Is that all there is?

June 15, 2018

Start your Mid-Life Crisis now. You don't know how long you are going to live.

It’s such a cliché, the mid-life crisis.  Even now they have something called the “quarter life crisis” that supposedly Millenials deal with around age 25.  I struggle with my own identity being born in 1981 as I’m on the cusp of being a millenial or being Generation X.

Those of us born the year Reagan was shot, can’t even commit to a generation, let alone a mortgage/career/marriage.  (Though, I have all 3).  So I’m reluctant to call what I’m going through a “mid-life crisis” because, hell, I’m only 36.  This can’t be mid-life, can it? But seeing as I’ve been married almost 10 years, been a home owner half that time and already have 2 kids, maybe I’ve achieved all the benchmarks for a mid-life crisis just a little on the early side.  Damn me and my over-achieving.

So, I’m peeling back the layers of my alleged “mid-life crisis” and I see a theme, mostly each statement starts with “I’m not happy”.  I’m not happy with how my life has turned out so far.  OUCH.

Okay, so I have to take responsibility for that right? I mean, I can’t blame it all on my upbringing/spouse/economic climate, can I? It would be so much easier to blame it on all that shit, but like, that’s not gonna make it any better right? Dammit, this is MY responsibility.  I’m the one who chose the mortgage/career and marriage that I’m in.  No one held a gun to my head, and yet, these choices don’t always feel super fulfilling.  Maybe more like the default decision. Is that all there is?

But, I love my home and I love my husband, so that’s 2 outta 3 that I maybe mostly got right?  That leaves career.  This is the stinkiest layer of the onion. My head is spinning with….

How important is career to my happiness? What in a career defines success for me?  What am I good at? What do I enjoy? What should I do with the REST OF MY LIFE???


So, naturally, I asked about it on Facebook.  Most of the responses were from men talking about sports cars and dating younger women.  The women were mostly commenting on male mid-life crisis not on their own.  Do men get the jump start on mid-life crises because they have the luxury of the time to think about it? Women are so busy running the household and raising the kids, maybe they aren’t noticing being in the midst of a mid-life crisis until they can’t get out of bed some mornings (me)? I’ve known for a while that something wasn’t totally in alignment with work, but I didn’t really have time to think about it as I chugged through my day working, taking kids to after school activities and trying to get dinner on the table.  I love what Brené Brown says about pain,

“Pain is unrelenting. It will get our attention. Despite our attempts to drown it in addiction, to physically beat it out of one another, to suffocate it with success and material trappings, or to strangle it with our hate, pain will find a way to make itself known.” 
― Brené BrownBraving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Ultimately, the pain of being out of alignment has finally gotten my attention.  Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis, maybe it’s a quest for true belonging, or maybe I’m just bored.

There’s nothing I love more in life than a PLAN.  Follow this plan and you’ll get into college, get the lead in the play, get to buy a home, get a promotion, etc. etc.

Now is the murky part where I have to sit still and listen, do some reading, ask questions of others and myself, and just marinate in it, until the plan reveals itself.  Most of all, I’m going to focus on doing the things that “feel good” and avoid as many Kinks as possible.  Tap starts to flow again and then, flip the script to “How does it get better than this?” For right now, I don’t know. And admitting that is a triumph in and of itself.







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