The Era of Loss

Happy Birthday!

You are now middle aged.  Wow, that’s really great, thanks.

But what does it mean?

Well for some it means not being able to eat like the teenager they once were.  Eating what we like means seeing the scale increase a little more everyday, or spending a sleepless night with heartburn or in the bathroom.  For others it means the injuries they sustained in their youth now begin to hurt and slow them down, getting in the car just to drive across the street.  And for others still it means the living to work as they enter the most productive years of their lives.

It is also the time we begin to lose the things that have been a familiar part of our lives.

Our parents, our aunts and uncles, all the people we grew up knowing, having family picnics with, calling for advice, all begin to die having lived their lives.  We lose them to the relentless march of time and physical frailty.

Just watching the news can be like an attack on our youth.  Recently all the icons of my youth have been dropping like flies.

Ed McMahon the co-host of the tonight show with Johnny Carson. Heeeeerrrrrrrre’sssss Johnny!!!

Farrah Fawcett, what young man didn’t have her poster taped to their closet door.  Woof!

Karl Malden making the Streets of San Francisco safe while reminding us to “Never leave home…” without our American Express card.

And just recently, tragically, Michael Jackson.  I remember when he had family with him singing his A, B, C’s.

And then, our own children, reaching adulthood, leave us.  Empty nest syndrome a problem to deal with for many.

Gee, thanks for explaining middle age to me.

But it’s not all bad.  We now have freedom to do many things we couldn’t before because of responsibilities we had.  We should know ourselves better, and be able to decide and work towards that which is personally fulfilling.

It’s a time for re-connecting with a mate.  They’re older now.  Maybe they’ve become like strangers.  You have stood beside them for years now.  Raised children with them.  Built a home.  It’s time to remedy that, many times re-kindling the sparks that once flew.  Rediscover the love and respect you once had for them.

Getting older doesn’t have to be about loss.  Sure, everyone will experience it, but that experience isn’t confined to a certain age, and it certainly doesn’t need to define your life.

Honor those who go before, enjoy those who are sharing the ride with you now, and plan for the future so that all the era’s of your life can be filled with friends, love, and laughter.  Not just your youth.