I had a stark realization the other day. I was surfing the net to find some parks and recs programs and local places of interest when my eye was drawn to the Activities section. I was scanning the various options which included Hobbies and Interests, Nature and Outdoors, Special Events, and then I came upon it — the three little words that stopped me dead in my tracks: 50 Plus Programs.
Oh my word — for the past two decades I have never given that section a thought. That was for the gray-haired old ladies who want to play bridge. But now??? Now I am officially a member of 50 Plus age group. How did this happen? How did I get here? I still think of myself as late thirties, early forties — when did I enter the AARP demographic group?
Perhaps I have subconsciously known this shift in life is occurring. Perhaps this is why I have embarked on so many new interests lately: writing, art appreciation, and photography. Perhaps I have come to realize that the expression, “I will do that some year” now has a sense of urgency. There are only so many “some years” left and while I feel young and have good health, I should take advantage of every moment available to me. While some may choose to experience a mid-life crisis with an extra-marital affair or plastic surgery to recapture their youthful looks — I choose to celebrate this “crisis” by enriching my life and my mind with new artistic pursuits.
I am currently reading a small little book entitled, Creating a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran. I first learned about this book several months ago when Jenners gave it such high praises, but I have only just now made the time to leisurely read her common sense advice. Just yesterday I read the chapter entitled Live Your Life in Chapters and I found myself nodding in agreement with each passing paragraph. I think this is what I have done – without knowing what to call it. I think for me each chapter of life was not only based on a certain age, but also on certain expectations:
- education chapter: I not only learned to benefit myself, but I was also compelled to earn good grades to please my parents. This was something that I wanted to do, but nevertheless, it was an added responsibility.
- newly married chapter: I not only became a responsible adult who could support myself, but I also wanted to support and nurture my husband. Learning to live “with” someone is entirely different than just dating someone.
- young parent chapter: I had yearned to be a parent for as long as I could remember. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and give them my undivided attention. The personal sacrifices made were made out of choice – but I felt that choice necessitated I put my own life on hold.
- second career chapter: while I did not go seeking this late-in-life career option, I simply cannot imagine my life without teaching as a major component. However, the learning curve has been great and the personal free time has been solely devoted to that one area of life.