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Midlife Moments : Musings, Mantras and Mindfulness

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The first time I realized I am getting middle-aged and probably carrying more flab in my midsection than I should is when on a trip to India a young street vendor said to me: “Auntie, can you buy some flowers?” and I was traumatized because the last time I visited they had addressed me as didi (older sister) and an older sister looks considerably younger than your aunt! So, back in America, where thankfully people do not make you their family members instantly, I joined a Zumba class.

Three weeks after doing Zumba diligently, the scale had not budged at all but I did look a bit toned up and had more energy. In my twenties and thirties, I could exercise for a couple of weeks and eat right and the results would show on the scale instantly but in my forties it takes considerably longer.

I have also become very forgetful. Earlier, in my youth, my brain was razor sharp.I could memorize phone numbers, create grocery lists in my mind and remember all my user ids and passwords.The other day I went to the bank and for some reason the lady wanted my social security number and I had forgotten it, I only remembered the last four digits! I looked like a deer trapped in headlights while the lady looked at me impatiently and condescendingly, probably thinking how dumb I was.

I have three kids, a teenage girl and two younger boys and my mommy brain is usually befuddled but I know that with careful planning, organizing and writing down notes on a calendar, I will be fine. So far, I have not forgotten to pick up or drop my kids from and at various different places, though, when the minivan I am driving gets really quiet, I do blurt out really scared, “hey Armaan’s (my youngest) in there right, hope we did not leave him behind at home!”

A slowing metabolism, a fading memory, greying hair, missing your youthful skin and figure, trying to balance work and home, raising kids, looking after aging parents who have turned into another set of kids, what is there to like in your forties? Plenty, I would say. With age, your courage and confidence multiply. In my twenties, I was 125 pounds but I did not feel I was pretty enough and if anybody gave me a compliment on my looks I would get tensed and worried. Now, thirty pounds later I really think I am all that and when people compliment me I am able to smile and say thank you and I know that they meant it and I deserve it. I hear slim women cribbing about not having a flat stomach and I am amazed and annoyed by their complaints. How much more skinny do you want to be? After reading and researching every diet out there I know that I love to eat, 1200 calories a day will keep me hungry and cranky and the best thing I can do for myself is to own my body and to rock it. Somebody has rightly said that confidence is your best accessory along with a positive attitude and a great hair day helps too!

According to me, forty really is the peak of your existence, you peak in every area of your life, practice makes perfect, you are sure of yourself, you do not have to fake it anymore, you learn how to say no, you are not worried about what anyone thinks of you and you do what feels right . (To the imaginative- feel free to read between the above lines!)It is a very fulfilling feeling when the pieces of the puzzle fit together and you have a deeper and better understanding of who you are physically, mentally and spiritually and what you want from life. It is a wake-up call that half your life is over and so you need to better hurry up on fulfilling your ambitions and striking things off your bucket list.

In my twenties, I was very serious, I had a poker face and the weight of the world upon my shoulders, I took things literally and I could not understand when people were joking. My husband has a crazy sense of humor and thanks to him I was able to shake off some of my seriousness and enjoy humor. Just last week, my husband and I were at the grocery store and I saw this really obese woman with a stud of a husband and by stud I mean tall and toned Greek god stud and I told my husband – “Moti kitni lucky hai na, uska husband kitna handsome hai” (that fat lady is so lucky, her husband is so handsome) and he told me with his best serious face – “To kya hua, apna bhi to wahi kahani hai!” (So what, ours is the same story!) And I laughed like crazy, my twenty year old self would have been offended at this joke but in my forties I know that my husband is just kidding. Before anybody is upset that I called that lady fat, let me add that she was big and beautiful and am pretty sure her husband loves her for who she is, he would not be married to her if he did not! And, my husband thinks I am getting prettier every day but he loves to tease me.

Mid-life crisis is real, it affects both men and women, a sense of restlessness and boredom pervades your soul and the desire to breakthrough can drive you insane. Men buy red sports cars and women have affairs or vice versa. For me, luckily, mid- life mayhem has not been bad and I am not going to pull an “Eat, Pray, Love” on my family anytime soon. I occupy my spare time with things I love to do like reading and gardening and that soothes me and calms me down.Some things coming up in the future scare me like my kids learning to drive and eventually leaving us behind in an empty house but I know that I have to be strong and I have to let go. I have learned that I have to love people for who they are and not who I want them to be. I have learned that I cannot change what people say but I can change how I react to them. I am trying to be more disciplined, motivated and productive and live my forties fabulously with fortitude.

