I am so blessed to have reconnected with so many friends and my extended family via Facebook. Perhaps technology is helping us to reestablish the social ties of past generations when one lived her whole life in the same community surrounded by extended family and friends.
We are social creatures by nature and I believe our post-war generations are especially hungry for those kind of connections, we need support now more than ever.
Middle age is not for the fainthearted. Our bodies are beginning to betray us, our minds so tired of the rushing around to “make it”, and our hearts are lonely in a room filled with virtual strangers. They don’t “know” the real person behind our mask of success and confidence.
I’ve found it refreshing to reconnect with my chums from school- especially High School. No matter how “together”, or how “cool” someone seemed to us roaming the halls of school, we have come to realize, with the wisdom of middle age, that we all have feet of clay.
Middle age has leveled the playing field. We have aches and pains. We put on pounds. Our hair is graying or has disappeared, and yet, it no longer matters. We see the beautiful smile; the laughing eyes, coupled with knowing this person as they navigated through adolescence. Our inner beauty and the innocence of youth is not lost. It shines through the middle-aged person we gaze upon.
We are all equal in our suffering. No one’s burden is any heavier than another’s. We have suffered loss, illness, divorce, and job woes. We’ve battled depression, been besieged with worries about our children and parents. And because we each carry similar burdens we are filled with compassion and understanding.
Each day I read my friend’s posts; someone losing their Mom or Dad, another is struggling with unemployment, divorce, or illness. One dear friend is battling cancer.
Her upbeat and self-depreciating humor has kept us going through our own struggles, but some days she falters. As fellow warriors, we are quick to rush in, and pick her up with our love and support traveling over thousands of cyber-miles. I been blessed to receive the same treatment many times when I stumbled through my long unemployment.
Middle age is time to pause and reflect, as once again our lives change. It’s just so comforting to know that my friends and I are on the same leaky boat. We have to keep paddling and bailing out the water of despair that threatens to sink us. We take turns bailing; when one gets discouraged everyone else pitches in to bolster that person. There are days when we need to rest and let someone else paddle for us.
No one shirks their duty. After all, we’re all in this together.