Even after we had to roam the campus for a while trying in vain to find his classroom, he wasn’t the least bit nervous about me leaving his side. In his typical “I’m too cool to have a Mom” style, he didn’t return my goodbye when I wished him a fun day and left, with both a pang in my heart and a spring in my step.
After I picked him up at the end of the day (turns out he HATES ceramics, but thought wood working was cool), I marveled at his courage. Yet, he didn’t think he’d done anything out of the ordinary. And I realized he really hadn’t. He’s been to several camps this summer, each filled with new experiences, teachers and fellow campers.
Children don’t question change – it’s simply part of their everyday life. They’re growing physically, emotionally and intellectually. They are used to new teachers, classmates, coaches, teams, babysitters and camps.
(Maybe this explains their consistent and stubborn refusal to eat vegetables or try new foods – you gotta draw the line somewhere!)
For most of us, once we become adults, life stops demanding that we change. We settle in to careers, homes and marriages and, at least for a little while, relish in the sameness of our everyday lives.
No more first dates, new jobs or new roommates. Life becomes predictable and, damn, doesn’t that feel good for a while.
Enter the midlife crisis. Whether triggered by a milestone birthday, a gut-wrenching diagnosis, the unexpected death of a childhood friend or the end of a marriage, suddenly facing another day just like the previous one becomes intolerable.
Perhaps the midlife crisis is our spirit’s way of pouring a bucket of cold water over our complacency and reminding us that change is not only a good thing, it’s vital to a full and vibrant life.
Unfortunately, stereotypes about midlife crises exist for good reasons. Although the end result is often a healthier, stronger and more spiritual you, they tend to leave friendships, finances and broken hearts in their wake, along with outdated clothing, unfulfilling careers and dysfunctional relationships.
Is there a way to wake up at midlife without going through a crisis?
I believe the midlife crisis happens when we stifle those messages, dreams and desires for one year too many. Our spirits long to be free and to live at their highest expression. Ignore them for too long at your peril.
What if we took some time for ourselves every day and really listened to the messages from our gut?
What if we decided our dreams, desires and goals were not only worth having, but worth changing for?
So many of us play by the rules our entire lives. We step into the roles expected of us: wife, mother, daughter, hostess, loyal employee.
Often we stepped into those roles without even asking ourselves what we really wanted. Those roles provided security, which is hard to resist at any age, but especially in our 20’s and early 30’s.
But now that you’ve passed the 40 mark, you may – like me – have found you care less and less about security, since you know it’s an illusion anyway. By midlife we’ve all experienced grief, heartbreak, loss and fear. And we’ve come out the other side with our wits still about us.
Once you realize you don’t need to cling to security, you can gather the courage to speak up for what you want and need in this very brief lifetime we are all blessed to experience.
But first you have to know what you want. Many women simply don’t slow down long enough to listen to their hearts, or they discount the message as impossible, lofty or downright terrifying.
I truly believe the solution to all the world’s problems starts with each and every one of us living our real purpose on this planet. Who are you to mess with putting an end to the world’s suffering? It’s your duty and solemn obligation to this planet to spend some time getting to know your deepest desires and then doing everything in your power to make them happen!
I think Helen Keller said it brilliantly,
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.”
Have you been stifling your deepest desire for one year too many? Are you bravely hiking the trail of your true purpose? Share your experience below and join the discussion!