Recently, as in last fall, I logged in to my son’s health care portal because my pediatrician wasn’t getting any records from a specialist. To say it’s my son’s health portal is silly, because he’s six. So I have to log in as me, and then navigate to him, as he is a child record attached to the electronic me.
Anyway, when I logged in, I got presented by the generic profile page, with a gray silhouette placeholder avatar, my sex, my date of birth, and my age. 43.
Mathematically, that’s correct.
But that was the exact moment I realized I was 43, and not the 42 that I had thought that I was.
I sat there for a moment, mouth agape. I thought, “Well, yes. 2019 minus 1976 IS forty three.” But somehow, over the course of the past year or so, I had lost a year of my adult life. Quite literally misplaced it.
An entire year.
I have likened it to defragging a disk drive, an analogy that may well fall flat on anyone younger than me. But when you defragged, it would slowly consolidate all of the fragmented bits & bytes into larger, related chunks so that your computer didn’t have to go here, there, and everywhere to find the info it would need to do things. I blame it on parenting – that I initially lost enormous chunks of sleep and then increasingly smaller but still significant chunks of sleep over time that, when consolidated, mean I have literally lost track of an entire year through some combination of sleepwalking through life and misplaced awareness of the passage of time due to sleep deprivation.
And that’s partially true.
But I think it’s also that I am so fragmented. I am still career-ing, although, to be honest, that’s been quite the shitshow for mid-life. I am still married, so I am someone’s partner. I am still a mom.
But what of the rest? I still love to read….but have no time nor attention span so I largely don’t.
I still love to work out, though my body has gone to shit making what I can do ever more challenging. And again, no time.
I still love to bake…but don’t have the time or energy, so I don’t.
I still love to rock out, but hate the expense, the crowds, the finding-a-sitter.
I love to hike….just not here in Phoenix where there are no trees. And since getting out into forest requires a two hour drive that I don’t have time for…I don’t.
I still love to blog, but couldn’t.
I still am many things, many facets of a whole person, but they are fragmented and not whole.
Part of it is for sure the phenomenon of having made choices that have closed certain “different me” doors. My un-academic-ing of myself and then being forced to switch careers closed certain alternate me doors. Choosing to mom made me lock some doors. But it’s also not all chosen by me.
Some of it is also feels less like a choice but as something that happened to me, and that’s the middle aged part that I’m grappling with. And I don’t mean “grappling with” in a negative connotation. More that I’m examining it, feeling it, and also just observing it, mostly without judgment. It’s just that middle-aged me can’t come up with the energy to go find a thesaurus and/or my addled, too-many-tabs-open brain can’t put my finger on the precise word or phrase.