I didn’t think I would experience this. After all compared to other stages and the things I have gone through in life, midlife seemed like a piece of cake—actually, the best part of my life thus far.
But then it was there, staring back at me in the mirror. For the first time I experienced a truth about my own mortality that I had never really processed before. My time in this life is limited. O.K., 30, 35 years and possibly more is a lot of years. Still, they aren’t the first 30 years. They don’t come with guarantees of youth, vitality and health — the first two virtually guaranteed in the first three decades of life.
I’ve experienced brief moments of panic thinking about the time when I will have only 10 years “left”. What does that mean? and What does this feel like when you are there? I know there is no way of knowing until you are there and I have seen people do it well and not so well. The “not so well” experience a kind of stillness and paralysis—as if they were truly just sitting around waiting for the end. My aunt was one of those “do it well” persons who was still traveling in her early 90’s and my parents have picked up and moved to the city in their 70’s, trading in their suburban life for an action packed urban one.
If you are experiencing some midlife depression that arises from the issues of mortality, go get yourself some active, older mentors. Yes, there are experienced, successful, vital, life-loving senior, seniors. Many of them serve on boards and there are several organizations and consulting firms that hire mid-lifers and seniors. If you are concerned that life ends in your 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or later, it’s good to see people living full and active lives—and truly, most do until well into their 80’s and some like my aunt was still moving and shaking at 90.
Did you know that 7% of those entering the Peace Corps are now over 50? Check out the link below for more information and opportunities to be and meet midlife (and beyond) mentors.
Harvard School of Public Health
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