Do you wake up one day wondering how the hell you got there? One day you are 21 getting ready to go have a beer and hear your fave band. The next day you are 30 and married with your first child. Then, one day you wake up and think - there's a lot of good here but gosh, some things have to change.
I actually saw some of my friends go through this earlier on. I had friends who wanted to leave their husbands. I think they were going through early midlife crisis. Fortunately, they stayed the course with the marriage and one day they woke up and it was great! They felt the upheaval early on, weathered the storm, and came out on the other side. I have friends who are single moms who struggle in some way (or a lot of ways) who confide in me they long for a mate to shoulder the responsibility of life and to share the special moments. They have weathered the storm for a while and are waiting for that day that they wake up and say, "hey, I made it!" And, I have friends that woke up one day and said, "That's it. I'm done." That is the day they filed for divorce or at least put it into motion. For me, it was none of things but I can empathize with all of those situation.
Some of us are happily married and have, as I said, a lot that is good, but the things that aren't, they REALLY aren't. It began honestly several years ago. This nagging feeling of something isn't quite right. We (my family and I) are not living as well as we could. I'm not talking about materially, though that was certainly a part of it. I am speaking of deep down, something is not right, my life is not how I planned or maybe that's the problem and I didn't plan enough. The nagging didn't go away and then we fell into crisis. My father's illness followed by trauma imposed on our family by our child's school and it seemed like our precarious house of cards began to fall. Sounds dramatic. I had (calling it what it was) gone into a deep depression. I wish it weren't true. But, it is. This is the point when I am writing when I take a deep sigh.
Walking into 2020 prior to Covid, I began to take a hard look at myself and what the three years prior had brought me. It was NOT pretty. I had ghosted my closest and oldest friends. and some family members. Not intentionally. Not completely. For my friends, it was out of sight out of mind and as my only sight was keeping my family's head above water, I saw very few people during that time. In regards to ghosting family, it was sort of protecting my heart from being reminded of my grief, which I need no reminder of. I had decided in early 2020 to break free from these shackles (otherwise known as intense depression) and reenter life fully. But, Covid dashed those things. I came out of the gate strong and starting texting old friends and wrote a few letters, but as it wore on my energy flagged in that regard. Well, I stayed on that inward journey last year and feel that in many ways I was rewarded.
I began to re-craft my life and look at what I want and how I want to achieve it, who fits into it and where I want to live it. Then, I began to take steps to make those things happen, including long talk with my husband and the kids as I'm not a one woman show. I enrolled in college and in December will finish an associates degree then start the final leg of my college journey and do something that has been on my heart for several years - teach! I reached out to family members and began to go and see them, though it hurt my heart as they are reminders of the great loss of my father. I reached out to friends that I had lost touch with, perhaps the most important friends, certainly some of my oldest. It is hard to explain to people how you got there or in my case, here.
The last year has been a deeper look into the trauma I experienced growing up (okay, don't vomit as we may all be tired of "trauma" as a lot of us have it) but I have peeled back the layers of some stuff that I had no idea was still lingering and holding me back and seeing some patterns from my parents as well. (There is nothing like realizing you are repeating some things your parents did and quickly changing course to ensure that you stop!)
I know I am not alone in this. The last two years I have seen several friends return to school, in fact, many of them getting education degrees and teaching! I have friends who have lost tremendous amounts of weight and a couple are even competing in weight lifting and fitness competitions! I have friends who in the last year left jobs they hated and purchase businesses for their family that has brought them great joy. Maybe that is why I am writing this blog post. Maybe it is not all about me (just kidding). But, it is to tell others that whatever your circumstance is or choices you have made, there is always a different choice to be made to get you where you want to go. I do believe that.
4 weeks ago I turned 49. I have had some amazing adventures. I have traveled globally, jumped off cliffs, swam with sharks, read thousands of books. seen hundreds of live bands, played an instrument, written a blog, gone to school, loved and cherished friends and family and you know, life in so many ways has been good to me without my even taking notice. Today, I am taking notice and taking charge and it feels great. I don't know what life will bring in 5 minutes or in 5 years, but today I am harnessing the power of the midlife crisis to craft as much as I can in the best way I can. I'd love to hear your midlife stories and how you have changed as well.!