I was basking in the sunshine of a beautiful day when it suddenly dawned on me that I was a cliché. My smile ran away from my face and instantly the day felt cloudy. I was a lonely divorced middle-aged woman with a gut. This is the irony of being middle-aged that no one ever shared with me. You may go into a room and forget why you did so, but you gain a clarity about life and yourself that is so sharp, so crystal clear, you feel like you woke up with a superpower.
I am not sure when it happened but I went to bed one night and woke up endowed with an ancient secret about life that those under the age of 50 cannot, even with a Mason handshake, partake. And here’s the secret: you finally understand that you are mortal. Time slows down long enough for you to see what you were simply unable to see before.
My smile returned to my face and the birds started singing again. And just like that, I shrugged off that nasty cliché as only someone on the top of the hill can do. What we struggle with at middle age isn’t our diminishing physical strength or beauty (okay, sometimes I do) but the constraining, cruel irony of time.
We are mortal and we have no idea how close we may be to the end of our life’s journey. But the gem God gives us in exchange for our physical prowess is this new found superpower that affords us the opportunity to see the world and our part in it with new eyes. Without even changing into our tights in a phone booth, we can deal with our disappointments with wisdom and accept ourselves and learn to live with life’s inevitable regrets and loss. We can trust that our long journey through life has equipped us with the strength, dignity, and stamina to see us through to the end.
My superpower is that I am a teenager in disguise. I can stay up late and sleep in. I have exclusive use of the remote control, and I can eat ice cream for breakfast if I want to. And in my 50s, I can finally say that I really, really like myself. So what’s your superpower?