It came together today. A confluence of ideas derived from several sources that left me thinking. Perhaps it is normal for this time of life. Anita Diamant, in Pitching my Tent, makes mention of the increasing life span as a major driver for individuals and society requiring a new look at middle age. Leaving aside that fact that she is completely incorrect about the increased life span (detour here, follow along for a bit of science –
Technically, in 1900, the average life span was 47 in the US. However, 50% of deaths occurred in individuals under the age of 15. Infectious diseases took their toll along with accidents. If you survived through your 15th year, your life expectancy was in the 60s. The extra years of life loss were on the front end, not the back. Between ages 15-50 women primarily died of conditions relating to childbirth. Men died of accidents and wars. It explains why you read and here of so many elderly spinsters in those days. Eliminate the risks of childbirth and the chances were excellent you would survive well into your 70s, 80s, 90s. Today’s medical science and preventive medicine have eliminated almost all deaths from childhood diseases, most from infectious disease, and drastically reduced the risks associated with childbearing. This leaves us free now to die from chronic disease, cancers that increase with age and cardio-vascular disease resulting from our “improved” life style. )
requiring a new look at being in those middle years that is different if poverty is not at the door.
Sometime between 40 & 60, most of us asses our lives: what we have accomplished and what we had set out to do in our early twenties with idealism leading our hearts and stars in our eyes. There are those who have done something that it widely known or well recognized. We all have met one or more: the person who seems to have done something important or accomplished everything.
Or you can be like Joe – the main character in Margaret Truman’s Murder at the Washington Post – and be facing retirement wondering what you have accomplished. Trying to decide if that is enough. And you can make stupid choices, good choices, or extremely bad and damaging choices.
But most of us just have lived our lives doing the best we could on a day to day basis. Face it, there are not all that many Nobel Laureates around. Nor Deans of Universities or CEOs of Fortune 500 firms.
Perhaps we have the luxury now of making choices, changing careers, learning new things. Certainly we need to keep our minds active, trying new things and getting out of old ruts.
What has come to me over the last year is a willingness to look ahead. I am not the only one who is facing transitions (never mind the teens still in the house). I will have a life after I leave the military. Perhaps it is time to gather together some courage and figure out what I want to do next. Certainly I have enough wool and fiber to keep me busy for a few years. Balancing that with my tendency to like to start things but getting bored once it is underway and routine, something tells me I need to look for something that will be a challenge and not the same every day.
But I will need to take a leap.
who will get back to her regularly scheduled fiber programming as soon as she charges the battery in the camera. I found homes for only two of the lonely fiber batches. Perhaps I should put it all on one page, then send an email to Chris to get it a home?
Does this imply a birthday I’ve missed? If so, happy, happy belated. (And I must admit to doing a double-take and a loud snort on assess with one “es”) 🙂