Written by: Jan Brehm

It’s not just the menopause and all its uninvited symptoms that has me all gnarled up like some impossible yoga position, at almost 56 years old I often am accompanied by a myriad of sadness, joy, guilt and relief and I know there is no way to avoid it all, except to plow through.

So I’m wondering, do you ever… …have the feeling like you want to wrap your arms around something and hold it, rock it and sing a soft lullaby?…and at the same time, have a deep unexplainable sadness?

My life couldn’t be better. A month away from my 56th birthday, I have a great career, wonderful husband who loves me dearly and makes me laugh, healthy and happy grown daughters…then why sometimes so sad?

I miss my babies! My baby girls who needed lullaby rocking; my growing daughters who needed their hair brushed and tears wiped; my young adolescent girls who were finding their way…

I did hear years ago, back when my upper arms didn’t quake when I waved hello, warnings about the dreaded “empty nest syndrome”. Wishing I could time travel back and put down those demanding dirty dishes and barking laundry; let that phone ring; give up a road trip; get down on the floor and play Chutes and Ladders, color, read, hold, hold and hold some more my darling, demanding, runny nosed, obnoxious and adorable little girls.

I was told by many when my children were toddlers, “It’s going to go fast, enjoy your time.” Some days felt like it would never end. Had I known how fast it does go, I would have seen the world a little different and what I felt were emergencies and once in a lifetime opportunities, would have waited.

My girls don’t need that kind of nurturing anymore. I did find this out the hard way as in their late twenties, they really don’t appreciate nor want to be held, rocked and sung to…

So I’m wondering, do you ever…

…during this mid-life initiation, feel like you can’t feel your life? A time ago, I felt like my body was disjointed from my head and my overly active mind like a Formula One at the Indy, was derailing my heart. I couldn’t feel me. Each day working, conquering, climbing, battling be it in the office or in the grocery store, I was on 21st century autopilot.

So one emotionally vapid day, I drove to the coast. I took off my shoes leaving behind my blackberry, computer, phone, the unanswered texts and e-mails plus all the daily annoying, friendly, demanding chattering voices grabbing for my attention and depleting my already worn down soul.

You know, with my frantic Tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, e-mailing, texting, Myspacing…, I felt a sense of growing aloneness.

(I once heard that the social networking available to us today is causing a sort of dehumanization. I sometimes wonder. I can tweet with the best of them and while it is entertaining to find out what Matthew Perry is cooking for dinner, I’m not sure it all nourishes the human soul as much as tickles the curious mind.)

On sun-dappled sand, my goal was to walk as far as my pedicure-starved feet would take me and clear my head. I mastered this for about 30 seconds. Catching myself planning my next business meeting, I realized I was totally unaware of the majesty of my surroundings. So I had to break it down:

Feel my feet on the sand as the toes squish in and how the sand feels on my arches and heels. Feel the wind as it graces my face, back, the tips of my ears. Smell. Turn this way I can smell the salty ocean water that way smells a bit like campfire. Listen. I take in the sound of seagulls, the crashing waves, voices of play and delight; See. I had been looking but was not seeing the remarkable sky, water, earth and a little baby toddler running without their pants.

It wasn’t long joy came and nibbled at my neck. My head said hello to my heart and I tasted once again, life is a gift. My life, this vessel, this journey I am on is a gift.

And now, when my head can no longer can hear my heart and the affairs of my day rule my identity and well being, it’s time to take off my shoes and go for a walk… and remember.

You may respond to Jan in the “Leave a Comment” section below or email her at jbrehm@boomer-living.com.

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