I Want a New Life Stage (or Two)

When I wrote the title of this piece, I heard it in the melody of Huey Lewis and the News’ I Want a New Drug. For the most complete experience upon consumption of this post, I recommend (if not already familiar with the song), you familiarize yourself here. Read on, knowing fully that the song doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of this story, other than bringing you one more step toward being inside the writer’s mind as I wrangled the words onto the page.

Infant
Baby
Toddler
Child
‘Tween
Teenager
Young Adult
Adult
Middle Age
Senior
Elderly

The timeline of our lives goes something like that. Notice how most of the distinctions are jammed up in the first years of life? I mean, by the time we’re in our twenties, we’ve already experienced eight of these life stages! Of course each of those early stages are celebrated and accompanied by very clear, expected behaviors and milestones.

Once you’re considered an adult, though, time kind of meanders for a couple decades and suddenly, “Whoa!” you find yourself squarely in the pale beige expanse that is “middle age.” Middle of what? Whose life? How do you know when you’re in the middle of something that has an unknown length? There’s certainly no fanfare for becoming or being middle aged. No milestones or expectations. There’s not even a, “Yea! You’ve managed to become no longer young without dying!” You’ve acquired independence and relationships and stuff, and knowledge, and experience and abilities… You’re on the plateau that leads to the exit ramp off the planet! There’s no more to look forward to, aspire to, dream of. Your youth (and the supposed learning, growing, gaining and producing that are associated with it) is behind you, over and done with. All that lies ahead is just to get old, decline into irrelevance, lose your faculties and eventually die.”

How profoundly sad! With potentially decades left of healthy, able life ahead, we’re expected to, at the peak of our “ripeness,” step out of the flow and fade into the wallpaper. What’s the point of life if it’s only to reach some arbitrary point on which to coast for years until we’re considered “done,” no longer vital, past our prime…

Well I say bullshit to all that! I propose one or two new life stages to better elucidate the fascinating, rich time of life into which I’ve delightfully slipped. I was going to write stepped, but it really wasn’t a “step into” situation. It was definitely a gradual, graceful slip; a realization that something was stirring within me, pulling me toward it. And then I was in it.  Whee!

Now that I’m here – in this neutral zone – between middle age and senior, I’m experiencing it as the richest, most fertile soil in which I’ve ever been planted. In this liminal space, I’ve grown SO MUCH in recent years. New passions, interests, possibilities arise in me on sometimes a daily basis. I live into my wisdom, gain deeper insight into myself and others. I’m more interesting – and interested – in the world, and in others than I was when I was younger.

Rather than this being a stage of personal decline and separation from the world and my time in it, I FINALLY feel like a contributing, worthy member of it. Someone with something worthwhile to say, something worthwhile to give. It’s a time of great belongingness for me. A time of discovery for sure – of curiosity, of having sense organs I’ve never experienced input from cascading my being. Feelings, thoughts, desires that are both new and that I recognize as being my own, though long denied or even forgotten. It’s like I’ve recently met the “real” me who’s been developing, shrouded in the cloak of invisibility known as “middle age.” Not only do I feel seen by the world, but by myself – truly seen for who I am.

Yes, this is an intense time and to not celebrate it would be a waste of precious, nuanced years of my life.

The life stages I live by now include two more:

Infant
Baby
Toddler
Child
‘Tween
Teenager
Young Adult
Adult
Middle Age
!!! Wisened Discerner !!!
!!! Legacy Seeker !!!
Senior
Elderly

Better, right?

They give me some focus and a sense of purpose for these vital years of my life.

This entry was posted in The personal development of Gina, Women on the Verge. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I Want a New Life Stage (or Two)

  1. wendy abrams says:

    Thank you Gina for so clearly mapping the path that is so rich and vital. Well said, well written and comforting.
    xo
    Wendy
    onslowlife.com

    • GinaBee says:

      Thank you, Wendy! Your comment means a great deal, coming from a fellow writer and woman emerging into her full maturity and kick-ass self!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *