Somehow, probably not so recently, I have reached middle age.
Now that I’m here, I’m discovering why they call it ‘middle age’. These years in the middle, or midlife, seem to be the time when we aren’t focused on driving forward as we used to be, not so concerned with getting all our ‘people’ to the next benchmark.
Careers are perhaps calmer. Things may be a little quieter around the house with kiddos older. We don’t live so much in the car, on the road to practices and lessons.
Yet as kids and parents age, new problems arise that require attention. After being focused for so long on raising those kids, we must find new pockets of time for new issues. We are surrounded with new obstacles, problems that we must learn how to navigate.
Do you ever feel squeezed in the middle? In the middle of a job? In the middle of an assignment? In the middle of raising kids? In the middle of two generations, trying desperately to meet all their expectations but not knowing how?
My siblings and I called my mom ‘the hub’. She enjoyed being in the middle – disseminating information and instructions to us all. She coordinated family gatherings, checking travel plans and eating schedules. Usually, even as adults, we had to go through her to find out ‘all the things’ about each other. She knew all the details while we stayed wrapped up in our own lives. She cared for her parents exclusively in their later years, since she was their only child.
Middle age brings with it a ‘redefining’ of roles.
I’ve been noticing this in my own life. I must be more involved in the lives of the people who raised me, concerned about health and finances. At the same time, I must back off a bit more with the up and coming adults in my care. On the outset, this is ironic and bizarre.
As we age, our children become teens, grow up, and find their freedom. This happens at the same time that our parents become less mobile and tend to lose theirs. We must learn to sometimes remain silent as our children become independent and make their own way in the world, sometimes making mistakes along the way. And, in the next breath, we must find our voice to speak out when our parents choose dangerous behaviors like simply living alone.
Just when you thought you had this parenting thing down, the rules and characters change. We must learn to friend our kids and parent our parents.
Middle age has forced me to reframe my mission from what I once thought. I crave a simplicity of all the ‘things’ in my life so that I can effectively put my people in their right places and care for them as needed. I need to simplify my home and responsibilities here so that I can be available to support them.
I need to be ready.
This new road called middle age is filled with landmines and potholes that require constant attention and focus. They look different from the ones we are familiar with, so we miss a lot of them until we are barrelling into them. I need to educate myself on things like Medicare and long term care insurance while learning anew how to keep my mouth shut on my adult kids’ decisions.
Often, we can see these obstacles ahead, these potentially exploding situations lie in the direct path for both our kids and our parents, but we are helpless to change the coming destruction. Watching for the landmines, or even just potholes, in the lives of everyone else, is exhausting.
I’d love to send you my free printable called Twenty Ways to Simply your Life. Just shoot me your email address at the bottom of this post.
Jesus stepped into our humanity (with all its potholes) to walk with us.
I read this passage today:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-8
Did you get that? He has given us everything that we need to live a godly life.
In Him, we find divine wisdom to make decisions we know nothing about.
His divine power affords us the power to have self-control over our tongues with our adult children. His divine nature provides strength for another long day of caring for my elderly parent.
In Him, we find the divine power to love our frustrating family.
In Him, we find the divine power to take a step back and redefine our roles in our relationships.
I can choose to view my life in the middle of an out-of-control carnival ride, with me in the middle, dizzy and nauseous.
I have choices in my perception of my life’s daily twists and turns.
I can choose to feel trapped in the middle of a merry-go-round, angry at all the obstacles (that I can’t change) that seemingly hinder the progress of where I want my life to go. Some days it does feel like I’m trapped in the middle, unable to get off, while the busy world outside spins but goes nowhere.
This ‘trapped mentality’ requires a ‘naval gazing’ focus. Instead of an outlook, it’s really an ‘inlook’ where I am absorbed in only me. If I am only focused on how these obstacles are preventing me from ‘doing me’, I’m missing out on all the joy to be found.
I can view my life a wheel, with my family intertwined spokes, looking outward, all traveling forward, together.
I can envision my life AS the whole wheel, with all of it, all the people in it, intertwined and interconnected and ALL going in the same direction. Some days the wheel gathers speed, and some days we’re all traveling a road filled with bumps and potholes.
Slow progress is progress just the same.
The whole wheel is my life, not just the hub.
It’s impossible for me to get anywhere without all parts of the wheel functioning correctly, the hub, the spokes, the outer rim.
Simply, my mission is the other people in my family and life. They don’t hinder me from my life, they are my life. My life is all about my perception of it.
This wheel may take me in a slightly different than I expected, but it’s inevitably moving forward.
So, my friends, the end game is this:
Be open to change.
This middle of life requires change and a new definition of your roles and responsibilities. And yes, some days those new roles take restraint from you, and some days they take physical and mental stamina. But we are not alone, my sweet sisters.
I may need to learn new things, like Medicare rules and my parents’ financial situation. I may need to learn to be bolder in my speech when discussing their lives with them.
With my adult children, I may need to learn to tame my tongue about areas that I’ve never held my tongue about before. (Also not easy.)
He stands at the ready with His divine wisdom and power to intercede. All we have to do is ask.
When we are clueless about new decisions. Go to the Word.
When we need help to manage our overactive opinionated tongues, I go to Jesus.
When my mental and physical stamina is gone, I go to Him.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let Him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
Do you love this verse as much as I do? I think this verse became one of my life verses within a few minutes after giving birth. I’m clueless about so many things.
I’m so grateful that He is not.
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