My friend, Dottie, had a birthday recently. She pointed out that the Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four” is the theme song of our graduating class. We have been taking turns singing it all year as we each hit that milestone. Paul McCartney had a romantic picture for this stage of life. Rocking grandbabies, digging in the garden, loving our spouses.
In truth, I’m finding this season to be more like the middle-school of adulthood.
Things just feel a tad awkward. We aren’t old yet. So, it is hard to give ourselves permission to slow down. Rocking chairs may sound nice to our stiff bones, but our brains can’t go there yet. If ever. Having fun takes a lot more energy than it used to, but we still want to have fun. Our definitions may have changed a bit. (Netflix, anyone?) And yet, we are interested in the world, in life, in one another.
Our bodies are changing almost as much as they did in the pre-teen years. Except everything is going in reverse.
And, we are facing the confusion of making retirement plans, considering Medicare supplements, and choosing where to live and what to do in the second-career stage of life. It’s like trying to find homeroom on a foreign planet.
So, I’ve been thinking about what helped us through those troublesome years. Here are a few things we might need.
- A Schedule – The first time we had to change rooms for classes, we counted on a paper schedule tucked into our notebooks. I can almost still see mine with the wrinkle marks where I gripped it the first weeks. These days, I make lists. Short goals, like which three projects I’ll tackle today. (Laundry, bills, writing a novel). And longer goals like calling the Social Security office to talk about Medicare or planning a trip to see the grandkids.
- Friends and Family – Social media can be a big ole mess, but it is also the way I keep up with folks I love in other places. I’m grateful for the encouragement as we walk these halls. (Thanks to Cheri for encouraging me to take that plunge years ago.) The friends and family members who live close enough for lunch on a Tuesday or a few minutes to visit after church are essential for finding my way.
- Permission – to stay home, to go out, to try something new, to revel in the familiar, to keep loving more deeply as we change.
In the end, we did make it through middle school. I think we even had some good times. So, I’m trying to embracing this season, relaxing into it, and enjoying the time to grow and prepare for high school. I’ve heard algebra is tough, but we will have a great time at the prom.