On our somewhat regular Sunday morning walk today, my husband and I saw at least 4 other couples similar to us: approaching middle age or firmly in it, walking together, and looking satisfied with themselves for getting out and exercising.
In a way it made me feel old. Are we really already at that age? Can it be happening to us too?
Other things make me feel old. I have a lot of friends who are only 2 or 3 years younger than I am, yet they just started having kids a short time ago and mine are teenagers and older. I guess I was pretty young when I had the kids though it didn't feel like it at the time. But today when we compare stories on our kids, my friends talk about them learning to walk and talk, while my stories are about first boyfriends and broken hearts.
On the other hand there are some very nice things about approaching middle age. Last Saturday I came home from the gym, where I am free to go just about anytime I want after 15 years of having to negotiate even 1 hour away from home, and said to my husband, 'how about if we go out to eat?' He said good idea, and within the hour we had changed clothes and were headed for Tampere.
Although we had to bribe the kids with money for pizza, and although we went in a very old-fart manner - deciding to go early so we could get home early - we still felt the kind of freedom we hadn't felt in years. Since, well... since we were young.
More and more I find myself in the company of my husband. It's a new thing, I'm not always sure how to react. I have thoughts like 'Wow, is it going to be like this from now on? Just me and him?'
Then I get surprises, like discovering during an evening out with friends that my husband is actually good company and I have a lot of fun with him. It surprises me that that surprises me - don't I even remember why I married the guy? Has it really been that long?
Another new thing is that we have extra time in the day which we can use for hobbies. According to women's magazines we should share some hobbies. I have to say he's tried over the years, asking me to go fishing with him. I've stubbornly replied that I will definitely do that, right after he spends an afternoon knitting with me (some things I do remember from the early years of marriage, and one of them is the discovery that trying to share all hobbies, and especially those that have to do with jokamiesluokka car races or fishing, is just a really bad idea).
But we have discovered that we like to walk and hike in the forest together, and as an extra bonus we are pretty equal in how far and fast we like to go. It's a good joint hobby to start with since at middle age I guess we also have to start getting serious about health.
There are worse hobbies - it seems to me that this spot in life is exactly the point when some people fill the extra time they have with more alcohol - so trying to get more healthy beats that.
But we will have to remind our kids of a solemn promise we once made them give us: the day we start wearing matching tuulipukus, they need to shoot us.
VOCABULARY: Approaching: lähestyvä, Negotiate: neuvotella, Bribe: lahjoa, Old fart: vanha pieru, Knit: neuloa, Beat: voittaa, Solemn: vakava
Kirjoittaja on kotoisin Indianasta Yhdysvalloista. Hän on asunut Suomessa vuodesta 1988 ja työskentelee asiakasratkaisujen suunnittelijana käännös- ja lokalisointialalla.