What do you do when life gives you lemons? Personally I think a great G & T is in order at times like this, but others might prefer the proverbial lemonade. Then there are others again who, when given lemons, stomp on them before sitting down and having a good moan about their terrible fate.
Let’s face it – crap happens, and by midlife, chances are that you have experienced a truck load of the stuff. Job loss, kids run amuck, divorce, health scare, loss of a parent – the list is endless, and to top it off, you now get to contend with a body that is succumbing to gravity, facial hair and deepening etches in your once smooth face.
Which, I suppose explains why some folks have a hard time buying into my ethos of “Rocking Midlife.” What on earth is there to “rock” when your knees feel on fire with arthritis or your partner just ran off with his pubescent secretary? We see magazines lauding the new generation of supermodels such as Jane Fonda (79), Christy Brinkley (63) and Elle Macpherson (53) and realise with dismay that even at midlife we are STILL measuring ourselves against women who are blessed with incredible genetics HOWEVER the disparity between them and us mere mortals just got larger than in our twenties as these women also have the dollars to AFFORD the upkeep needed to age so well.
Life does indeed suck when your kids look at the latest stunning image of a vivacious Helen Mirren (72), looking phenomenal at as she graces the cover of a magazine, then check out their mother – twenty years Helen’s junior but looking in fact twenty years older, sprawled in her pink fluffy slippers on her worn lounge.
Really, you have got to laugh as let’s face it, shaking your fist at the heavens and raging against the injustice of growing older is not going to change anything in the least. Hence my determination to “ROCK my Midlife” and to encourage others to do likewise. We have no idea how many years, months or even days are left in front of us, but what you CAN be guaranteed however, is that there will certainly be some crappy moments in there, and as resilience is the key to survival – how you deal with these moments will determine if you “ROCK” or are totally “rocked by” your midlife.
No-one can promise you a smooth life of perfect health, wealth and the body of an eighteen year old as you journey through midlife, however you CAN determine how you handle the lemons that life throws at you. Instead of bemoaning the unfairness of getting arthritis – accept it, adapt your exercise around it and remember that you are privileged to have lived long enough to actually GET arthritis compared to folks in other nations. Oh – and I speak this as someone who was told that they had oesteo-arthritis and would never play netball or run again at only 44. Did I have a moment of self pity? Sure I did, but hand on heart, I got over that really quickly and determined that I would do other activities instead. I figured at the time that there was no point moaning about my new reality – instead, I decided that I would adapt and get on with life – and so I have.
Dealing with lemons is part of life and at times, some of those lemons will feel as heavy as a boulder causing us to struggle to breathe during some moments such as grief over losing a loved one. When the struggle becomes unbearable though, that’s when we need to reach out to others to help us deal with that lemon, in the knowledge with time, hope and eventually optimism, your resilience will kick back in and you will again be able to move forward.
In regards to all of the fun elements of midlife, the same deal applies as what I faced over my knees. You can stay rooted in the spot crying about the unfairness of ageing, or accept, adapt and move on, determining to live your life to the fullest. I see both kinds of people all the time. Both are ageing, both are dealing with plenty of lemons in life – but one stays rooted in their misery whereas the other determines to rise above things time and time again. The only difference in these two people is essentially their own choices. They choose to become bitter or they choose to be resilient and hopeful for the future.
I know which person I prefer to hang with.
Next time life lobs a lemon your way, don’t let it wipe you out emotionally or cause you to give up all hope of ever enjoying your life again. Pause, regroup, then toss that lemon away as far as possible.
Failing that, slice that thing up and mix that G & T!!