So yesterday, I was feeling a bit heavy. I was thinking it was the combination of short days, dark clouds and pouring rain that had something to do with it.
I was wrong.
As I noticed that I felt a bit weighed down, I asked myself, “What’s up?” The answer I got was not what I expected. It didn't say, “Man I’m tired.” Or, “Wow, I am feeling overwhelmed with all the things I would like to do today.”
Nope, not at all. So, what did my inner guide tell me? “I am not living the life I thought I would live…” This was spoken in a sad tone, not a celebratory way.
Huh, my life is pretty darn good. What do you mean I am not living the life I thought I would live? I sat down with that thought. I looked it in the eye, and felt into it’s heart.
Oh…. now I get it.
So I pulled my husband aside and I shared with him my thoughts and feels about “Not living the life I thought I would.” He smiled and said, "Is this what a midlife crisis is?"
What, me, midlife? Ahhhhh!!!
But wait, perhaps that is true. Mid life “questioning.” Maybe that is what happens around the age of 40. There is a moment were life rears it’s head and says, "look at me, am I what you thought?"
I think it is good that life presents us this question.
You see, as we age, we hopefully grow. We either become the person we were meant to be, the person we think we are suppose to be, or some mixture of the two.
I believe that we often make choices about our lives when we are young adults starting us off on the path of “suppose to.” Along that journey one may start to feel a disconnect. The path is boring, stressful, empty and uninspiring. So, you stop.
(insert mid-life here)
At this moment, you have three obvious choices:
One. You start bushwhacking your own path, heading to the mountaintops you see in the distance. It ain’t going to be easy, but you sure as heck refuse to keep living life as you know it.
Two, you choose to take a trail junction, heading down a new path. One that has been travelled by others, but just not as frequently.
Three. You continue down the same empty path.
This is the “Mid life question.”
What am I doing with my life? Is this where I want to be? Is this how I want to feel? What is missing? What new choices can I make to put me in a place that is more align with my deeper desires?
You see, I always thought I would live more of an “unconventional life.” I didn’t see myself having a home with a white picket fence and kids and dogs and soccer balls. I just didn’t see myself living a “normal” life. I am sure some of this stemmed from the fact that I grew up in classic conservative white suburb America. That was the life we were “suppose” to live, and for the first time in my life I really wanted to rebel against the “should.”
I wanted dreadlocks in my hair and Birkenstocks on my feet. Well only when I needed to wear shoes, otherwise I would be barefoot. I would be hugging trees, talking to the plants and singing to all living creatures. I wanted to be self sufficient off the land, and not wear deodorant and play in nature everyday. I wanted to be connected to the earth and her rhythms. I didn’t want a television, I didn’t want to live in labels or have letters after my name. I just wanted to be a mostly clean, except for my feet, hippie. To me, that sounded happy. Joyful. Full.
Instead, I live in a city. I own a home and two cars. I have shelves, closets and cabinets full of stuff. Much of my life energy is spent in front of a machine, and very little time spent in nature. The creature I sing to is my cat, and I cut down the tree in my yard. Yeah, no wonder I felt heavy. I am not living the life I imagined.
I also thought I would be some hard core, bad ass athlete. I wanted to be and feel "special."
At our core we all want to feel special. We want to feel that we have a gift. The truth is We Do!! We become so blind to that reality because we all get shuffled onto the same trail and all attempt to live the same life. No wonder we don't feel special or unique!
That is why the “Mid-Life Question” is so powerful. It is gives us the opportunity to step into our power and makes new choices. We can make a shift.
Sure, it’s possible that we may not be able to live the life we ultimately dreamed, but we can bring our current life closer into alignment.
So, I have three questions for you. Grab a journal or a close friend and dive in.
- Take a moment and look at your life. Are you living the life that you want to live? (Are you the person you want to be?)
- What is one choice or one action that you can do in the next week that will bring you closer and more in alignment to that dream?
- What is one thing you can celebrate about your life, as it is, today?
As we ask ourselves these questions, a lot of emotion most likely will emerge through the holes we have punctured into our reality. You might feel empty, lost, disappointed, sad, or angry (just to name a few). This is good. this is exactly where you are suppose to be. Mourn. You are losing the life that you thought you “should” have and making room for the life you want to have.
Sounds strange, right? To mourn the life that you want to let go of. I think it is normal and healthy and 100% necessary along the journey of life. If you want to make a change you have to feel sadness and pain for what you are leaving behind… and you also need to celebrate what you have and how it has served you. You can do both. Be sad and be happy. It might seem crazy, but it's not. It's human.
You make room for the new when you embrace the old.
Kinda like when you finally decide to dispose of your favorite pair of jeans. Ratty. Dirty. Full of Holes. Yet also full of memories, and lessons. There is love there. However, with three buttons missing, a broken zipper and a hole in the crotch, you realize they no longer can serve you. They no longer bring you joy. So you say thank to your jeans, and you let them go.
We can do this with our life as well. With the beliefs we have and choices we make.
Each moment we are given another opportunity to move closer to the life we desire.
Listen. Look. Opportunity is all around.
Today, I am grateful for the Mid-Life Question. It keeps me present to my inner guide. It gives me the opportunity to check in and ask the harder questions about the bigger picture. Is this where I want to be? How can I change that?
So it turns out that “crisis” is just an opportunity after all. We just have to be willing to ask the question. “What’s up?”