I’d say a successful weekend of music and art at KahBang proves once and for all that the younger generation of Bangor, Maine is more than ready to take over this city! I say we get out of their way and let them at it! Also, If I wasn’t aware already, my old lady status became perfectly clear to me when despite the assurances of a good time by all, I was content to listen to the music, crowd, and rain from my cozy spot in the corner of my couch!
Oh don’t get me wrong. I can often be found downtown having dinner or listening to music with friends but as you get older, a “great night out” changes and it doesn’t need to last ‘til the sun comes up to be counted a success! I’m not ashamed to admit I just need more sleep than I used to. Some nights I come home from work, eat dinner and hit my bed with a good book before it’s even dark out but that’s okay because the great thing about this point in my life is that I get to do what I want!
At some point I became a middle aged woman. I can’t say exactly when that time was. I think I was so busy raising children, working and trying to keep a marriage together that it just slipped by me. Middle age can be frightening for lots of reasons. Whether you have survived an unexpected divorce, you are suffering from empty nest syndrome or you are just coming to terms with your own mortality; it is a time that can cause you to question all you’ve known and believed in during the first half of your life. Very much like the teen years, we also experience fluctuating hormones (men and women!) and changes in our bodies that can completely throw us out of whack! Whether we’ve put on a few pounds, developed a bad back, gone grey, or lost our hair completely, middle age can really dent your self-esteem if you haven’t braced yourself for it!
We have also lost the innocence of youth, that anticipation that the future is going to be great and that bad things won’t happen to us because bad things already have, in fact, happened to us! In middle age you know, without a doubt, that life includes both joy and pain. These things happen to everyone. You will either use this knowledge to learn to appreciate every single moment or you will let it cripple you.
Someone asked me recently to picture my future, to think about what it would be like if I woke up one morning and everything was exactly as I would want it to be. My first thought was “oh I’m not falling for that again” because I’ve pictured living happily ever after before and we all know how that turned out!
Yet, I’ve been thinking about this over and over all week. What would my life look like if I just gave in to happiness again, if I dared to dream, and why shouldn’t I? The thing about surviving all the tragedies of your life is that you learn how strong you are. I know that I’ve learned I am far stronger, and far more resilient than I’ve ever given myself credit for! Whatever life has handed me, I’ve managed somehow to get through, and sometimes to come out even better for it!
I’ve done a lot of growing in the last few years and growth is often painful. Growth is also good, and necessary and vital to the health of any living being. Growth is also necessary to the health of a city. Our city has done a lot of growing lately; it’s been thrown a few curve balls, gone through some unexpected times. Some of it has been good, and some has been very painful. We’ve gone through some things that have made us question all we knew and believed before. Yet, I have confidence that the people of Bangor are resilient, that we will continue to grow and learn from all we’ve been through!
What do we want the future of our city to look like? Let’s picture what it would be like, if we woke up one morning and it was all we wanted it to be, and then let’s work together to make that happen! If you live in, work in, or just plain love Downtown Bangor please join us this week for a Downtown Town Hall Meeting. The City of Bangor and the Downtown Bangor Partnership are sponsoring the meeting on Wednesday, August 15th at 6pm at Penobscot Theater. I hope to see a good mix of folks there, both young and old!
Oh, and don’t count me and my middle aged friends out on the late night dancing yet. It’s just a little over a week until the American Folk Festival where you may just find us whipping it up in the dance tent until way late in the evening . . . say 10 pm or so!