Am I in some sort of midlife crisis? I don’t really know what that is – other than it brings to mind some “older” guy driving around in his bright red race car with some chick half his age reapplying her lip-gloss and taking selfies of her and her “cute” puppy “Princess.” Obviously not a picture I hold in high regard and thankfully not one that could easily apply to my life… But the phrase has crossed my mind recently. I am at a crossroads, I certainly have uncertainty, and I don’t really have a direction at the moment. But I don’t think that my age has much to do with it and I know I am not in “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.” I also don’t think my MS has anything to do with it. It is certainly “there” each day and as always, I have to make adjustments according to how I feel, but I don’t think I put any limits on what I can do because of it. It is just that I don’t have the answers…yet.
What I have been experiencing seems much more uplifting and positive than anything that could be construed as a “crisis.” There is certainly something going on, some sense of unrest or unease as I try and figure out what the hell I am going to do with my life. It is literally not knowing what it is that I should be doing (as in the big picture with career & goals, not remembering to swap out the laundry or make dinner, although that is sometimes a problem as well.) Not having things to do, places to go, people to see, is new. My life is different these days. Different has no negative connotation, it is simply just not the same. Maybe it is alterations in what life has been like for a long time that leads one to be in a midlife crisis? Maybe it is the uncertainty that leads people to do crazy, weird things that seem to be “out of character?” Am I going to start doing weird, crazy things that seem “out of character?” Cause that could be fun?!?!
According to Dictionary.com midlife crisis is: a period of psychological stress occurring in middle age, thought to be triggered by a physical, occupational, or domestic event, as menopause, diminution of physical prowess, job loss, or departure of children from the home.
- “Physical event” – well shit, I’m pretty sure the arrival of the chronic pain would qualify for that one.
- “Occupational” – well yup, as a matter of fact, I was laid off about 18 months ago, so another check.
- “Diminution of physical prowess” – truthfully I’m not completely sure what this means, but I am assuming it has to do with not looking as “good” as you once did and bingo, yet another big yup. Thanks to the “wonderful” side-effect of weight gain that came with the medicine prescribed to me for the chronic pain I find myself living in a much larger shell that I am accustomed too (translation I feel like a fat frump these days:)
- “Departure of children from the home” – this one is an obvious check for anyone that has been a stay at home parent for years – those damn tiny people became my life. They were what I lived and breathed for from the moment they arrived. And they need me…every single minute of the day, and often many minutes in the middle of the night too. They looked to me to protect them, to keep them safe and make good decisions on their behalf. They were always there, either in person or in my plans (drop off, pick up, make dinner, help with homework.) That continued year after year after year…until it stopped. Because that is what happens – if I have been successful. If I have managed to get my kids safely out of toddlerhood, through their elementary years, and beyond the endless challenges of young teen life, then I have succeeded. I have created people that, in theory, are ready to go out into the world and do whatever it is that they are going to do. Because that was my job. To raise good people, that are well adjusted, kind and thoughtful and who are ready to go out and be all that I knew they could be. So, yeah me, job well done, but it is still another check on the “potentially in midlife crisis” list.
But even though I check all the boxes I still say it’s not a crisis. Because I am not panicked. I’m not stressed. I seem to be developing a better understanding of exactly who I am -beyond the limits set by external circumstances (mom, wife, girlfriend, MSer.) And as that gets stronger, I am beginning to put together a map of where I would like to go, what I would like to do and who I want to be.
But if it’s NOT a “crisis” then what? I need to have a “label” for it – everything has a name around here. I tend to look at things in extremes – if it’s not one thing then maybe it is the complete opposite of that thing. So I googled “crisis antonyms” and this is what came up:
Ok – I could go with any of these…I could probably pick any of these words and be able to give it an application to my life and this “Midlife thing” I have going on at the moment. For instance “Midlife Agreement “- I am certainly in agreement with my pain feeling better. I am in agreement with my decision to try cannabis and I am in agreement with the things it has reintroduced into my life. I think divorce agrees with me and I most definitely agree with being in love. So plenty to agree with…OR “Midlife breakthrough” – I have most definitely had breakthroughs – many more since I started using medical marijuana. Breaking through the pain has allowed me to see many things much more clearly. I also think having the opportunity to spend time with my “grown up” children and get to know them as the people that they have become (rather than the little peeps I used to orchestrate” around) has allowed me to break through the ever-present label of “mom.” It has enabled me to begin to imagine once again being something else other than just “mom.” I’m still not sure what to call it – to encompass all of those words…
Maybe I should call it my Midlife Moment?
I can then simply say “I am having a moment.”
After all – if I apply two things that I have learned over the years, which is; everything happens for a reason and this too shall pass, then I know that this is just a moment in time – just a phase and that it won’t last forever. Much like parenting, when you think there will NEVER be an end; that dirty diapers and potty training will always consume your every waking moment. Yet miraculously, one day, you find yourself sitting at your child’s high school graduation – your heart swelling with pride for all that your child has accomplished and I can almost GUARANTEE you – being able to not shit their pants and use the “big boy/girl” potty is not on any list of what they have achieved. Because it was an actual “accomplishment” for a blink of an eye – just a blip in your child’s life. Way back, when you were in the moment when you were living it, when it was consuming your days and thoughts, it seemed like it would never end – and then it just did. The problem was solved, the lesson learned, and life went on and it was smooth sailing… until the next phase hit.
Because that is just how it is – things change, things happen, things continue to roll forward. We make adjustments, find solutions and life goes on. So…if I continue to move forward, and make strides each day to better myself, discover ways to practice kindness whenever I can and to help others, find things to love and appreciate – I am pretty sure this “Midlife Moment” shall pass and that it will soon be a vague memory in my scrambled up mind.
Hopefully I can get through it BEFORE I purchase the red race car, pick up a 20 year old and her dog and hit the road!!!!
**This is my personal blog and all opinions are my own. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one here on my blog. The content here is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to replace the advise of medical professionals. Be sure to contact your doctor before trying any new medications/vitamins/supplements, physical activities or therapies **