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Luskin: Second Adolescence

So far, I’m finding middle age to be like adolescence – only better. Sure, my body’s changing in alarming ways: I’m again developing bumps and hair, but now the bumps are where my waist was, and the hair’s on my chin.

During puberty, I worried over every blackhead; now, the normal, age-related vision changes of presbyopia spare me from seeing the age spots dotting my face. And the exquisite confusion of hormones and ignorance of my first adolescence isn’t plaguing me this time around. I’ve moved out of the hormonal swamp to the clear air above tree line, and I’m enjoying the view.

It’s from this lookout that I can see back to the fraught years of wondering if I was lovable, followed by years of wondering if my children would ever grow up.

Well, I am and they have, and having solved the unknowns of first adolescence allows me to enjoy adolescence this second time around. Without the distractions of dating and mating, I’m able to focus on being the writer I still want to be – for as long as my word retrieval works.

For now, I have no plans to retire. This isn’t just an economic decision, but also a function of time, which I can see is running out.

In my first adolescence, I thought I was immortal. In my second adolescence, I know that I’m not.

So I’m doing things I love to stay active in body and mind. This includes writing more books, acquiring new skills, and maybe one day cradling a grandchild in my arms.

About this last, I have no control, so I have to be patient – and take care of myself.

In addition to hiking and hunting, I practice yoga, which helps keep me both physically and mentally flexible.

I read.

I think about playing the piano again, and maybe relearning French.

And even though I’m an immigrant to electronic technology, I force myself to learn what I need to navigate in the digital age.

This doesn’t seem to include figuring out how to make my smart phone turn on my TV.

In this second adolescence, I eat better, exercise more, and I floss.

I also think about death.

I think about death in the car, in the garden and at my desk.

And every day, I’m grateful for my “wild and precious life”.

Deborah Lee Luskin is a writer, speaker and educator.
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