Today is lovely. Cold morning, warm afternoon, with the sun shining through my front windows. Homeschooling is complete for the day. Some of my boys are playing card games, one is fishing, and another has a mandatory rest as he recovers from a cold. The laundry is humming, the dryer rattling with zippers chinking the sides. The dog is napping under the buffalo-check heated throw that I have nestled over my lap.
This day looks like one of the hundreds of days that I have lived alongside my family. Living, working, learning, playing, resting. Working part-time this year has shown me how much I value and believe in this quiet path I chose twenty years ago, to methodically make a home, raise my children, read books, nap, cook, and tend to our needs. A life marked by connection, albeit broken, and rhythms that bring stability and growth.
Somewhere in my early forties, I questioned my choices, the normal angst that arises in mid-life, wondering if I chose the right path. Was there more? Would I do it differently? It can be deeply unsettling to allow your mid-life self to ask the questions, sit with them, and not react immediately and rashly with a life overhaul, a new side hustle, a jump towards a host of activity to quell the storm of shaken identity. It’s important to allow the rumblings to come, to sift through the thoughts and questions, to find kind counsel to offer compassionate listening. Just as it is normal for our teens to navigate puberty with the deeper questions of identity, we too as middle-aged women find ourselves walking on that same path. We need not fear this rite of passage. It’s an invitation, a threshold, towards the next half of life.
Here’s what I know after a few years of questioning, listening, and waiting: I don’t regret any of it. Sometimes we think that if we had done differently that maybe it would have been easier (that could be true), happier (I doubt it), and more fulfilling (that’s not the point). But the thing is, that imperfect, faithful journey grew us, deepened us, refined us. We never “miss out” if we were following God and living by faith. Sure, maybe there are some choices that we would change, but He was faithful to course-correct, redeem, and lead us into “pleasant places”, drawing the lines around us.
I have settled into this mid-life season. My body is thickening, around my mouth is becoming softer and wrinkled, stray grays grow throughout my hair. My joints ache like they never have before. My sleep patterns can be erratic with ebb and flow of monthly cycles of hormones. None of this is to be ashamed of. We are softening, body and soul. We soften our judgments of ourselves and others. We envelop our children with our bodies in warm, comforting embraces. We soften into a deeper sense of womanhood, recognizing that nurturing ourselves and others is a calling until the end. We tenderize our interactions with our husbands, recognizing that this life of fleeting intimacy deserves more grace, more acceptance, and more kindness. We give up the pressure to perform and please, and soften into grace.