Are We There Yet?



I talk too much. 

Countless thoughts are spawned in the fertile recesses of my mind, and are only given a few moments of incubation time before I give in to the irresistible impulse to birth them into the world in the form of unsolicited speech.

The poor people who happen to be within earshot of me tend to get that glazed-over look in their eye, the tell-tale sign that they are bored, praying for the end of the story, trying to find a point, or just simply thinking, “She never shuts up.”

Recently, I decided to channel my thoughts into something worthwhile and less annoying, so I took up writing and dove into my new hobby with vim and vigor.

However, my excitement quickly turned to self-doubt when I realized – who wants to read the mundane rants of a middle-aged housewife? Surprisingly, the clutter of my mind parted like the Red Sea to reveal the answer: My mundane middle-aged life is exactly what thousands of readers want to know about. I mean, who doesn’t wonder, what specifically is “middle age”? Are we there yet? Is there any way to turn around and go back?

We throw the term “middle age” around like so many other vague phrases common in daily vernacular, without really understanding what the words really mean. The definition of middle age is definitely debatable – some believe that statistical life-expectancy charts dictate that one is middle-aged when one is between 40 and 60 years old. But this view is almost universally met with resistance . . . “What? I’m not middle-aged!”

Such non-believers opine that they are only as old as they look, act or feel. But if this vague standard was the basis for determining middle age, I would bet my pricey wrinkle cream that the only people who would admit to being middle age would be standing in the early bird line on senior citizens night at the local Country Buffet, likely wearing pants well above their waistlines and orthopedic shoes, and definitely planning on getting seconds of the tapioca. 

What are we so afraid of? For many of us, middle age represents the real “meat and potatoes” of life, when selfish interests are put on hold for hard work in the form of home buying, bill paying, child rearing, taxes, the struggle to ward off the physical effects of aging, and the battle to keep marriages intact through it all. Gone are the days of carefree self-discovery and unbridled fun-seeking – it’s time to get serious and figure out what the hell we are doing before we screw things up. 

Middle age probably plays the most significant role in determining our long-term happiness. It is during this time that marriages are either cemented or broken, our children are forming their personalities (or criminal tendencies), and we either become comfortable with ourselves or we experience the proverbial mid-life crisis. 

How on earth are we supposed to perform this tight rope act without falling into a deep dark abyss? Truthfully, I have no clue; however, I cannot help but think that if we just sit back and relax, we might just enjoy the ride. Why spend our substantive years pathetically fighting what nature and instinct have dictated for us? I’m not saying we should stop plucking our chin hairs and burn our extra supportive bras, I just think that the key to surviving middle age must be based at least partially on our willingness to give in and embrace the natural progression of our lives with a fun-loving spirit and the ability to laugh at it all.

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Comments: 14

  1. armiger jagoe February 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm Reply

    I just had lunch with your father-in-law, who told me about this splendid blog, and also how wonderful he thinks you are! Wow!
    Armiger Jagoe, editor of The Joyful Catholic

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm Reply

      Thank you for your comments, Mr. Jagoe. Nice to know that “Babbo” was spreading the news. I took a look at your blog — very impressive!

  2. joanna February 24, 2010 at 9:42 pm Reply

    incredible!! i really miss you.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 26, 2010 at 8:50 pm Reply

      Joey! Thanks — I need to get the LB book from you guys and put a few of our old stories on here! “I’m going to shoot you, and I’m going to shoot you, and I’m going to shoot you too, you [expletives deleted]!”

  3. Linda Gerek February 23, 2010 at 5:49 pm Reply

    Enjoyed the essay Lisa!! I guess they have the same dressing room mirrors in Germany that they do in the U.S.
    Keep up the enlightenment.
    Linda G

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 24, 2010 at 10:13 am Reply

      Yep, Linda, the same “fun house” mirrors all over the world. I guess it is a blessing that our eyesight deteriorates about as fast as our figures!

  4. Maz February 23, 2010 at 5:22 pm Reply

    Lisa, You just did the impossible! You made Ken laugh after he had worked up a negative “head of steam” watching Washington Journal this morning.
    Pretty incredible feat considering the subjects were Bank Bailouts & Bonuses, Obama’s Spending Initiatives, and the Toyota Fiasco!!!
    Who knew that your childhood experiences of writing on walls (and Chatty Cathy’s face), venting in diaries & journals, and printing a neighborhood newspaper would result in such wit, wisdom, and talent!
    You and your insightful themes are treasures!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 24, 2010 at 10:11 am Reply

      Dear “Maz” — you are right — it IS somewhat shocking that the scribbles in my childhood diary would lead to decent essay writing…….I think just about every page of my 1977 diary had one sentence, usually what I had eaten for lunch!!

  5. Claire February 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm Reply

    really, really great writing. If I may date myself, you may be the next Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry rolled into one…

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm Reply

      Alas, I am but a scurvy little spider compared to those great humorists…..however, I am honored by your comparison and will try my best to live up to that standard!

  6. claudia gonzalez February 22, 2010 at 11:52 pm Reply

    Great Lisa, Great!!!!, talk about our experineces together, the skip days in high school, the casinos in atlantic city, when I coudn’t understan nothing, jajajaja. many memories together!!!!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 23, 2010 at 10:35 am Reply

      How could I forget those memories, Claudia . . . . You taught me my first Spanish swear words, and even though we had trouble communicating to each other at first, we bonded over jars of Smuckers Hot Fudge!

  7. Kate February 12, 2010 at 12:33 am Reply

    Good essay. Developing “the ability to laugh at it all” is indeed the key. Too many don’t; they progress from angry young to angry middle age to bitter old age.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 12, 2010 at 1:16 pm Reply

      Thanks! I agree with you. There really is a lot of absurdity and humor in everyday life, so why not notice it and have a good chuckle?

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