The other day at Jodi's Baby Shower (always capitalize events) one of my neighbor friends asked me how old my daughter was?
"She's thirty," I told her.
"What?" she exclaimed. "We're thirty!"
"You might be thirty, Pat," I said, "but I'm about 25!"
We were laughing our heads off.
(I think Pat forgot she just signed up for Social Security.)
Figuratively speaking, I feel somewhere around 25, on most days anyhow. I was twenty three when I had my first daughter, and almost 28 when my son was born.
This past week I have been reading the book My Time, Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life by Abigail Trafford.
I'm loving it, it's a 'study' about the bonus years, the second adolescent and the jolts (her frequently used term) of the years between 50 and 75 (plus). It's about the what's next in our lives.
You know I love her words about grandmothers.
In the chapter entitled Redefining Family, she writes:
Years later, I wondered why my grandparents wanted to spent so much time with me. They gave me so much. What was in it for them? Now I know. Empathy with a grandchild brings back the best of your own forgotten childhood and catapults you into the future.
A few paragraphs later:
Discovery is a two-way street. As a grandparent, you get to see a whole new life unfold. You are above the fray of the intense, hands-on parent-child relationship. Says one grandfather, "It's all the love without the baggage."
Then in the next few paragraphs she reminds us about the sometimes very difficult positions longevity brings about. One of them is having to raise the grandchildren. I am not in this position thankfully, but I do help out with daily child care so I have an idea how difficult it could be for a person in 'second adolescence' to have to raise a child. (Even though we feel 25, we ain't!)
About 3.7 million grandparents are helping to raise nearly 4 million grandchildren in the United States, report the National Academy on Aging Society. More than 1.3 million children are being raised soley by their grandparents, according to a 1998 Census Bureau report. More than 80 percent of these parenting grandparents are under 65, most are married couples and more of them live in the suburbs than in central cites.
To all of us that are in these bonus years, the author writes, In Second Adolescence, you need to dream again. You need to open up and experiment with different scenarios the way you did as a teenager. One day you take piano lessons, the next day you visit Civil war battlefields, another day you sign up to study the classics, or babysit the grandchildren or volunteer for your local hospice. Or just sit in the garden. You don't know which scenario will become your next "career" You don't care. It's nice to hang out for awhile. Schools out, midlife is done. Get in the RV and go.
The sign that you're getting out of Second Adolescence is when you settle down and figure out your priorities for the bonus decades. Life empowerment gives you the strength to break away and the talents to build anew. Dreaming wakes you up to a future and shakes you out of the rut of middle age. You need both in order to get a life in My Time.
I think maybe I am starting to settle down (a bit.) My thirty-year marriage continues, I'm working part-time as an RN (extremely part-time as a Realtor), and making sure that I have time to be with my grandchild (soon to be grandchildren.) Nothing stays exactly the same forever, but one thing for is for darn sure....I will never stop dreaming and having goals for the future.
How about you? Are you having a Second Adolescence?
Visit Abigail Traffords website http://www.abigailtrafford.com/