MIDDLE SCHOOL AND MENOPAUSE: WHAT IS LIFE INSURANCE, ANYWAY?

By Sara Pines, 52  @sarampines

I seemed to have reached an unsettling milestone demographically.  Every medium I turn to.. social media, tv, junk mail.. I’m getting bombarded with life insurance ads.  Is the universe trying to tell me something?

Here’s the thing.. my daughter is in middle school.. I’m middle aged.. flirting with the outskirts of menopause.

I have life insurance through work.  I have a retirement plan and equity in my home.. enough to get her through college.. god forbid I’m not here for the long haul.

But the concept of life insurance is making sure my daughter is “taken care of” if anything were to happen to me (especially important, since I’m a single mom.)  But with all these ads bombarding me.. as I think about it.. that’s my job, everyday:  make sure she’s ready for the future.

The lessons start early.. don’t touch, hot!  Say “please!”  Say, “I’m sorry.” Hold my hand when you cross the street! (actually, she’s now 12 and she still likes to hold my hand when we walk sometimes.. she pointed out the other day that now, when she holds my hand, it’s to feel closer to me and when she was little, she would try to be further away, wriggle out of the hand and ‘do it myself!’  Sometimes, she really surprises and touches my heart when I least expect it!) 

But now the lessons are bigger:  Stand up for yourself.  Learn how to compromise with your friends.  Build bridges when kids aren’t getting along.  Ask for help when you need it.  Offer help when someone else needs it.  Try to listen and understand someone else’s point of view, even if you don’t agree with it.  You can disagree without getting personal.  Be honest but try not to be hurtful when someone shares how they feel about you.  Don’t make prank calls, that makes you a “mean girl.”  Isn’t that life insurance?

Now, we’re getting into first crush territory, and I’m worried about her getting hurt.  My instinct is to protect her but I know, weathering early romance only makes you smarter for more mature romance later on.  I hope!

I want her to learn everything she can about the world.

I want her to have fun.

I want her to have dreams and work really hard to make them come true.

But most important, I want her to be a good person… live by the golden rule.

I never really understood the insurance products:  “term” versus “whole life” anyway… I just want her whole life to be of value.. to her and others.  That’s the insurance I am trying to provide for her with life lessons that include navigating the good and bad, the ups and downs.  And learning how to deal with the hard stuff.. mean girls, sick loved ones, hard homework.. is what toughens you up for what comes up in life, later on.

I guess, what I know is:  for me, “life insurance” is assuring she lives a good life.. everyday.  And I don’t need to clog up my feed.. or my brain.. with all those ads.

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