I don’t remember the exact day when I woke up, sat at the edge of my bed and felt scared. A small blip of anxious dread teetering in the background of my mind. In recent months, I had made abrupt decisions to change my physical appearance and I pondered if perhaps this had anything to do with the new unwelcome feeling. I squinted with inner debate and then hastily put the idea and the feeling to rest in the bed I reluctantly got out of it.
Over the next few weeks the growing burden of fear was too much to ignore, I pondered its cause daily. I reluctantly came to the realization that this feeling was actually the byproduct from the thought that my “life”, as I knew it, was over. As if my very existence made some sharp descent toward death. The place where goals, dreams and future accomplishments are blindly surrendered over to the cremator. The image of the naked woman examining her mirror image in Hans Memling’s painting “Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation”* while bookcased by images of death and purgatory, was given whole new meaning.
The acceptance of fear grew into anger so as not to blame myself for this awful situation. I mean, come on, why wouldn’t anyone tell me as soon as I turned 40 years old that I would gain the privilege of wisdom but the grief of losing all hope? The wrinkles set in. The extra weight piles on. The mundane errands rule the day. Self doubt rears its ugly head. Conversations become laden with senseless political viewpoints.
I became part of another generation unknowingly dealing with the onset of middle age years by making rash, inconsistent, irrational decisions. As for my exclusive Gen-X club, full of rebellious natured introverts, this means getting body piercings, large tattoos, quitting a job, going off the grid, buying a guitar or bar, and reverting back to regaining some elusive form of our younger selves.
“Oh hello, welcome to the world of MidLife Crisis, my name is Your Fucked!”
So in all my personal scrutiny, self-reflection and eye-opening research, I came to some pretty stern conclusions.
First, I believe a “midlife crisis” occurs when we get scared. When the life ahead seems shorter and less satisfying than the excitement and energy of the life we are leaving behind. At which point we turn and run away from this misguided terror.
Secondly, what makes the onset of middle age worse is denying our age our entire lives. As teenagers we yearn for our twenties. Then we fight to be taken seriously and act like we are in our 30s. All the while in our 30s, we try to pretend we look like we are 20 (didn’t we just love people complimenting how young we looked and they couldn’t believe we were a day older than 25, yea ok). When the 40’s creep in, we deny, deny, deny even to ourselves the truth of our age. While we are reveling in our new maturity but still lying to ourselves something interesting happens. Circumstances beyond our control start occurring. The aforementioned weight gain, wrinkles, or friends and parents becoming sick, our children begin to journey into adulthood, our bodies ache in every way seemingly possible. Things just don’t seem right and the world starts spinning out of control. Our lies no longer can mask the truth.
Lying about our age, not only in words but actions, destroys any authenticity we are trying to invoke. It dangles the carrot of ‘true self’ even further away, making it impossible to ever reach.
Lastly, portrayal is a dangerous thing and social media does anything but help that. Portraying to be a certain type of person when in actuality being anything but (while hoping you’ll turn into that portrayal) is a complete was of time, energy and emotional stability. While we are depicting some character out of a movie or magazine, we move further and further away from getting to know ourselves and what makes us truly happy.
Combine those three things together (being scared, denying our age and portraying to be someone else) and it is no wonder why middle-agers go off the deep end!
Now back to me. . .Everything I have done over the last 6 years has been a portrayal of someone I wanted to be, not the person I was. I was scared of being myself. I don’t know where or how that happened. That is another blog in and of itself. I do know that I have tried a lot of different hats on. I took a whirl at being a trail runner, a yogi, a mountain guide, a gypsy, an artist, a fitness guru, an aromatherapist, a raw vegan, the list goes on. In the hopes of attaining some other life, I completely lost my own.
I gradually slipped into some sort of stay-at-home-mom hell hole wearing the uniform of leggings, t-shirt, flip-flops and a slicked back pony tail occurred without my knowledge. My so-called “life” was slipping through my fingers as I wasted time trying to be and do things opposite of my true nature. I tried everything I could possibly think of and got absolutely NOWHERE! Then came the day I sat on the edge of the bed and could no longer deny the privilege of being my authentic self even if it wasn’t what I thought I had wanted to be.
How do I get out of this self-inflicted hell? How am I going to be reincarnated?
It starts with this blog post. It starts with a plan. It starts with a mission. If your interested or going through the same situation, you can follow me on my “Mission Find Myself”. I have no idea if it is going to work, but I thought long and hard about the alternatives and living a life where I am lying to myself and the people around me sounds even less appealing.
During this undertaking, I will have no apprehension or pride. I legitimately have no idea of what works or what doesn’t work. I don’t have a fail proof guide and I certainly don’t have anyone to hold my hand. The one amazing aspect of this journey is that I am not alone. There are plenty of people who went through and are going through the same type of circumstance. It’s just about time we shed some light on the matter. Instead of just labelling this horrendous period a “midlife crisis” and shuddering back into non-existence, why not write the rule book along the way?
When all is said and done, I want to come back to the resting place I call “myself”. . . I would love for you to join me along the way.
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