashback – like a furious wave of sea water that made a big splash on my face. Then came realization . Aside from these physical and emotional changes, I don’t really feel that old yet. I can still remember the times when I used to bring my kids to their kinder classes and favorite McDonald’s restaurant to get those cute happy meals. It feels like yesterday Now they have all grown up and living the lives that they have chosen.
A funny thought suddenly flashed across my mind – that marriage, children, career made the years pass by so fast without even noticing it. Where did the years go? This transition is not as scary as we thought it to be. I may be halfway there but my mind , body and spirit are not giving up the fight yet.
There is no reason for me to be afraid of the future as long as I plan and prepare for it. Whatever I decide to do from this day on will make a big impact on my future. So , why fret and mope about it. I should even starts looking forward to my years in rocking chair with my rowdy grandkids flocking around me while drinking coffee, overlooking the horizon and reading my ” Jane Austen’s” ,
I have come to accept the way nature wants me to be. It is my Zen-like way of accepting life’s changes . Saying goodbye to youth is easy. Just let it be. We don’t fight life. We don’t blame God or other people. We don’t hate ourselves. And we don’t even care about what people may say. I just strive to be happy in whatever I do. Everything about life is a personal choice.
Anyway, I am living my own midlife, not theirs.
(photo credit: http://www.allyou.com)