Naomi and I have entered a new chapter in our lives. A new phase in the journey that has brought us to an interesting, sobering and new place.
I do not have a formal name for it, but people approximately my age/generation are becoming aware of it and those of you in the generation that has preceded us remember this time as well. I guess we are officially “middle age.” With all the talk of 40 being the new 30 and similar reframing, the fact is that in our 50’s we are in the place where mortality is showing itself as a real part of life. We have those krenks and pains, and some body parts are not performing as they once did. But even more sobering, some of our friends are not faring so well. They have real issues, confronting things such as cancer and heart disease, and some have died. Our parents are aging; many slipping, and many of them too are dying. We have entered that phase where these things are becoming the common and expected part of daily life, no more the stories of others from another generation, or the extraordinary event of someone we know. I am not sure precisely what this phase may be called, except for possibly “our new reality,” this next phase of our lives.
It is strange and as a new experience it creates separation and aloneness. Yet it is a phase that we all experience. This is a time when our older generation can truly reach out to us younger people and help us make sense of this new place; for they have been here and have lived through it. Their experience gives them an understanding that we could use. If we could talk about it, the wisdom of the older would help us make some sense of it. We both would benefit from the conversation and the bonds that this sharing could foster. When we open up about our fears and how we navigate through them, we deepen the relationships between us figuratively and literally holding each other’s hand.