I’m in Florida this week, visiting family and taking a mini-vacation (yay!), so I’m cheating on my blog. Instead of writing much original content, I’m sharing a passage about being a middle-aged woman that I came across in a novel I just read, called The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton. I recently discovered this author and am in love with her World War II inspired novels that switch between the past and present, interweaving themes of mystery, nostalgia, secrets, letters, romance, and mother/daughter relations. I should add that the “past” heroines are generally in their mid- to late-30s, which was considered middle-aged in the earlier part of the twentieth century.
But first, let me share a bit of what I’ve been up to in Florida. A creature of habit, my days have quickly fallen into a routine. I’ve been staying in my father’s “spare” condo, totally and utterly alone. It’s not a state I’m familiar with, having lived with other people my entire life. I thought I’d be sad and scared and lonely, but I’m actually enjoying the solitude (though I do put a chair under the doorknob of the bedroom door at night, just in case a psychopath rampages through this over-55 community).
Unencumbered by an alarm clock (oh, glorious day!), I’ve been waking between 7:30 and 8:30 each morning. My day starts with coffee and reading a book on the lanai.
Next, I go for a walk/jog on the bridge leading to Hutchinson Island. I’m trying really hard to get these cottage cheese thighs into better shape.
Following the run is yoga on the bedroom floor, a healthy breakfast, and then early afternoon excursions.
In the afternoon, it’s beach time!
By the time 8:00 p.m. rolls around, I’m exhausted and ready to drink a glass or two or wine while reading some more on the lanai.
Now, for the passage on being a middle-aged woman, which in my view beautifully captures in words the way this stage of life sneaks up on us sometimes (pages 155-156 in my 2010 edition):
She was smoking a lot and worrying, and no doubt the war itself was taking its toll, but whatever the cause the woman sitting before her was no longer young. Neither was she old, and Saffy understood suddenly – though surely she had known it before? – that there was something, someplace, in between. And that they were both in it. Maidens no more, but a way yet from being crones…Why hadn’t she noticed them before – all those women in the great in-between? They were not invisible surely, they were merely going about their business quietly, doing what women did when they were no longer young but not yet old. Keeping neat houses, wiping tears from their children’s cheeks, darning the holes in their husband’s socks.
If you have any passages about being middle-aged that you love — original or from a book — and would like to share, please, please do!
In the meantime, have a glorious day!