My youngest recently asked what she should be learning in high school? Math? Science? Social skills? College preparation?
While all her points had merit, I answered a bit more metaphorically.
I suggested she become a sponge.
She broke out in laughter.
“You want me to hang out in the kitchen sink?” she asked.
While I had envisioned something a little less literal, I had to acknowledge her comparison that high school was a bit like the kitchen sink with its mix of good, bad, wanted, discarded, curious and challenging.
I went on to suggest she absorb it all – curiosities, interests, things that scare her, things that challenge, hard work, friends, her mistakes, theirs.
Adolescence is a time to build backstory. In a few short years the adult journey begins, but for now, it’s all about gaining perspective. Her emotionally-driven, highly-sensitive sense of self will ingrain these fledging experiences into her very marrow. Lessons to serve her for life. Joys to provide solace during difficult times. Life skills that will only sharpen over time.
Middle age, on the other hand, is interesting. As women, our child-rearing years are behind us. Consequently, our roles are shifting in our children’s lives. Family dynamics are changing. Marriages are evolving. Careers are either succeeding, stalling or taking different paths.
We have an immense history to reflect upon and an unknown future ahead. The generations who have come before us were tight-lipped and hushed of these transitional stages. While they shook up the dynamic, they were mute on the process. Our generation now bridging between the closeted and the open. The Boomers versus Gen Z. We are the thread that binds the two.
Our generation has their stories, but we choose the ones we wish to share. Transparency a fancy dress we try on when the mood fits. Have we asked ourselves what we are telling the younger generations? What advice are we giving? What examples have we provided?
This coming December, I launch yet another story. Unlike those beforehand, this one is real. The plot happened. My family lived it. I hope on some level it resonates, inspires, and some where along the way, gives a voice to the challenges we all face as humans. While our obstacles are not all the same, for each of us, they are no less real.