At what age is someone supposed to go through a mid life crisis and what exactly does this “crisis” entail? When does menopause ooze it’s hot-flash laden tentacles into a woman’s cauldron of already unstable hormones, slowly relinquishing control to the erratic whims of some kind of evil alien puppet master? Is it possible to wake up one bright cheery morning to the sweet song of hungry robin chicks and simply know to the very marrow of your bones that you’re an impostor? A pod person? Not who you thought you were at all?
I vividly remember as a brash and outspoken youth being a staunchly “that affects me how?” and “sucks to be you!” kind of girl. Daring, reckless, rebellious, I was the very definition of teenage angst and drama. I barged through life cloaked in a impenetrable illusion of self-confidence while secretly composing sappy poems exposing the lonely fear of my self-imposed emotional isolation. I existed with ease on the periphery of almost all but the most popular cliques while keeping only a handful of close friends in whom I was somehow never able to bring myself to confide completely and without reservation. I made life altering decisions on a whim and fell head over heels for speed, excitement and the tired anthem of sex, drugs and rock and roll. I could only see what was immediately in front of me and only if it somehow had the possibility of affecting the never ending party I had made of my life. I thought I knew everything about myself. As it turns out, you never really know what you don’t know, you know?
I’d like to think that I’ve matured a lot since those days and that’s the underlying reason that I’m now feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I have, after all, done a lot of living in the last 20 years. I would have lost a considerable amount of money had I wagered back then on whether I would have ever done some of the things I now couldn’t imagine not experiencing. I’ve pursued a career as a pilot, married my soul mate, given birth to two amazing children, launched a new career as a business owner and entrepreneur, and shoved an almost paralyzing fear aside to start writing. But something is still not quite right. I’m having trouble reconciling the girl I used to be with the woman I’ve become.
If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m very much a Type A personality. I need a plan, a backup plan (or two), and only woe comes to those who do not follow the plan. Delegating is extrememly difficult for me and I think I’ve become even more of a control freak (a thought my husband would casually dismiss as impossible) than I’ve ever been in the past. Asking me to “let go” and “be in the moment” is like asking me to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. It may be possible, but the likelihood of it actually happening is probably about the same as Mesthosopholes opening up a ski resort featuring a world class slalom course in Hell.
But I think letting go and being present in the moment is exactly the balm for which my weary soul yearns. I’ve grown tired of schedules, plans, routines, checklists and keeping track of every little detail of my life. I’ve forgotten how to live. I long for the wild abandon of my youth before I began to care about things other than myself. Before work, family, responsibility, there was only me and my own selfish and childish pursuit of anything that made me feel alive. Now, I’ve become bogged down with possessions, responsibilities, social obligations, and countless other small burdens which threaten to drag me under like an extremely unlucky mobster’s cement shoes.
Yet, as I slowly saw through the ropes of the unnecessary sandbags keeping my balloon earthbound, I’ve realized that blogging has been and continues to be a priceless lifeline to the carefree existence of that girl I used to be. Not only have I been able to enjoy the freedom of expressing myself as I pleased, but I’ve also cast aside a small portion of the Teflon cloak in order to share thoughts, ideas and experiences that would have left that daring party girl of my youth hiding in the ladies’ room.
Things change. People change. It’s the journey that counts and although I may not know myself anymore, I think I’m going to enjoy getting to know me better. Maybe even as much as I enjoy getting to know you. Thank you for reading, commenting, sharing and allowing me my midlife crisis, though I may still have to get a motorcycle or an airplane. That’s part of the deal, right?
8 thoughts on “I don’t even know me anymore”
I think if you look back twenty years and do not see a different person, then it means you have learned nothing from your two decades of living.
Not only that, but those of us who stagnate in our development as human beings morph into nothing more than adults with the impulse control and egocentricity of spoiled children. There’s nothing worse, in my humble opinion, than an adult who has never learned to behave as an adult. However, there is something to be said for experiencing what the Universe has to offer as a child would, without fear or judgement and with a sense of excitement and wonder.
I am right there, with you, totally. I’m not sure for some of us the questioning and unknowing ever ends. If you live on the surface, yes, life can be pretty straightforward, uncomplicated, and reassuring. Or, if you’re simply that kind of individual who is more into the doing, rather than the contemplative. I think, in the end, you simply have to embrace your confusion, the angst, and make it work. There may be no destination for you, totally. It is what it is. Life.
Loved this post tremendously!
There are days that I would dearly love to be more into the doing rather than the thinking and so I’ve turned to teaching myself crochet to occupy my hands and empty my mind. But you are absolutely correct – it’s the journey, not the destination, that makes Life worth it.
Loved this post. I had a lot of… uh… ahem… fun as a teenager and into my early twenties. I was self-centred and bold and I pushed the envelope and my parents’ patience to the limit. I have no regrets and I wouldn’t change a thing. Those experiences helped shape me into the person I am today. No harm, no foul, right? But we all grow up, life gets in the way and we push through the best we can. I’m at the stage where I just want to simplify now. I’m thinking a nice retirement home where my laundry and meals are done for me…. Unfortunately, my kids keep telling me that THEY get to choose my home. ROFL!
I, too, am ready to simplify. I have to almost physically restrain myself from throwing all my family’s possessions into the Vet’s truck, tossing them on a one way flight to Hawaii, and buying a shack near the beach, a surfboard and ukulele and making a living selling homemade leis, soap, and candles to tourists by the side of the road. Maybe there’s a nice retirement home near my shack and we can hang out and taste test Mai Tais. I bet if you keep telling your kids how much you’d hate to live in Hawaii, they might fall for it.