We all know that getting older kind of sucks. That’s pretty much a given, and widely acknowledged among those of us who have reached middle age. But life has a way of knocking hard and waking us up. Just in the past two years, three friends of mine who are within 10 years of my age have seen their husbands face life-threatening conditions. Now my husband is going through major stuff related to a snowboarding accident. We feel so powerful in our youth and strength, but things change. We can work so hard, suffer so much, and still face adversity. It’s not so easy, being human.
And then I look at the amazing adults my kids have grown up to become. They so clearly prioritize doing what they love, helping others and being with the people they care about. I grew up with the idea that the American dream meant that we would be better off than our parents – wealthier, with nicer houses, better careers and so forth. But that didn’t hold. My generation is less prosperous than our parents, even if we’re just as well-educated. That’s partly by choice – I knew very well that as a journalist, I’d never be rich. And I and my siblings all made decisions that lowered our family earnings in favor of parenting our kids. My kids are pursuing dreams that I never had time for, like seeing the world. Could we still be evolving?
Increasingly, I find myself reminding myself that I can only do what I can do. Try, try, of course. We want to do everything we can. But do what you can do. There’s plenty of room to beat oneself up over how it could have been done better. But it’s still just life. It’s an awesome thing, and we all get a shot at it. All we can do is do our best. And look on and enjoy the sight of those who come after us both following and improving on what we thought was possible.
This photo is from last Thursday, when Charlie and I had a wonderful day skiing at Tamarack with sunshine and 7 inches of fresh snow from the day before. He was injured the next day at Brundage; he’s still in the ICU, though he is expected to eventually make a full recovery. So this is a very different sort of vacation than we had planned. But we’ll do what we can do.