I recently had a realization that I wasn’t thinking of myself as “old” or “middle aged.” I’m 52, but I don’t think of myself as old.
Isn’t that weird? I’ve embraced my age, but I never really sat down and thought, “Wow – I have more time behind me than in front of me.” That is a huge realization.
Middle age, as defined by encyclopedia Britannica, means “the period of human adulthood that immediately precedes the onset of old age. Though the age period that defines middle age is somewhat arbitrary, differing greatly from person to person, it is generally defined as being between the ages of 40 and 60.”
I guess I have been middle aged for a while now.
Whenever I would say “I don’t think of myself as old” or “I don’t act old,” I was actually judging “old” in a negative way. But one day, I just won’t be able to deny it any longer. When I can no longer reject the proof in the mirror, how will I view myself? Have I really been rejecting ‘old’?? Is old something that I have been seeing as bad?
Here I am. OLD. And does OLD=BAD?? No!
So maybe I have been in denial. I know that denying anything is a defense mechanism. Denying something usually means you’re struggling to accept something that feels overwhelming. But denial keeps us from making changes. Denial is not helpful. It limits growth.
A study published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review shows that most adults think of themselves as younger than their physical age. This starts around age twenty-five. Before the age of twenty-five, many people feel older than they are. However, after twenty-five, the reverse happens and people start to feel 20% younger than their age, especially after they turn forty. It’s good to know I am not alone.
I personally have had a lot of changes in the last 5 years; divorce, school, moving, building a business, empty nesting. It’s no wonder that I really haven’t spent a lot of time contemplating my denial of middle age. I was in survival mode for a few years, grieved the next couple, and now I am ready to embrace old. Not run from it.
One of the biggest things that I have learned from all my changes? That I don’t have to be afraid. I don’t have to let fear dictate my life. I am proud of the life I have led. Have I made mistakes? Oh but Yes! But they have made me who I am today, which is a whole lot wiser.
I always thought I would one day wake up with all the wisdom of an adult. Once I realized that no one truly has all the answers, I realized I had gained wisdom. The more experienced and knowledge you gain, the more you realize how much you do not know.
Socrates once said,
“Mankind is made of two kinds of people: wise people who know they’re fools, and fools who think they are wise.”
I would rather be wise.
I want to embrace all parts of me. Does that mean I am ready to quit laughing at juvenile ‘yo mama’ jokes? No. Growing old doesn’t mean you lose your sense of humor. Does it mean I’m going to quit dying my hair and let the grey shine through? Not quite yet… But who knows?!?
What it does mean is that I am taking a lot more time figuring out what this next stage looks like for me. Spending my time in a meaningful way. More time on my mat, in silence, listening to what God has in store for me next. I am ready to talk about being old. Being wise.
How about you? Are you ready to quit denying your age and start focusing on the next half? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
And if you are a midlife woman looking to improve your health, build confidence, and find balance in your life, reach out to me to learn more about my powerful 1:1 coaching programs. You can even book a completely free consultation call with me by clicking here.