“Middle age is when your age starts
to show around your middle.”
When I was younger, I pushed myself once I made my mind up. I challenged myself to go harder, faster, better. But as I’ve matured, wisdom has taught me about rhythms and pace. I’ve learned self-care and how I injure more easily now.
I’ve lived through bright neon colored clothes, chunky headbands, Olivia Newton John, and Jane Fonda. I’ve survived French-cut body suits with cuts arching up to the underside of a rib cage, spandex, Susan Powter, and Cindy Crawford workouts. This was the early 90’s and late 80’s, during which time, exercise had its own signature. I pray some of it stays there too, never to be repeated.
I remember step aerobics being the newest thing at a local Gold’s Gym when I first attended a class in 1992. In my 20’s, my body recovered quicker. Getting in shape was easier back then, taking care of myself, more of an afterthought.
Lately however, I’ve been reduced. My body breaks down without permission. I don’t have the luxury to go fast and push hard, anymore. I must be attentive and closely listen to the subtle and not so subtle cues. The twisted and sprained ankle. The swollen and stiff knee. Weight gain and hormonal imbalances from a full hysterectomy. Hot flashes. Thinning hair. Achilles tendonitis or elbow tendonitis. Wrist pain. Less flexible muscles more apt to strain, than give. And the list goes on.
You may not consider 46 years as mid-life, but let’s look at the numbers—I’m half way to 92. It’s safe to I’m a mid-lifer, even if I’m only an infant here.
“One of the many things nobody ever tells you about middle age
is that it’s such a nice change from being young.”
I’m the wet behind the ears, newborn woman looking at the world with my dewy eyes into the other half of my life. I may be a babe but my full blown menopause state accelerated my body forward in ways I had not expected.
In my constant vigil of maturing health, I now know my body better than before. And in familiarity, I’ve come to love it better too. More care may go into a my current physical activities, but self-awareness helps me appreciate the body God’s given me.
“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”
~~Henry David Thoreau
There’s a certain magic to the midlife, even when one is fresh into it. Our 20-something years of establishing ourselves in the world, was work. Those years were the beginning of knowing how God made us, of knowing our own minds and the way God has gifted us.
But now, we are in the middle of it or at the beginning of the middle.
We’re in the middle of knowing
who we are and Whose we are.
Midlife is transition.
It’s where we give ourselves permission to dream and learn to cherish this tent of flesh. We are kinder and more grace-filled because we have grown comfortable in our skin, within and without.
Our bodies break down. But our experience has increased. And the once iron-clad-will has become more pliable because we have a greater knowledge of weakness.
Mid-life is a chance for a second wind. There’s opportunity to begin again. Mid-life is a new start for the other half, one that’s different than our past. The possibilities are optimistically grounded in knowing our minds and the security of peace that comes with it. Physical health may be challenged, but our mental health, and our acceptance of who we are grows exponentially.
This is a season of breakthroughs even if we limp through them.
Latest posts by Tammy Hendricksmeyer (see all)
- An Open Letter from One Estranged Mother to Her Daughter (Or Any Daughter Who Wonders if She’s Loved) - January 31, 2017
- How Older Generations Have a Purpose and a Calling - September 27, 2016
- Life After Leg Warmers, Leotards, & Jane Fonda - September 1, 2015
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Tammy, I love this post! It is full of wisdom and truth!
Thank you, Mary!
Tammy I love this post! Yes I remember Jane Fonda and wearing french cut bodysuits (blush). I too understand crossing the line of mid-life and seeing older age coming up quickly. Yet all said and done, I prefer this age to any other so far.
Diane, I still remember our impromptu step “class” at Legacy Lodge! 🙂
Lovely and humorous at the same time. I remember the days of leg warmers and Jane Fonda, and can’t say I miss them. I’m a firm believer the best is yet to come. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Michelle, yep. Better and better, I say.
I love that you pointed out that we are kinder and more grace filled, Tammy. I pray for God to give me eyes of grace to see things in full color.
Lyli, “full color”, why yes, that is a great way to put it!
Love the quotes you shared Tammy and wise advice to pace yourself now and embrace this season. Those leotards and that hair of the 80s/90s…lol
Kelly, LOL with ya. Shew. Glad those are BEHIND us.
Sweet mercy, may every French cut article of clothing starve and die under a Pet Rock.
Great post, Tammy 🙂
Ha! Love that!
Susan, whatever you do, do not, I repeat do NOT search youtube for aerobic videos from the 80’s. 🙂
Tammy, I love your post and really resonate, though I’m starting a mid-mid-life era all my own! 🙂 Gotta tell you, though, I have not thrown out my Jane-Fonda legwarmers and still have one high-cut leotard, which I personally think makes your legs look longer! Love them. Truth be told: In the winter I could live in leotards, tights, and legwarmers. I love the comfort and flexibility. 🙂 But my body is surely not as limber as it once was. And I have to take heed that my attitudes remain flexible. I really am trying to work on that. I am finding that as I mature, I know less that I thought I did when I was younger. I want a mature spirit, one that is far more humble than before, and one that is patient and kind and takes time to walk around in someone else’s legwarmers before being quick to pass judgment. And Renaissance? I’ve been referring to that as how I am thinking of myself in this season….and in the Lord, don’t we all experience renaissance and resurrection of one kind or another? Bless you for sharing your wisdom and humor. This is an excellent post!
Lynn, let’s start our own era’s, yes indeed!
“I’m the wet behind the ears, newborn woman looking at the world with my dewy eyes into the other half of my life.” Like poetry and humor mixed in with wisdom. Appreciate your words!
Rhonda, thanks! Poetry was my first love.
Tammy, I love the wisdom and humor. I used to think season would be one of stability, when I knew who I was and I’d shine. Instead I’m learning I will keep growing and changing. God wants me to be transformed into the image of Jesus as long I draw breath. Thank you for this timely post.
Debbie, oh my, yes. The growth has its own kind of growing pains.
What a hoot! You reminded me of trends I’d forgotten (I’m a few years older) and made me laugh out loud. I love your perspective about middle age. We can view it from the lens of we’re falling apart or a new start, full of the lessons we’ve learned along the way and rich in wisdom.
Thank you friend ~ this was a very fun read. 🙂
Caryn, lots of lessons learned along the way too! 🙂
Tammy. Loved this post too. Especially enjoyed the comments and feel like we’re all sitting around talking about our mid-life and how we are survivors. Some of my favorite quotes to adapt are: “You’re sixty and comfortable in the skin your in? Now isn’t that a miracle?” and my all time favorite: “Oh don’t worry about those heat flashes, Sweetie. They’re just your inner child playing with matches.” Love! Love! Love! your humor and appreciate you…..Chris
Chris, those quotes are a hoot!! I appreciate you back.
Tammy I enjoyed your post and related well to your following statement: “we are in the middle of knowing who we are and whose we are. Midlife is a transition.” I only wish I had read your post before my camping trip.
Not to long ago I took a short ( Praise God) camping trip to “My Life is Over” campgrounds and since I was looking for likeminded campers I spotted what look to be a large group and proceeded to pitch my tent all the while thinking this is just what I was looking for! Yet I must share that after a week of listening to all the woe is me and life’s not fair stories, I was in fear of becoming deathly ill. I mean I had already been experiencing severe nausea! Against my fellow campers advise to stay I pulled up stacks, packed up the car and headed out toward the campground gates. Now here’s the thing, I take one last look out my rear view mirror (not wanting to miss a fellow campers wave goodbye) at the campsite and do you know ALL the tents were gone! not a one left! Now where do you think they could of gone?