When I first joined Facebook in its youth, it was because I wanted to keep in touch with my grown daughters more. They led busy lives, had careers, partners, and were raising children. We lived 3,000 miles apart. They were hard to reach. It seemed like a great solution. If I couldn’t get the phone or face time I craved, at least I could keep up on their lives through Facebook. I would at least know when my granddaughter won an award at school, or my grandson was a hero on the basketball court. So I signed up and waited for the happy, touchy, feely thing that was about to happen – a family reunited through the magic of Facebook. It was then that I discovered what no one had told me; Facebook has been taken over by mid-lifers.
And while we’re on the subject, you may as well know. We are not actually mid-lifers. My daughters, in their forties, are mid-lifers. We are only mid-lifers if we plan on living to be 120 something. I know. It’s a brutal truth because it took us this long to even admit that we may, possibly, might, be approaching middle age. There are many reasons that we think like this, none of which are our fault. Of course.
But here’s the main reason; we feel like we are still youthful. Okay, there are all those aches and pains that surface on a regular basis, but inside, we still feel like little kids. Yeah, we’re older, some of us are wiser, and the rest of us are just a lot more fun. We’re not filled with all the angst of youth, all those questions, will I be a good mommy, does my husband still find me attractive, will I get that coveted promotion, are my boobs still perky after breastfeeding? But we’re still feeling mentally agile, physically competent, and we’ve still got it. It being the fire in our bellies, the desire to create, the sense of humor, which, by the way, is more well honed than ever, the desire to be part of making a better world, and this wonderfully assured acceptance of our place in it.
Sure, we miss the things of our youth, the joy of a house full of laughing or squabbling children, the certain knowledge of our place in the world as the hub of our family’s existence. We may miss a partner through death or divorce, parents who have passed away, and good friends that got lost over the years. But this new place we’re in is kind of magical all on its own. Many of us are retired or semi-retired, either just kicking back and doing fun things, or finding new activities in which to invest ourselves. Some of us are excelling at new careers, traveling, doing some exploration, of the world around us and the world within us. It is an exciting time to be alive!
And Facebook has become an integral part of this time of life for many of us. Maybe we don’t see our kids or grandkids posting very often, but we’ve made many new friends and reconnected with others. I’ve found relatives I didn’t even know existed, loved and comforted a dear aunt in her declining years. Thanks to birthday reminders, I never miss wishing someone well on their special day, and I have a community of people, many of whom are my age, to share the highs and lows of my days. We’ve reconnected with old work friends, kept up on news and technology. And cute kitty pictures. We’ve promoted dogs who need new homes, friends’ blogs, photographs, paintings, or a new book they’ve just had published. We’ve gotten together in person with people we got to know through Facebook, only to find out that we have a really good friend in some cases, and in others, that perhaps some friendships should remain on Facebook.
So whatever we really are, midlifers, old farts, or something in between, Facebook has been good for us, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be quitting it any time soon. This current older generation is pretty much tech savvy. I saw a gray haired woman at the farmer’s market last weekend sitting at an outdoor cafe and texting as fast as any 30 year old, though she was easily twice that age. We all have cell phones, computers, and other gear, and are not afraid to research and shop online. We take up new hobbies, careers, volunteer work, or go back to school. How could we not feel youthful at this time of our lives? We need to invent a new word that means active, happy, involved, creative, fun loving, computer savvy, older adult. If you can think of one, post it on my Facebook page, would you?