I found myself googling "mid-life crisis" this summer. Part of it was turning 35. But that (come on, its just a number) wasn't entirely the issue. I felt unsettled, and strangely disconnected from my life. Objectively, good things were happening. But I kept getting this "now what" feeling.
Finally it dawned on me. For as long as I can remember I've been striving, striving, striving. Education, overeducation, training, career, meeting a mate, planning a wedding, struggling to build a family, buying & fixing up a house....there seemed to be one thing after another to aspire to, and I rose to each challenge, rode the temporary high that came from fulfillment, and moved on to the next.
Now here I was, done with education & training and having received an offer for a job at my current institution. Married for 6 years, in a little townhouse that we've finally fixed up to a reasonable status. A healthy, happy toddler and his little brother on the way.
Oh my god. This is my life. This is IT. I'm an adult.
And its not how I pictured it. Obviously, in my earlier fantasies, I imagined I'd be overcome with deep inner happiness to have finally arrived at this place. Calmly and joyfully navigating my fantastic marriage, fulfilling & successful career, fully enmeshed in making a comfortable & beautiful home, and the ultimate joys of motherhood. Mmmm....yeah. Not so much.
Anyone who's been here knows what I'm talking about. Parenting a toddler is physically and mentally exhausting. Work---even work you have studied and trained years for--can be boring and demoralizing at times, not to mention the endless anxiety of competing for ever-shrinking funding in the current academic climate. Marriage is hard, especially when both parties are stressed and tired. And the house---don't get me started about the absolute crock of the "american dream of home ownership". Cue financial worries. And aging, ailing and financially needy parents and the resultant family drama.
This isn't adulthood. This is EXTREME adulthood. And it all kind of comes on at once, doesn't it? Has me sometimes overwhelmed, wanting to run, hide, get away and get back to my old life. Or jump ahead a few years to where I'm sure everything has worked itself out, and I'll be calmly and joyfully navigating my fantastic marriage, fulfilling &
successful career, fully enmeshed in making a comfortable &
beautiful home, and the ultimate joys of motherhood. Oh wait....
I'm coming to terms with the ultimate "secret of adulthood". That life is full of bad weather and happiness is not about sourly enduring until the sun comes out, but of cheerfully weathering and even ENJOYING the storm.
So Ana begins....to change her own mind.