Friday, August 5, 2016

The Awakening





They often say you won't realize you're going through a midlife crisis until you're already in the midst of one. That you won't be able to recognize the signs and symptoms happening in your own life until someone looks at you and says:

"You're having a midlife crisis."

This happened to me recently (in not so many words) when my older sister subtly sent me a quote about the changes that come with midlife.

My first thought?

Surely, I'm too young for this. I'm only 37, for heaven's sake. And let's be honest. When you hear the words midlife crisis, you probably think of a balding, overweight man with a gold chain and way too much chest hair protruding from his unbuttoned shirt. He's driving a little red sports car with a girl half his age in the passenger seat. At least, that's the image conjured up in my mind. But when I read the words from my big sister, everything I have been feeling lately suddenly started to make sense.

We had just spent a weekend at the beach together at our family reunion after not seeing one another for years. We sat in our folding chairs with our feet in the sand and talked for hours under the shade of our umbrellas, catching up on each other's lives and sharing secrets that are reserved only for sisters.

I spoke of feeling restless. Out of sorts. Like a stranger in my own skin.

I couldn't really put my finger on what I was feeling, but I knew that something was happening to me. I could feel the winds of change. In all of her big-sisterly wisdom, she texted me this gentle nudge from Dr. BrenĂ© Brown's Wholehearted:

Midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear: 'It's time. All of this pretending and performing- these coping mechanisms that you've developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt- has to go. Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy and lovable, but you're still searching and you're more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can't live the rest of your life worried what other people think. The time has come to let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are.'

These words resonated deep in my soul.

I thought, "Yes. Of course. This must be what is happening." But the thing about having a mid-life crisis is that it really doesn't feel like a crisis at all. It feels more like a rebirth. A revival.  A renaissance of sorts. It feels like an awakening. Or, as Brown calls it, an unraveling. It's an unraveling of your stringent expectations of yourself as a wife. As a mother. As a woman. And as a human being.

It's as if, after all those years you spent offering yourself up as a living sacrifice to everyone else who needs you, a guttural voice from deep within finally cries out:

"ENOUGH!"

A survival instinct kicks in and you suddenly come up gasping for air. You realize that you have given up so much of who you are that you're in danger of completely losing yourself.

For good.

You must remember who you really are. Who you were. Back before you began giving bits and pieces of yourself away. You must determine who you are now. When you allow the safety of the words wife and mother to fall away. Because you are not just someone's wife. You are not just someone's mother.

There is so much more to you than this.

The midlife is a time of reclaiming yourself. Of staking claim. Of laying hold of all the possibilities for your life. No holds barred.

I hereby declare the midlife crisis to be a perfectly normal transition.

It's a rite of passage. Not something to avoid or be ashamed about. It's actually something you should look forward to and embrace. Because after years of emptying yourself, it's now time to invest in YOU again. It's time for you to focus on personal growth and healing. 

It's time to let the winds of change take you where they will.

Are you ready?





2 comments:

  1. Oh this post makes a lot of sense to me. I have been feeling this restlessness for a while. It is such an odd feeling but this post makes such a sense.

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  2. I'm so glad, Kerry! Thanks for reading and commenting. XO

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