Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Could we just ignore this one?

Yesterday was my birthday. In between the laundry and the dog-walking and the dinner-making and the kid-running and the raindrop-dodging, it was a pretty good day.

The highlight, for me, was going to Abby’s high school orchestra concert which was held at the community college nearby. It was kind of neat to have the kids play on a bigger stage than they normally would, but the best part was the music. Oh my! Abby’s orchestra group played Dvorak’s 8th Symphony—four movements—and it was fabulous.

It does a mama’s heart proud to hear her girl play in a group like that. Yes, it does.

O.K., if you’re reading carefully, you’ll know that I lied up there. No, not the part about the orchestra concert—that was the truth. But the part about having a good day was a lie.

It wasn’t a good day at all. I spent the day alone, for the most part. It was cold. It was rainy. It was just a normal day.

Birthdays aren’t supposed to be normal.

But what really made this day a bit of a downer for me was the realization that I’m now closer to 50 than I am to 40. I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but I have to tell you, it does. Big time.

Here’s why I think it stinks for me.

I don’t like change. At all. Which is probably why I’m the only member of my family who still lives in the state she grew up in. I think about leaving all the time, but do I do anything about it? No. The change would probably kill me, so I stay put. Pathetic, I know.

So changing decades, or even the thought of changing decades, is a pretty big deal to me.

I remember when I turned 30. I stood in front of the mirror that day and just stared. I was probably frozen with fear, thinking about all that would come my way in the next decade. Rightly so!

When I think about all that could happen in my 50’s—kids going to college, kids graduating college, kids getting married and possibly even making me a grandma—it’s just about too much for my heart to handle. All that change!

And it’s still four years away. I truly am a basket case.

I don’t want to become one of those women who try to act and dress like they’re younger than they really are. I’m not that way. And I don’t want to be in denial about what is going to happen in my life (and to my body) in the next few years. It is what it is.

I am officially middle aged, in my mind, and I wonder what I’m accomplishing. I wonder if I’m ever going to do all the things I want to do with my life. I wonder if I’m doing what God wants me to do. I wait on Him, and I wonder. . . .

I had no intention of writing this post; I don’t want to depress you, and more than that I don’t want to depress me. But these are the things that are on my mind, and it usually works out pretty well if I write what’s on my mind.

I think it’s time for the sun to come out.


  1. You express yourself beautifully and one thing I love about blogging is it's a platform for honest expression. I wouldn't even admit middle age until this past year. I'd look around and think, "who's middle aged? not me!" Ahhh- delusion. Just know you're not alone in this club. (I'm 51! OLDER than you!!) Whenever I feel old I go visit my grandmother and her friends. Now SHE IS OLD!! One more thought... this is a good post on expectations and disappointment. My booklet is over. : )

  2. Yea!!! I was hoping for a birthday blog.
    Shell, you are not alone. Reality can be a huge glass of cold water in the face. Somehow, for me, 46 is seeming so much older than 45 too. (I've got a couple months yet.)
    You know, when I was younger and talked to older people and they would say "I still feel young inside" I thought they had to be kidding. But it is SO true. Sometimes I plan to do something big--driving to the airport, planning a huge vacation or just making doctor appointments and I'm thinking "wow, I'm too young and immature to be left with these responsibilities". Time goes so quickly. But I fear we can never truly express the truth of that to our children and how they need to make the most of their youth. We all think we will be young forever. Until we aren't. We'll be old together!

  3. Happy Belated birthday--I also am thinking I'm middle age...though I'm just starting...this summer I turn 35. Since we just got back from our trip to Oregon for Grandpa's funeral I've realized that I am growing older! I have 87 first cousins. And I'm #2 on the list. I have so many YOUNGER family members and with 85 of us there for grandpa's funeral I really realized I'm in the older bunch now.

  4. And I thought men were the only ones to have mid-life crises! Don't think of it as older -- think of it as better. And you, my dear, are the best.

  5. Hi Shelly, I'm with you dear on all the pondering and not embracing change. It's weird though to think of 50 huh? If it helps I'm much closer to it than you!

    Hey that concert was uber-great! I really was so impressed and LOVED the venue!

  6. Thanks for your candor, Shelly. It's so refreshing to read your blog.

    I just went through a similar thought process on my 44th! What have I done with my life? What should I be doing with the rest of it? Three small thoughts came to mind: act justly; love mercy; and walk humbly with my God. Three small thoughts that will take a lifetime--and then some--to ponder and accomplish.

    One may also look at getting older as one more step closer to seeing Jesus face to face. Ahhh! Now that is something to ponder!

    Happy Birthday. Again! (Sorry I didn't call you to tell you that yesterday.) :(

  7. Just finished catching up on your life for the past year...yes I read every one of your blog posts! I love your writing Shelly, and after reading a million blogs by young mothers, I appreciate your different perspective. Thanks for giving me something to look forward to once the baby stage is over, and a reminder that what I am doing right now is important and worthwhile!

  8. I just want to say thanks to everyone for your kind, encouraging comments. Wow. I am blessed. Thank you!

  9. Thanks for this post. I have felt like this so many times...especially on my birthday.Your honesty really touched my heart. I wish you would read my post from several years ago called "Life is Crazy". Go to my blog and scroll down the pics on the right column until you see "Life is Crazy". The way I felt when I wrote that is so similar to how you feel now.
    I also wrote one called "The Season is Changing".
    At some point, we face our own mortality and the aging process. I have vowed to do it with dignity and grace...not with botox.
    It happens to everyone.

  10. Look at the bright side.....If 46 is middle age, that means you'll still be around at 92, Shel. Just try turning 70! Happy Birthday a day late.