Midlife

Do you ever feel like you're running on a hamster wheel? Then, suddenly, out of the blue something sticks in the wheel and sends you flying? 

That's a little what midlife has been like for me so far. When I turned 40, I was excited. No, really. I was! My 30s were rough, so when 40 rolled around, I was ecstatic. That year, however, turned out to be one of loss and grief and awakening that bled into the following year. Then, 2017 was a doozie and just about pushed me over the edge. Now, in 2018, at age 43 I feel much like I've just been chucked off the little running wheel into a confused daze. 

I thought my midlife crisis was over. I thought losing a parent was enough to cover that whole crisis and awakening gig. I fully expected to move into this year and beyond with courage and clarity. 

Man, was I wrong... 

Here's the thing. I'm not sure I will ever be 100% clear on anything. I'm a gut person. Sure, I think about EVERYTHING, and I research and make lists and all the things; but, at the end of the day, I go with my gut. It's how I've always operated. 

Can I be sure my gut has always led me to the "right" path? Nope. Can I know that my gut always speaks truth? Not really. 

I have definitely made some mistakes and gotten lost along the way. I've also learned some things and hope to God I don't make the same mistakes twice. 

Where I am now – in this next, perhaps continuing midlife crisis – is trying to trust the process. I really like answers and direction and knowing. Crises don't normally lend themselves to those as far as I know, though. So, here I am, wondering where in the world I'm going. When I'll arrive. What the next place will look like. 

Sometimes I trip over wisdom from favorite people. Barbara Brown Taylor is one of those sages I have often heard from when I've most needed it. This week I was looking through podcast episodes and noticed that Oprah had interviewed Barbara on Super Soul Conversations podcast

I needed to hear it. Maybe you do, too. 

I think life rarely goes as we've planned. Mine sure hasn't. I love Barbara's metaphor of life as a sailboat. I'm being tossed around a little right now, but I don't want to miss the nuggets of wisdom and joy and grace in each day. To miss them would be to miss my life. I've done that for far too long. 

I know I'm not alone. I hope, if you're sharing in the struggle, you know now you're not alone either. 

Part of me, no matter how I resist it, keeps searching for a destination. An arrival. In the Hebrew scriptures God tells Abram to pack up his things, gather his people, and go. When Abram asks where exactly they're off to, God basically says, "I'll let you know when you get there." 

I've always related to this story. And, I'm always wondering when I'll get "there" and where exactly "there" is and how I'll know when I've arrived. 

What if "there" is here? What if "when" is now? As Barbara Brown Taylor says during the interview, what if I could plant myself on my red "X" and ask how to make the absolute most of this moment?

It's a hard concept for me. As much as I practice awareness and being present in the moment, I have this sense of the not yet. I don't want this to be all there is for my life. I still feel so lost and unsure of myself. But, what if this is my learning for midlife? To learn to stand fully present, in the moment, making the absolute best of whatever my circumstances. 

Oh, that I might learn quickly so as to capture every ounce of what is being offered me. 

May it be so...