An article today in The Telegraph (UK) titled “Fourtysomething: the new midlife crisis” caught my attention because lately I’ve been contemplating the idea of getting old. When you’re sandwiched in, aging is a bit of a peculiar feeling because not only do you have your children reminding you that you are getting old, your aging parents are driving that point home even more.
I’m not 40 yet (but creeping dangerously close), the age I used to think of that moment in time that was so inconceivably far away. It’s the point of no return when you enter the door of the annual trips to the mammography lab — and everything else goes downhill from there.
I’ve been blessed with good genes on both sides of the family so many people think I’m in my late 20s and are shocked to hear I have a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old. And I don’t feel a day over 25 physically, save for those few times when my body screams at me after a workout.
When I look at myself in the mirror, I see the youthful 20-some-year-old but with a few extras — a “few” extra pounds (thank you, children), an extra streak or two of gray hair (thank you, children), a few extra wrinkles (and thank you, children!).
Even when I get a reality check at my 20th high school reunion when I look at my aging, bolding classmates, I still don’t get the message.
But leave it to the teenagers to burst my bubble.
Their world that has two categories of people: their friends/classmates and “old people.”
They — the old people — me! — have problems. Like memory. Why else would they (me) ask if the high schoolers have homework, then ask again in 30 minutes?
And only the old people (me) could answer the questions, “Mom, how does a rotary dial phone work? or, “Who is Madonna?” (Hah! Isn’t that proof that you, teenagers, don’t know “everything“?)
As I contemplate the idea that I am, indeed, approaching the sweet spot called midlife, I’m scrutinizing my life through a lens. Have I done the best I could? Have I been the best daughter I could? The best mother? I may have ditched the guilt but that doesn’t mean I don’t have regrets or that I don’t feel the clock ticking.
The great thing about having a sandwich family is that spare moments when I can fit those thoughts in are far and few between. Nonetheless, I am left to ponder, what would my children do when they are my age? Would we be a sandwich family once again, only with them being the squeezed ones instead?