Thursday, September 30, 2021

in the middle of the middle?

But when it comes to time, where is the middle?

My friends and I, as we have our second round of pandemic birthdays and are still, each year, amazed to discover that apparently we are 'grown-ups' now, have been pondering the particular complexities of reaching middle-age in the middle of a pandemic.

It stands to reason that every age will feel the effects of lockdown etc in relation to the age they are during this, and no one can really claim their experience to be worse than any other's (except maybe that poor 20-30 crew, I do really feel for those guys), but I think us of the middle-age are having a particularly interesting time of it for a couple of reasons.

Growing acceptance of one's own mortality and the inevitable death of your parents and loved ones?

BOOM - global flu pandemic to just really drive that home and place the risk of it literally around every corner.

Growing realisation that you might run out of time to visit all those far-flung destinations on your 'bucket list' (horrible term)?

BOOM - travel restrictions starting from your front gate to extending to most other parts of the world.

Growing unease at whether you've made enough provision for retirement / your children's future / the medical costs of growing older?

BOOM - total loss of career and all prospects of it ever picking up again PLUS flooding of the dwindling jobs market with thousands of younger and more relevant jobless candidates.

Growing independence from your children and freedom to plan around them and return to a bit of your own life?

BOOM - homeschooling, a thing you SWORE you'd never do, becomes your reality, school days shorten in the absence of extra-murals, kids are at home all the time.

Growing determination to get healthier and stronger and counteract the aging effects of weakening bones and muscle degeneration?

BOOM - all gyms and exercise classes close, or remain open and become cesspools of contamination.

So no, I'm not saying we're having it worse off than anyone else. I'm just saying we're not having it any easier. No one is having it easy.

It just feels like it would all be more manageable if we knew where we were in these things... are we in the middle? Of life? Of the pandemic?

Maybe the advantage of living through this in middle-age is the acceptance we've come to that we'll never know what's coming next. We've seen friends die unexpectedly, we've seen towers fall and countries burn, we've seen fax machines come and go... maybe we've got a better handle than some on the truly unpredictable nature of life.

Maybe we should know better than to overthink this.