You watch those movies where they talk about having a mid life crisis. You reach a point in your life where you realize that your youth is long gone and what lies ahead of you is just death. So, you freak out and start evaluating every choice, every decision you ever made. You wonder if you had gone left instead of right, would you be somewhere different? Would you have that mansion? Would you have that fancy husband or wife? Would your kids be in a better place? Would you even have kids? So many things happen in your life, your choice and life's direction, that conspire to lead where you are today. I have thought a lot about that lately. I am to turn 40 in a couple of months, a very strange feeling. I can honestly say twenty years ago I don't know if this is where I saw myself. But while some want to scratch their entire life and buy that new car, to trade in that tired family, I am perfectly content in my personal life. I married a man so perfectly matched to myself that traded him for a younger version would be such a silly choice. I have a kid who is an adult now. While I didn't always make the right choice as a parent, what I gave her an incredible amount of love that will never falter. But then, as we all do, I look at my career and realize that while this is not where I intended to land, I still have a choice in my trajectory.
My entire life I've worked jobs because I needed to pay the bills. I took opportunities that I was very qualified for but didn't have much of a future. Let's be honest. I didn't finish college. The opportunities that were laid out for me have been more in the moment jobs. Sure, I could manage a restaurant. I have more than enough experience and smarts to be successful at it but I no longer have the physical drive to do so. And, yeah, I could move up in an office environment but eventually that just leads me to retirement. The day to day grind has never excited me even before I started getting this "I'm-almost-40-what-am-I-doing" mentality. Even the excitement of being a bartender, of the never knowing who was going to sit down on my stool started to become old. And I realize more every day that it had nothing to do with where I was working or what kind of pay-the-bills job I was doing. It has more to do with what has always been inside of me, the chances I never gave myself. Was it out of fear of failure? I don't know. Maybe a little. I watch my kid not do things because she gets scared of failing. If there is a chance it might now work, why try? I wonder if I unintentionally taught her that. When I was 18, my art teacher told me I would never make it. I didn't have enough talent. No one would be interested in anything I drew or wrote or created. I just didn't have what it takes. I wish I could look at that 18 year old girl that I was and tell her how much horse shit that lady was. So, I didn't try because why would I when she just told me I would fail? If I could avoid that rejection, then I would. I sit at my desk and I listen to these people on the other end of that phone complain and yell and imply that I am the reason for their distraught. It starts to get to me after awhile. However, the more that toxic noise goes into my ear, the more I hear myself saying I can do better.
I sat in my car the other day for awhile. I was listening to music, just thinking as I stared off before I started my day. I started thinking about this mid life crisis theory and it made me laugh. If this is a mid life crisis, then it's not a bad one. I don't feel a need to self sabotage. I don't feel a need to completely uproot my life because I am not fulfilled. The thing is I am quite fulfilled in every way except in one. I feel like I am on this momentum. I am drawing more, writing more, allowing myself to feel more. I am taking my time to really figure out my life, all it's pieces and how I can make them work together. For some reason, this is where I am right now. Where I have been doesn't really make all that much of a difference except for the lessons that my life has taught me. I was talking to my mother the other day. I told her that the more I draw, the more I feel this energy trying to tell me something. The more I feel the direction I am supposed to go. With each line, with each word I get more clarity every day. I am not destined to work a job that just pays the bills. Maybe that's never really been my path but it's been a necessity and that's OK. Sometimes we take our own time. Today is the anniversary of losing my father. He's been gone for four years now and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him. One of the things that always rings through my head was his belief in me, this pure and unrelenting love that he never failed to show me. I think about how I shrugged him off, thinking that he only believed in me because I was his daughter. The older I get though, I realize the reason he believed in me was because of me, not because of this obligatory blood connection. Maybe it's him whose trying to tell me in my lines to not be afraid to fail anymore. If I do, I do but what beautiful lessons it will teach me.
I started looking into going back to school. Maybe that is a mid life crisis thing but does it matter? Isn't the point that I make the effort to try? It's not about how proud I would make him or my mother or my husband or even my kid. It's about how proud would I be of myself, right? It would be 4 years in college. Sure, it's a little late in life but what the hell? Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I see that 18 year old girl whose self confidence just got shattered by an adult who should've known better. I see how bright her eyes are, how hungry that drive still rages, and I think don't I owe it to her to at least try? We get older and we forget about who we used to be. It's so easy to think of who we were as cute before the world got a hold of us but there's something valid in that innocence that we can still live by. Listen I am not able to run marathons or work on my feet for 16 hours a day or stay up past 10 much anymore. What I can do? What I can do is try. Going back to school will be tough. I still have bills to pay, still have a family to take care of, still all of these adulting things that need to be done. My responsibilities won't go away because I'm choosing to add more to my journey. What will happen is that I will be able to have more opportunities to better myself, to provide more for my family, to let that 18 year old girl who wasn't given a chance to finally shine. I know this sounds like some romantic fancy, an idealistic view of this hard life but without hope life is bleak. Is this a mid life crisis? It may be. Or maybe it's just time I gave myself a chance.