Someone told me that once I became a parent that I would forever be judged, not based on who I was, but by what kind of parent I was. That was quite an awakening for me, but the second they said it I knew that it was true. But, honestly, no amount of judgement by others could be as critical or cruel as what I put myself through when I evaluate who I am these days. 

Middle age is bad. You are not so old that you have given up on bettering yourself, but you are too tired maybe to do a good job of it. That is because by the time most people reach this point in their life they have been through the rigors of marriage and children and careers-- and all of that takes its toll. BUT none of that is really who you are. At least that is the conclusion that I have come to,  and I have talked to a lot of middle-agers who have come to this conclusion too. 

You take a look at what you have accomplished and it is like a giant spreadsheet of assets and liabilities and successes and failures, and proud moments and humiliations. And sometimes you wish you could just shred the whole thing and start over, but you can't. 

  Why look at all I've done?! Doesn't anybody care?!  

Apparently not. And THAT is middle age. It's why people get divorced I think. There is a reckoning, a reviewing of one's life. It's not a bad thing, in fact I would argue it is a very, very good thing to do, but don't expect everyone to understand. Remember that judging thing from the first sentence? Most people don't look too kindly on someone  who is seen as giving up on, or cashing in on what they have spent their life building. That's why when you pursue making changes, or gasp! starting over, you are met with judgement. 

The thing I have found is that it is my spreadsheet, my accountng of my life--that is all that matters, not other people's interpretations. It takes a very strong person to shun the criticsim of others and not let it affect them on some level.  But at the end of the day, it's your life, you only have one, and if you are middle-aged you've already lived a decent chunk of it, so if you are looking to turn things around there really is no time to waste. 

It takes a lot of courage and self-love to make changes late in life. If you love yourself and open your heart to the possibilities and not let others decide for you, who you are or who you should be, then the doors are there for the opening.   Maybe who you were, combines with who you presently are, to create who you can be tomorrow. And maybe that's why middle age is when all this happens; you have perspective for the first time. You know where you've been, and although you may not know exactly how to get there, you also have a pretty good idea, deep down, of where you want to go and even, if you are lucky, who you want to be.

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6 Responses Mar 24, 2009

I'm 38 years old but think that it's not so much the years as it is the mileage. But I do love, love, love your positivity and the sharing of your realistic yet positive view point. Kudos, 'deleted'.

G ood Afternoon! I am happy to be here and I am excited about entering midlife. There I said it and guess what? I mean it.<br />
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The more I speak to my friends a common topic arises about about letting go of old habits, what does 40 look like and how am I suppose to act. We have had discussions on how to dress now that we are midlifers'. Questions such as, Is this skirt to short? Are my pants too tight, Am I wearing too much makeup? When do I let go of the girl? <br />
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These discussions led me to creating my new ebook entitled "Letting Go of the Girl" My e-organization, is in the process of creating a series of ebooks that cover several areas of development. Letting Go of the Girl is the second of 12 such ebooks and will be released on December 1, 2009.<br />
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This is one of the sites that I will visit often to get feedback. An except including an outline will be available in October for your review. Please visit and sign up to receive updates and information regarding this topic.<br />
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Bye for now and be well,<br />
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you have put in words (very nice ones at that) what I've been feeling lately.-<br />
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judgements from unknowns isn't a problem for me- but judgements from people that I care does bother me- I know it shouldnt but it does.-<br />
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I'm a creature of habit, change, the unknown, it bothers me.- I'm recently learning to take chances.-<br />
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anyway thanks for sharing

You go girl. :=)

You look at your life and you forgive yourself for your failures. The good things about you should vastly outweigh the bad anyway. I like myself when I look in the mirror. That is all that matters.

Middle age!? Hell, 45 is the new 35. <br />
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Not to belittle what you are saying or feeling, for I too have known moments like this and they are their own hell, yet over time I hope you find a way to move beyond the judging and forgive yourself. It is a crazy journey we are on, and to err is human. You know this right?<br />
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One friend keeps reminding me of the simple motto:<br />
"Strive for progress, not perfection."<br />
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Best wishes for peace and progress!