Don't start with me on my age, and whether or not I can actually be considered "mid-life". This conclusion has been reached by scientific analysis and careful consideration of my familial track record where life and living are concerned. It appears, if one considers a mother who had triple bypass at 47 and a father who was struck with cancer at 58, that I am indeed in my middle years...if I'm lucky. It may very well be that I could, in fact, be considered quite geriatric. My husbands people, on the other hand, tend to just keep on living until they decide they are quite done with it. His maternal grandfather passed away at 99, and only then after he'd announced to all and sundry that he was quite finished living, thank you very much. His paternal grandmother, now 92, is living independently and only last year quit mowing her sloped yard on her riding mower. She did slip and fall off of her ladder while painting her bathroom ceiling, so that has curbed her activity somewhat. When one extrapolates the data it doesn't take long to discern that I am, in fact, going to leave my gorgeous hubby at the mercy of the nursing home hotties.
In all seriousness, when one considers one's own mortality, it is easy to slip into a maudlin sense of the macabre. One shouldn't. We are all going to die; what matters is what we do with the time we are given, no matter how much time that might actually turn out to be. These thoughts so frequently lead to that eternal question which has plagued man from the time of creation; what is the meaning of life? How many great minds of the ages have pondered and pontificated on just that point? To me, at my advanced age, it seems that the answer to that question is really quite simple. I feel that there are really two meanings of life a) to give love and joy and b) to find love and joy.
When one takes the time to really break down the things that matter, and that will last, that are of eternal significance, I suggest to you that one will find that they are all fundamentally linked to love and joy. Love-loving your fellow man, and expressing that through showing compassion, patience and giving; loving your family, and recognizing their intrinsic importance in your life; loving the minutia, and finding pleasure in a beautiful sky, or a great meal, or a hearty laugh. Joy-bringing joy to those around you; taking joy from the mundane and the magnificent; bringing joy to the everyday. I know to some this will sound simplistic, but if you find the time to really investigate what makes a life worth remembering, I will suggest to you that it will always be through the love shown, or the joy brought to the world by that individual.
So, on my tombstone, I can think of no better epitaph than "She brought love and joy to the world"...and considering the family track record, I may need that tombstone sooner rather than later.