Last night the fireflies were out in force. My deck overlooks a small field and they were going crazy with mating lights on full tilt. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I had never seen these little harbingers of the season until my first summer visit to DC so many years ago and of course I was fascinated at the magic they seem to possess. It’s no different today; I can still stand and watch them, trying to see as many as possible in one glance, smiling at the beauty in front of me.
Yesterday was my 45th birthday, which seemed a fortuitous time to watch these tiny blinking messengers. Part of me wanted to go run among them, maybe even catch one of two in my cupped hands, just to hold on for a second before letting it fly away to find a new friend. And the other part of me wanted to go snuggle in bed with my love and settle in for the night. Perhaps this is the true struggle with middle age – knowing your limits and acknowledging you aren’t who you used to be. I watch my boys struggle with the same thing – wanting to be little kids and play and trying to be too mature to swing on a playground.
I was so certain in my twenties and thirties. My forties have brought more clarity but more questions. Part of that, I am sure, is what has happened the last seven years. But I think a bigger part is the (hopefully) naturally occurring maturation process that should be taking place now. I still want to play (and I do) but I also take care of myself and get my sleep. My Grandma is 90 and going strong, so I do feel like this moment is magical. (Also my “new” car just turned 100,000 miles so middle age must be real.) I’m excited for what this year is going to bring. And even more anxious to see the next 45.