Thursday, August 3, 2017

Midlife On Life's Terms

Fork In The Road , . Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.  
- Max Ehrman The Desiderata

At some point in our lives, if we are lucky, we will make it to forty years old....and beyond. There are unmistakable mild aches and pains and our metabolism goes out for cigarettes and never comes back. You find yourself saying insufferable things like, "What a nice young man" regarding someone in his thirties. Worst of all, the day comes when you're standing in the supermarket and the 1990s grunge music that defined the prime of your youth plays over the loud speakers as muzak while you contemplate a selection of calcium chews. The positive moments comes with deciding to take adult ballet classes, enroll in graduate school, and hearing yourself say assertive things like "no" that your people-pleasing younger self would have been unable to utter.

Stereotypes abound over the specter of aging hipsters growing older gracelessly. However, midlife can also give us an opportunity to hit a reset button on our creativity, ambitions, and relationships. The new responsibilities we are entrusted with provide growth and foster deep connections with our family and friends. We are held in the center of no longer being young, but old enough to see how we need to fearlessly prepare for old age and accept our mortality. It becomes possible to mellow out, forgive ourselves and others, and prepare for the next chapter of life, equipped with abundant knowledge about the creative, emotional, and spiritual possibilities for living midlife abundantly .

Crossing to Avalon: A Woman's Midlife Pilgrimage by Jean Shinoda Bolen 

Crossroads At Midlife: Your Aging Parents, Your Emotions, and Your Self  by Frances Cohen Praver

It's Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond by Julia Cameron

Life Reimagined : The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning by Claire Dederer

Menopause Confidential: A Doctor Reveals the Secrets to Thriving Through Midlife by Tara Allmen, MD

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