The Challenge of Our 40s: Learning to “Be the Adult”

A sorority sister of mine came in town for a funeral.

A high school friend had lost her dad, and she told me this was her 9th funeral to attend in 6 months. All her friends were losing parents, and we talked about how this is, sadly, our current stage in life.

I have another friend whose mom has dementia. While she is thankful her mom is alive, she misses the strong Southern woman who raised her.

“I just wish she’d call me,” my friend says, “and tell me to get off the couch and quit being lazy. She was funny like that, and I miss it.”

When my husband and I got married in our 20s, we entered the wedding season of life. We had a party every weekend as our friends tied the knot.

In our 30s, those same friends got pregnant, and the celebrations continued as we entered the baby season of life.

Now, in our 40s, the overarching theme is funerals. Everyone our age is either losing parents or taking care of ailing parents. This isn’t a joyful, party-filled season. There is no playbook to go by as the roles reverse and the generation ahead of us starts to depend on us – and slowly slip away.

What nobody tells us when our kids are young is how there comes a day when we realize WE are the adults.

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