For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV)
A friend went to her doctor complaining about some aches and pains. He said, “Well, you’ve got all the 4fs.” She flashed back to military jargon. He saw the puzzled expression on her face, then, said soberly, “You’re forty, fat, fertile and female,” and walked out. Now, I don’t blame her for deciding then and there she was firing that doctor. I will not defend him for his lack of bedside manners and compassion, but there is something to what he said. Don’t start throwing tomatoes at me, yet. I’ve been there and done that, and I wouldn’t go back and redo my forties if I had the chance. I just wish that as women, we would be more aggressive about taking into account the physical changes that happen to us as we age. As far as I am concerned, our fifth decade is the pits. Our ovaries try to pretend that they are twelve again making monthly cycles painful or non existent, our hair texture changes, our minds start to slip and we pack on those pounds around our middle. I once heard a sociologist explain that it is our body’s way of protecting us. When women in primitive cultures are no longer fertile, they are forced to leave the tribe and live alone. So, the weight is not a handicap; it’s our own personal emergency rations. Seriously, we need to cut ourselves and our families some slack regarding the emotional ramifications of aging and not make any rash decisions about them or our future with them. When I was forty, my husband and I came very close to divorcing because I was feeling so miserable and didn’t know why. I blamed my troubles on him and his shortcomings. True, it takes two to make a marriage and if you are divorced or divorcing and happen to be in your forties, then, don’t take offense if you are fleeing from a spouse unwilling to do the work it takes to keep the two of you together. But, do stop and think if you are transferring your out of whack hormones, thoughts of empty nests, and just plain feeling lousy to the relationships around you. There may be more to your dissatisfaction than choosing the wrong mate or a smart aleck adolescent in the house. Don’t be quick to dismiss the impact of mid life’s physical changes upon your mental state. Keep trying doctors until you find one who will listen to you and help diagnose why you feel so miserable and not one who just pushes pills either. Find some friends who are going through the same things you are to help lift you up and to make you laugh sometimes. Make some healthy choices. You’ll get through this decade and life does get better. I promise. While you’re at it, take into account your spiritual state. No matter what your age, the only prescription for dissatisfaction and emptiness is to be full of the One Who created you.