According to my scientific research (also known as Googling "how old is middle age"), middle age is anywhere between 35 and 65 depending on who you consult. Most resources identify the middle aged years at around 40 to 60.
At 43, I am middle aged. Those two words used to scare the you-know-what out of me. But it's not such an ugly, frightening term. In fact, it simply and succinctly describes a stage of our lives. I am not young. I am not old. I am in the middle. And I like it here. It's certainly better than the alternative.
However, I can't ignore that middle age is a difficult time for many of us. How can it not be? We see our bodies aging and changing in unpleasant ways, health issues surface, some people care for their elderly parents, and we begin to realize with more clarity than ever before that we are all mortal.
While I recognize and understand that middle age has its challenges, it has its benefits too. Here are 25 positives that I experience:
1) I accept and quite like who I am.
2) For some of us, our kids are older which allows for more freedom. The days of spending hours driving all over town, nagging them to do homework and clean their rooms, attending endless sporting and club events, doling out time-outs and restrictions, packing lunches and making kid-friendly dinners are gone. Nowadays, I enjoy spending time with my older kids and treating them like adults; though I will always maintain my parental role.
3) I have experimented with many different hair cuts and hair colors to know what looks best.
4) I don't spend as much time concerning myself with what strangers and acquaintances think of me.
5) I strive to be a more polite and respectful person in my older age: responding to RSVP's in a timely manner, sending thank you notes for gifts received or when someone does something nice for me, and arriving to a party with a hostess gift.
6) I can sniff out liars and fakes.
7) I finally understand that time is not in endless supply and I choose more carefully how I use mine.
8) Although finances are always a bit of a worry in this economy, the Rothschilds we are not, the amount and degree of worry about money has diminished greatly. I feel at ease knowing that we are doing all that we can to make certain we will have a secure future.
9) I exercise to feel good and to benefit my health, not to fit into a size 6 dress.
10) My curiosity is at its peak. Wanting to learn and explore and explain and discover is a priority and a joy.
11) Many old friendships continue to improve with time, while new friendships are more exciting than they used to be and often more genuine.
12) I believe I look good for my age. Whether anyone tells me I am is beside the point. I believe it. That is all that matters.
13) I finally figured out that my thoughts, be them positive or negative, structure and determine each day.
14) Living more frequently in the moment is a useful and rewarding skill that brings contentment and joy.
15) I know when to keep my opinions to myself and when to express them.
16) Good posture is not just something my mother nagged me about. That and a smile are my most beautiful and valuable accessories.
17) I have become more objective about my looks and my figure which makes me better able to determine what makeup looks best on my face and what clothes most flatter my shape.
18) Relationships with a trusted hairdresser, a talented seamstress, a skilled cobbler and a friendly and experienced manicurist are as good as gold.
19) Table manners are meant to show respect to the people with whom I am eating. My manners are a direct reflection of the way I feel about myself and the way I feel about those who dine with me. Ditto for being on time.
20) Rude, obnoxious and insolent people are not worth my time. No matter how funny, popular or rich they are.
21) Exploring new ideas, skills, hobbies and other activities is exciting. I will never be too old to learn.
22) I see the value in a good night's sleep, a brisk walk, a hug from my husband, eating fresh whole foods, thinking positive thoughts and telling those I love what they mean to me.
23) I set realistic, but fabulous goals. And I attain them.
24) Diets only work for a short time. Instead I'm learning to eat less of what I love, move my body more and not waste time over thinking it.
25) I am no longer a people-pleaser. I find it much easier to say no to things I don't want to do.
I would enjoy reading any additions you can make to this list.
I'm certain I left a few good ones out.