The definition of the middle generation for me is the generation that currently has senior citizen parents and are raising children. The middle generation is where I’m currently located.
We seemed to be extraordinarily stressed out over the last year in a half. For a while, I thought it was just the pandemic but then I realized that being in this middle generation meant I wasn’t just worrying about myself and my spouse but also the health of my parents and my kids.
When the vaccine came out and all of our senior citizens got vaccinated, it helped but then my worries shifted to my spouse and I. Then we got vaccinated and it shifted again to my children which is where it has sat since.
On top of all of that, those of us in our late 30s and early 40s had to finally look mortality straight in the face. It’s not something most of us have had to think about yet. We were just starting families and needed to be there for them. All of a sudden, we had to be seriously aware that something could happen to us and we would have to think about our children’s futures.
I think this middle generation has had an especially hard time because we’ve taken on the worries of our entire family. It’s not limited and it doesn’t stop. I find that if I’m not worrying about my kids in school, I’m worrying about my parents working or doing every day errands. It doesn’t stop. It just shifts.
And it’s not just covid anymore. We have grown so accustomed to not getting sick due to masks and distancing that even a minor cold causes more worries than it should. It’s strange because I definitely remember a time when, as long as my kid didn’t have a fever, they were fine. Sneezing and coughing was no big deal. Not so anymore. Every thing out of the ordinary is a stressor. It’s like I don’t know how not to worry anymore.
This is without mentioning that being around crowds of people immediately brings out high anxiety. Even smaller groups of people whom I know are vaccinated will keep me thinking for days after the meeting.
I don’t know how to go back into an easier mindset. I don’t how long covid will keep me in this headspace. I feel like it might be a few years before I feel at ease with regular illnesses. It might be several events where I’m overcautious before I go back to feeling safe around other people.
There has definitely been a shift in how those of us in this middle generation live and think. I guess the big question is will we ever learn how to relax again?