Middle Aged Effort

“There is a psychological and physical toll from the pressure to recreate ourselves in midlife.”  -Alissa Quart

Getting in shape at 25 is ridiculously easy.  At 35 I would eat cheeseburgers and fries and have a beer the night before a 5 km run or be able to do a 10km with only a few weeks of light training and still be able to walk.  Now the legs are slower, stretching out the distance takes more time, and the recovery from each run more painful.

Building a startup in your early twenties is easy because beer is cheap and couches are comfortable to sleep on.  Obligations are minimal and energy levels high, as is hope.  Restarting again in your late 40’s or 50’s is scary, there are numerous obligations, and the years have winnowed skills into a narrower band and our focus reduces the critical creativity and flexibility even if the knowledge and useful relationships are more powerful.  The tolerance for the uncertainty and pain in midlife are much lower than for a new grad that doesn’t know any better.

Starting to date after twenty years of marriage is overwhelming.  Being able to build new relationships and trust again after decades of not doing so combines the awkwardness of a teen with the doubts and regrets of middle age.

Building new friendships based on something other than the kids requires immense effort.

This is the most difficult season of life, the time of concern and crisis.  Yet it is only the halfway point in the journey, so the extra expenditures, the embracing of the uncertainty even when exhausting, is needed to keep moving forward.