If you’re a middleaged woman and have teenage children, you may be in serious trouble. Please consider the following scenario, then read the questions carefully and answer to the best of your ability. Try not to panic until you’ve answered them all.
Quick background: Liz and I went for a drive today to listen to Disney music and sing (we’re actually both 6) when the song Under the Sea from Little Mermaid came on. In the song, the crawfish/lobster guy, Sebastian, is singing about his “hot crustacean band” and all its members. Liz heard the line “each little snail ear*, know how to wail here…” and she wondered why Sebastian is singing about snails’ ears. As a singer, she needed to know the truth about this – she might need the details for, say, a test in later life. In case any of you other musicians aren’t familiar with this obscure but important time in the history of music, here it is (as told by me to Lizzie via text):
You know what you get when you get complacent? A kick in the ass, that’s what.
Say you love to sing – like, really love to sing – and you take a singing lesson every Tuesday and it’s the highlight of your week, and your singing teacher is a close friend, and you talk about show tunes and you sing show tunes and you introduce each other to new show tunes, and you get better at singing and you both get excited about that, and when you hear new songs on your Broadway radio station you get excited to tell your friend/singing teacher about them and maybe to work on them with her, and when friends ask, “Are you doing anything with your singing?” you say, “Not really, but I take lessons and do a couple recitals a year and I love it and that’s really all I need,” and you sing in the church choir but not consistently because you have a hard time committing to getting up early every Sunday but even that’s okay because you still have your singing lesson every week and it’s still the highlight of your week, so you don’t pursue singing in any other way, you don’t go out of your way to find other singing opportunities because your Tuesday singing totally fulfills you so you’re perfectly content and complacent with the way your singing life is proceeding… and so what happens then is that out of the blue you get an email from your friend that she is MOVING TO MAINE and that you won’t have her or your weekly lessons come May.
Is it a “thing” that middleaged women tend to look at their lives, their lifestyles, and wonder what their purpose is, where they’re going? Because I’ve had some serious thoughts along these lines in the last couple of months. I’ll share them, but they require a preface, beginning with this shocking news:
I did not nap today.
Once women become middleaged, especially if they have a family, I think we often find we have lost a part of ourselves — that we’ve forgotten what we’re passionate about and don’t spend enough time nurturing ourselves. Do you agree? If so, read on.
I’ve talked about my love of singing before: how I sing along with the Muzak in the grocery store and don’t realize it (until the clerk says, “I guess you like this song”), sing Christmas Carols while I’m walking the dog (I have no idea why it’s always Christmas carols) or, like many of us, in the shower. I am blessed with a family that not only supports my singing in theory, but they never, ever ask me to shut up (though sometimes when Lizzie and I are singing together in the car, she’ll tell me not to sing so loudly because she either can’t hear the radio or herself).