The whir of the wall heater lulls me to sleep.
I’m in seventh grade again, at my friend’s house, dreaming of my life as an adult. We just watched Dirty Dancing and inhaled a bag of Doritos with a 2L of Dr Pepper and no one considered the carbohydrates involved.
In reality, I am an adult. With children. And two husbands by now.
And a whole lot of disappointments and triumphs along the way.
I still feel like that awkward seventh grader when, I’m actually the mother of a seventh grader.
How did this happen?
I’m typing this in a cottage in the woods.
A writer’s weekend, that’s what I claimed it to be.
And in late 2022, I am stuck trying to decide how much of my life to share on social media and how many posts are “enough” to promote my writing.
The internet connection is poor here and it’s a blessing and a curse.
When did we become so tied to people we’ve never met and numbers oft generated by bots?
Do I measure the importance of my work by likes, shares, and follows or by actual lives impacted?
And let’s be honest, we rarely know when we impact a life because the Enneagram and Myers-Briggs tells us that a certain % of folks are introverts and would never tell us if we helped them, to no fault of our own.
And the trauma we have all endured. I am not joking. The real actual trauma and pain I have seen my fellow GenXers and patients and friends endure. We all go to therapy and spend countless hours trying to right some of the wrongs between scrolling and TikToking, working our regular jobs, raising tiny to full-sized humans, and trying to eat whole foods.
In this world of 2-4 second attention spans, I feel lost.
I feel lonely.
I feel drained.
Am I the only one?
And so I sit. In Midlife. In the Southeast. In middle school bleachers and while planning a wedding for the oldest. I sit at baseball tournaments and in my car traveling to see my patients. I sit at kitchen tables discussing hospice the same morning I sit with my fifth grader studying vocabulary.
I know I’m not alone. The Middle is weird. It’s not the beginning, like I am reminded of with my oldest and his fiancé. The furniture shopping and the bedspread and dishes selections. It’s not the end either. The disbursement of family heirlooms and quiet days sparsely populated by visiting friends or family. It’s not the days of toddler-parent-survival where bath time and nap time ruled the schedule. But it’s not the days where everyone can drive yet either.
And oh yeah a pandemic happened. School shootings. A nation so divided I can’t even recognize it. But just keep on going folks. Keep on posting and hashtagging and hustling.
I will take this Middle. I will take the Menopause and the investment planning and the figuring out how to parent adult children. I will take it and try to learn from it and admit that it’s uncomfortable. See, we are too old to fake stuff in this Middle. We have seen too much.
I think my writing will continue to be what it is. Real. Raw. With a flimsy filter and a side of sarcasm. It will grow as I do. I hope you join me. If anything in this little diary entry stirred your insides, then know that we are in this together. Let’s go. Awkward but not alone.
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I am trudging along with you. Just waiting for a good conversation.