 

Poised on the mountaintop

Waiting to fly

I feel like a beautiful butterfly

Rid of the protective cocoon

Took so long but feels so soon

Evolved, emancipated

Unchained, unshackled

Tenacious, fierce, indomitable

Images flash, myriad memories clash

Ecstasy, pain, love and loss

The roads I took, the paths I walked

The roles I played, the talks I talked

Led me to who I am and where I am at

And, it’s purely exquisite, almost sublime

The road, the passengers and the view

My wings trembling in anticipation of the adventure anew

My beating heart wishing I can see my journey through

For the BEST, is yet to come!

 

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About the column: Midlife Moments is a slice of my life as a forty something part time reference librarian and a full time mom to three children. I am a simple and honest person and I write from my heart with honesty and humor. These are simple essays on day to day life filled with interesting interactions and observations. I hope that the readers can relate to me and my experiences and we can all connect and join in the conversation.

About the author: Mona Verma has a master’s in English Literature and a master’s in Library and Information science. She grew up in India but has been living in South east USA for the last 18 years. You can read more of her blogs at http://monaver.blogspot.com and https://www.richlandlibrary.com/users/mona-verma

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WOW.simply a masterpiece...simple & beautiful..

SO beautifully written Mona..so naturally reflecting a very natural impasse. I make it a point to read all your postings…they are simple…stylish with a very refined sense of humor and that is what makes it so relatable and enjoyable..I read it not only once but many a times..It makes my logging on to the net worthwhile…Perfect refreshing food for the soul and mind...So very proud of you and so very happy…keep writing…for we are hungrily waiting to enjoy every word of it…:-)

thanks

Mona Verma's picture

I am bowled over by your praise, glad you enjoyed it, thank you

Mona

nice piece

enjoyed reading it. keep it up mona

-deepak parvatiyar

thanks

Mona Verma's picture

you are such a reputed journalist with a discerning eye, your comment means a lot, thanks for reading and glad you liked it.

Mona

Beautiful piece ! Poised and Elegant like the author.

Poised and Elegant like the author.

thanks

Mona Verma's picture

Thank you so much, I love your comment and wish you had left your name

Mona

So wonderfully written. I

So wonderfully written. I like the part where you say that with confidence, the need to fake being ourselves or being liked/validates decreases. The sooner we can communicate with reality, the easier it is for all of us.

thanks

Mona Verma's picture

I feel awesome that you could connect to that part of the blog, the people who really love us will do so for who we are. So many people make career changes in forties because they realise being true to themselves is most important rather than having a career which their parents wanted or which sounds great on paper.

Mona

Fantastic.

Am 43. Relate to some of it coz I started on motherhood at 40 so feel 20 especially with 5 days of zumba . Looking forward to fun musings. Wouldn't wanna be 20 again. Love the 40s precisely because of the reasons Mona mentions and all of it encapsulated in one simple fact of accepting oneself as is...

Pritha

thanks

Mona Verma's picture

you go girl, you look great, like you could be in your twenties. Motherhood will certainly keep you on your toes.I am glad you enjoyed my musings. the good thing about having a baby late is that you will be an empty nester much later and that is awesome coupled with how much wiser you are!And yes none of us would want to be 20 again but lets not be too hard on ourselves, like Maya Angelou says, when you know better, you do better!

Mona

ZOOMING OUT

Namaste Mona! Love your delightfully candid commentary on reaching the forties and the wonderful joy ride that you are on. Takes me back to almost two decades ago when I reached the BIG FOUR O and when I look back I have never felt more beautiful, fit, free and fabulous! But this life is fascinating how at every bend it zooms out just a little bit to show you a bigger picture. Yes, at 40 we have the courage to listen to our hearts...and thanks for sharing your rythm! :)
Mona Vijaykar

Thanks

Mona Verma's picture

From one Mona to another, thank you for your beautiful and insightful response. life is unpredictable, if 60 looks like you, I will embrace it with open arms. I am so happy you took the time to read, I learn so much from your column

Mona

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