I’ll be 45 next month. It occurred to me that this milestone birthday likely marks my true “middle age.” Yep, I am officially at the mid-point of my existence. Half dead, as it were.
The women in my family are a sturdy lot, particularly on my mother’s side, many of them living until age 90 or older. So, this is not naïveté on my part. It could actually happen.
I feel fortunate that I’m more than likely going to grow into a wizened little old lady. If I make it another 45 years, I hope I inherit the spunk of my Aunt Pauline, who was still mowing her 2-acre yard in the heat of rural Mississippi summer just weeks before she passed at age 96.
There’s this marginally entertaining 1991 movie, “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead,” that stars Christina Applegate as Sue Ellen, a teenager who has to go to work to support her siblings when the babysitter her mom hired for the summer suddenly dies. In a not-at-all believable turn of events, Sue Ellen gets a job as an assistant at a fashion design company.
At one point, Sue Ellen’s boss, Rose, tells her that the only correct response to anything she asks her to do is, “I’m right on top of that, Rose.” So she says this over and over throughout the film.
While the movie is not worth much more than the celluloid it’s printed on, Sue Ellen’s canned reply is pure gold. It has stuck with me for 25 years because it IS me.
It’s been four months since my last confession, er, blog.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been mentally and physically hibernating because, lately, everything is just too much for me.
I spent the last half of 2016 feeling overwhelmed. Like I’m shouldering a rucksack full of bricks, standing in quicksand up to my neck. And just when I think I’m starting to pull myself up onto solid ground, something else pulls me under.
The main reason for my overwhelm-itude has been my insane workload, a problem admittedly of my own making. And, as a self-employed media consultant, it’s kind of selfish to even call it a problem.
I’ve often spent time in rooms full of like-minded people who are focused on their spiritual and emotional growth. In one of those rooms recently, someone mentioned a tendency that I am all too familiar with — the extremes of either being obsessed with or indifferent to people, places, things or events.
I’ve been an extremist in many areas of my life, but particularly in romantic relationships — I think about you every minute of every day, or I completely cut you out of my mind and heart. There is no middle ground.
I’ve come to realize that this approach is more than a little nutty and certainly not emotionally healthy. (Perhaps this is why I am blissfully single right now. But I digress.)
I didn’t mean to do it.
I didn’t intend to carry it so far.
I just wanted a taste. Just a tiny boost. Nothing extreme.
But a taste wasn’t enough. It led to another, and another. I felt myself falling into the deep chasm of obsession. Before I knew it, I was full-on in the madness.
Before I knew it, I had … I had … completely redecorated my living room.
Now, I don’t mean to make light of addiction. True physical and psychological addition — to drugs, alcohol, food, sex — is blinding, brutal and ravaging, and it does not discriminate.
I saw an article over the weekend that really spoke to me. In fact, the title could have been, “Amy’s Road Map to a Fulfilling Future.”
It wasn’t though. It was called, “6 Traits People with Attractive Energy Possess.”
It basically said that you are what you attract, and I have found that to be true over my 43 years on this Earth. For the first 35 or so, my energy brought in more than a few people who were not good for me. So for my second act, I’ll be damned if I am going to waste time any more time on toxic relationships.
I try to embody the six things listed in the article every day, but like most things in my life, they are a work in progress. When I was younger, I possessed none of these traits. It is only in middle age that I am able to see their value and aspire to them.
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After 10 years, she's still just saying.