Middle Age Musings and A Tender Heart
Martin Amis Contemplates Evil
[...] “Your youth evaporates in your early 40s when you look in the mirror. And then it becomes a full-time job pretending you’re not going to die, and then you accept that you’ll die. Then in your 50s everything is very thin. And then suddenly you’ve got this huge new territory inside you, which is the past, which wasn’t there before. A new source of strength. Then that may not be so gratifying to you as the 60s begin [Amis is 62], but then I find that in your 60s, everything begins to look sort of slightly magical again. And it’s imbued with a kind of leave-taking resonance, that it’s not going to be around very long, this world, so it begins to look poignant and fascinating.” [...]
"Midlife Is A Crossroads, Not A Crisis"
[...] At midlife, we find ourselves experiencing a discrepancy between who we thought we were and who we actually are now.
To make matters worse, while the person we thought we were seems to be dissolving, the person we hoped we weren't begins to show up more and more.
This clash of images can leave us feeling sad, depressed, angry and very alone. We might feel a sense of profound loss that we cannot really explain to ourselves.
Midlife transformative forces can push us deeply into our fear. Then we see its real nature. Behind our fear is a sadness that is an expression of a tender heart. This tender heart is an important source of compassion and concern for others as well as of awe and wonder about the mystery of life.
When we connect with our tender heart, we no longer have to be embarrassed about who we are.
There is an art and science to making a midlife transformation. First we need to recognize that the turmoil we feel represents life working on us rather than evidence that we are sick or other than we should be.
At midlife our soul makes a grab for the steering wheel, it wants to drive. Ego's dress rehearsal is over.
Death is no longer hidden on the horizon. We need to face the task writing a script for the second half of our lives, so we can live with conviction and real intent.
As we give up our concepts of who we are and what we "should" be, we can then become sensitive to a kind of internal guidance.
Our psyche, at first, frightens us by shaking up our world entirely. It then stimulates us by pointing to some of life's most interesting possibilities. Our task is listening and attending to what our soul is telling us.