I love iced coffee. A true New Englander, I will drink iced coffee daily no matter the season. I will make it at home but I prefer Starbucks and the baristas at my local store know me by name.
I also love a good coffee shop…the vibe, the smell, all the tasty possibilities…but I digress.
A couple of Saturdays ago, after consuming two cups of hot coffee at home, I ran an errand with my daughter. I told her, “I’m just going to stop for an iced coffee first”. After reminding me I had just finished a cup of coffee at home, she said, “Why do you need an iced coffee right now?” And I said, without really thinking about it, “I don’t need it, I want it. Iced coffee makes me happy.” She responded with, “What are you so UNhappy about that you need to spend money on an iced coffee?”
And I thought…oh…so much.
Life has been hard. A friend of mine recently said that she is not enjoying this chapter in her life and I quickly agreed with her. Fortysomething is hard. Fortysomething means, for many of us, our children are transitioning into adulthood. My oldest is a freshman in college and some nights I walk past her empty bedroom and miss her so much I involuntarily gasp from the ache. My middle daughter will be following her next year begging to be allowed to go somewhere “far”. Every night I wrap up my eleven-year-old in a near death grip hold, silently begging God for her to please just stay little as she wiggles and yelps for me to please just let go.
I don’t want to let go.
I don’t want to let go of any of them. I want to rewind. I want midnight feedings and snuggly babies. I want soft curls and sticky toddler hands. I want to worry about their transition to kindergarten and whether or not they will learn how to read. I want to hear sweet little voices excited to tell me all about their day at school. I want to watch them kick their first soccer ball, pull on their first pair of ballet slippers, play the flute, badly, in their first school concert. I want my babies back because they are certainly not babies anymore. They are smart, talented, beautiful women ready to fly…all I need to do is let go. And this thought makes me unhappy.
Fortysomething also means we are changing. My body is beginning to show its age. I’m achy and tired. I need to color my hair more often to keep away the bothersome gray. I slather on night cream desperate to chase away the multiplying lines on my face. My peri-menopausal hormones have attacked my emotional well being in a battle like no other in my life. My mood goes up and down on a roller coaster that I can’t figure out how to disembark. No amount of exercise, vitamin D, or self-care seems to keep me even keeled for long. My ever busy brain quickly takes something that makes me smile and leads me down a thought spiral into tears. My attitude, quite frankly, sucks about most things these days and I’m struggling to find the positives in anything…or in anyone. Some days I am so unhappy.
Fortysomething means you start to evaluate everything and everyone in your life, looking for that elusive and nebulous golden key to happiness. You wonder if you’ve surrounded yourself with the right people and the right things. Did you make the right decisions along the way? Did you waste the first half of your life on the wrong people, the wrong goals, the wrong pursuits? Are you happy? What’s making you unhappy? What IS happiness anyway?? Again, my busy brain is constantly churning as I wrestle with these questions every day and wonder if I’m missing something, if I should be doing something new or different, or if I should be making a change.
Life has been hard.
I’m doing the best I can. I know I’ll move through this chapter and I’m looking forward to the next, whatever that may look like.
And some days (okay, most days) I’m going to get an iced coffee. Because iced coffee makes me happy.