|Help! I'm in a midlife crisis and I can't find my way out!|
Eccl. 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
At least after adolescence the first time around, you came away with a perky body parts, beautiful hair, and smooth facial skin. When you reach your 40's, you're figuring out how to survive the changes of life while dealing with forgetfulness, wrinkles, white hair, muffin tops, and drooping, sagging body parts. You've lived and experienced life, but now you're practically being forced to reinvent yourself because life as you knew is not the same . . . and you're trying to figure exactly who you are, who you thought you were, or who you should have been in the first place. It's a time full of questioning, fears, and doubts.
- Who am I? Where have I been? Where was I going?
- Where did I put my medicine bottle? glasses? remote? keys? car? children?
- What was I going to do next?
- Which doctor am I seeing next week?
- Uhhhh . . . why did I come into this room?
- OMGosh! I've turned into my mother! (Love you, Mom!)
- Life is passing me by and I'm on some old slow horse that can't keep up.
- I am the old nag that can't keep up.
- I doubt these bottoms are going to fit over my bottom!
- I swear I wore I size 12 last week!
- I doubt I can stay awake through this entire two-hour movie.
Seriously though. I'm forever fussing at my youngest daughter because she sometimes won't try new things if there are people participating that might perform better than she can. It pains me so to see her struggle with self-doubt and self-acceptance. I'm always telling her that she doesn't know what she can do until she tries; that even if she doesn't 'win', her life will be richer for trying; and she might be sorry one day if she doesn't give it a shot and with all she's got. Those words of encouragement finally paid off on a recent Saturday.
We had a dairy show a few weeks ago, our second of this season. It was a big state show and I know she came into it with so many doubts since our first show (a much smaller one) didn't turn out as well as she would've liked. She seriously thought she'd picked out the worst calf in the bunch to work with this year. But I knew that day when we first saw her that she'd be a great one, and I think Baby Girl did too. But then she had begun to doubt her ability to know a good calve/heifer from a not-so-great one. She'd been doing this going on two years. Why was she doubting now? On the day of the weight class competition, I told her she had a great heifer and that she had made the right choice. And I prayed like crazy . . . not just that she would win, but that God would bless her with wonderfully good things that day. Amazingly, she won first place that day in her class and went on to compete for division champ. It was her first blue ribbon in showing dairy heifers and what an encouragement that was to her! It is something she will never forget and it would've been something she would've missed had she given up. I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I think of what God gave her that day.
But then, there is me. I've had kids at home with me for twenty-two years and have been married for almost 25 years! But now . . . now, things are changing. When I was younger, way before I met Mister, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. And I went after it with gusto! I got married, had a houseful of youngin's, and quit work to take care of my home and my family. Three are on their own, Little Mama graduates this year, and Baby Girl in just over a year. Where does that leave me? The answer to that would be the blank, confused look you see on my face. You know the one; it's what you get when you ask your kids why they didn't clean the kitchen after supper last night, why they didn't do their homework, or when the dog was last fed. Nobody, but nobody, told me that the years would pass by like a whirlwind and that I would doubt my ability to do . . . anything . . . my value as a someone other than 'mama'! Nobody ever told me that I'd question who I am now that my role in life is changing. I'm. Not. Ready. Where is the 'pause' button? And, NO(!), I'm not talking about menopause. But if I believed that God could and would bless my child and help her through that difficult show, then why can't I believe that He'll bless me, too, and help me through this difficult change in life? If I believed Him enough to trust Him to help me raise all these chldren, why am I full of doubts during this most difficult change in life?
Why is it that I can encourage my children in their life pursuits, pray for their success, and believe that their dad and I have done a pretty decent job at raising them . . . and yet, when it comes to me and my dreams and hopes for myself, I am so afraid to even try? Why do I feel 'not good enough'? Forget dying from old age or anything like that. Fear is killing my life! And while I say this almost jokingly, there is more than a tinge of truth to it.
Learning to navigate this midlife crisis is a frightening sometimes overwhelming journey and it seems like I'm only in the beginning stages. I still don't know where I'll be going from here, what my purpose is, or who I'll be when it's all over. Truthfully, I'd rather deal with a sullen, discouraged, frustrated teenager than with . . . well, my middle-aged, cranky, frustrated, unsure self. But just as I survived my own adolescent years, and the ones I survived with my five children, I'll make it through this season in life as well all the better for the wear and tear on this aging body. And when I come out on the other side, there'll not be a 'new' me, just an improved continuation of the woman God wants me to be.
Now where did I leave my . . . ?