I'm just wondering something....
When I was in the fifth grade I was required to attend a workshop with my mom called, My Changing Body. (I still cringe at the word 'maturation'...icky.) At that awkward little program I was given a little booklet that outlined the basics and gave me an idea about what to expect. Likewise, when I was first pregnant I was given a similar pamphlet at the doctors office. This required reading gave me a heads-up on what to expect. I was somewhat prepared for these events even though the reality of the experience was far different than what I imagined it would be.
So now I'm wondering why there isn't some short of concise brochure given out at the cusp of mid-life? I mean I know that there are oodles of books written on this subject, but I'm talking about a little booklet with flowers on it or something. I've read a lot of good books lately that I wish I could have read four years ago so that I would have a more knowledgeable approach to this time of life. This knowledge has come with digging and work. With some of that knowledge I have had to accept that my experiences are just timeless tales. The idea of me being 'special' goes right out the window the more I read. My challenges are not unique to me, they are the same challenges that people have faced through out history. Duh...but seriously a little required reading to outline it would have been nice.
Entering into this new phase of life hasn't been super smooth for me. The thing is that I thought I had armed myself and that this wouldn't be an awkward transition for several reasons. I felt good because my body is healthy and strong and all in all I like/accept the way I look. I did/do believe that I have a good self-esteem almost to a flaw, (my parents must have done a good job with making me feel special). I did think that I had a good sense of self-awareness, (now I'm thinking that might actually be a good amount of self-absorption, rather, or...not being able to see beyond my own nose). I used to think that because I was able to pursue my career instead of focusing all of my energy and self-esteem into being a mother, that I could support myself meant that I could do it all (not taking into account that beside many great woman there is a great man at her side supporting her). Looking back now to the arrogant, armed woman I thought myself to be, I realize that I had no idea how much I didn't know or understand. Now... I freely admit that about most things.
I honestly thought that I'd slide into this next phase of life with a little more grace, not with scrapes on my knees and the palms of my hands. Some friends have quietly moved from one phase to the next. I think one of two things about that. Either these people missed some mighty important lessons that life had to offer or...these people were smarter than I was. For me, there have been experiences that clearly weren't a good idea, and some that I wouldn't give up the lesson for the suffering through.
Dalia Lama's Timeless Lesson #7, "Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values." Life is about change and it is inevitable. Everything will and is changing and when I accept those changes I lead a happier life. I choose...I chose. I don't control change, but I do control how I deal with the changes. This might be the first topic if I were in charge of writing the pamphlet on midlife. Maybe I'll just paint about it and let someone else be in charge of that.
Above photo, Cassie and the Beanstalk, by Nina Cochran