Every decade, every season comes with its own set of circumstances and struggles that are different from the one before. So far, I don’t mind being in my 40s. In fact, I think this is my favorite age yet, except for 17. I really liked being 17 for reasons I don’t need to explain. The thing about the age I am in right now is that in so many areas of my life, I feel like I’m starting over or just beginning.
When mapping the course of your life, there are certain markers we are told are important: getting an education, getting married, having children, establishing a career, buying a house, and getting your children out of your house and on their own path. I am at an age where I’ve checked off all the tasks on the list and wondering what comes next. What is going to be important to me now? Where should my focus be?
I’ve been demoted in my role as a mother. I’ve gone from a manager to an advisor that isn’t particularly well respected. I’m not in charge anymore. I don’t choose my kids activities or friends. I have limited control over how they spend their time or money. They do their own shopping and laundry. I miss putting them in outfits I bought on clearance at Gymboree but they have managed to create their own sense of style so they don’t need me to dress them anymore. Fortunately, they still ask me what I think of the appropriateness of an outfit before they leave the house. They know I like them to cover their butts if they choose leggings as pants.
For years, my focus has been on my home and family. While have always had side hustles like selling stuff on ebay, cleaning houses, babysitting, and teaching classes, I primarily stayed home and kept my kids with me. When the kids were young, I made an effort to have adult friends over for dinner at least once a month. Once they started going to school and our schedules became more hectic, the dinners stopped happening.
Many of my friends have disappeared. We get so wrapped up in raising our families and juggling multiple schedules that it is hard to make plans with anyone who has teenage children. Rather than having dinner with other adults on the weekends, I am usually playing board games with teenagers. I’m not complaining. It just makes it that much harder when my teenagers move out because they will take my social life with them.
Anyone else in the same boat? Maybe we could start a support group or something if only I could get anyone to come over at a set time. Grrr.