I'm feeling very middle-aged lately. My left knee is hurting for some unknown (probably arthritic) reason, and when I go for my usual runs, the toes on both feet, but mostly my left foot, go inexplicably numb. If I don't run, then my feet and legs hurt every morning when I get out of bed, stiff, and crackly.
The battle with my metabolism goes on and on, and I fight my genetics, my love for food, and my occasional periods of total physical inertia. Contrary to popular belief, I don't *like* to run, and I enjoy lounging on the couch with a good book or television as much as I enjoy being active. I run, as I've said before, so I can eat. Biggest cheap exercise bang for the buck, so I feel slightly panicked when I can't run, or fall out of the habit for periods of time.
Horse riding IS exercise, but it doesn't work the same as running. And no, I don't just sit there.
My stamina and strength seem to rise and fall, dependent upon factors that were non-issues even ten years ago -- how much sleep have I gotten, how hard did I work yesterday, what did I eat, did I drink too much last night?
The kids are fabulous, but also demanding. My name is called constantly, there is bickering and attitude and fighting a good portion of the time. It's always so LOUD. Homework needs to be done, grades need to be monitored, and chores are ever-present and necessary, but the adults have to follow behind all the time to make sure things get done. Sometimes It's just easier to do it yourself. The house is a wreck. I want to decorate, to put up curtains and have nice furniture and accessories, but I can't seem to make that happen. Toys and kid stuff are still everywhere. I'm in a constant state of being thisclose to antiques and nice things without the fear of destruction.
Life is easier and more difficult: five schedules, five sets of activities, three school situations, several separate nervous systems all wired in individual manners with separate functionality, but also the ability for some independence and autonomy, for real family fun, and for mobility with fewer encumbrances (no stroller, diaper bag, and other assorted paraphernalia).
There's SO much raw creativity and creative energy pouring out of everyone in the house. It's like living in an artist's colony.
We hang together like a circus with multiple acts, taking turns, but also all going simultaneously. This is how we are, how we are wired, and on the grey days, it's all chaos and cacophony, but on the glorious days, oh!, we LIVE so powerfully and with so much joy!
I worry about getting lost, myself, in the thick forest of my own life. About there not being enough life left to do all the things I really want to try. I feel desperate, sometimes, that time is passing and I am not making the most of all the opportunities that are presented to me, every moment of every day -- to be with my kids, to create, to play and experience, to teach. Am I doing enough? Am I letting them do enough? It's not always possible to tell, while things are still unfolding before you.
And some days, it's hard to remember that I am no longer the targeted demographic for things that don't involve cleaning products or furniture or domestic engineering. I am learning to sink into my roles, to live them as I am and not as I am told to live them.
I care so much less what other people think of who I am, or what I look like, what I wear, eat, create, think, and do.
This is the gift of middle age: the ability to finally reach the top of the hill you've been climbing for decades. About the time you think there are no more destinations, no more goals to reach for or options to choose from, you move past the treeline, and you get a clearer view to the possibilities that you didn't even know were still out there. Now, you can see where you're traveling to, or pick a new destination, because they are all laid out like an endless carpet of prospects. Sometimes the fog rolls in, and the view is obscured, but that never lasts, and if you're patient, the scene becomes visible once more.
Sometimes it's really hard to remember that.