The Midlife Crisis
I was flummoxed by it in the beginning but later forgot about it till the time it hit me squarely in my face. The unraveling of my life was not quick nor painstakingly slow. It was at a medium pace in the beginning and then the pace took my breath away. I had officially become a victim of the midlife crisis.
I saw friends around me disgruntled by the way their life had turned out. It was as if suddenly everyone around me was just unhappy, crabby and feeling bitter.
My own midlife crisis was like peeling away old skin and donning a garb that was so much more comfortable. This process of catharsis was none too easy and involved embracing thoughts and processes that I would have never dreamt of in my twenties and my thirties.
After trying to meet expectations, fulfilling other people's wishes and burying hard truths in favor of being agreeable, I was faced with an existential crisis. I was fighting hard to keep the status quo of trying to be perfect. The walls that I had built around me so that no one could peek in and find out how messy and wild my heart was, were threatening to fall down.
The days when you are so angry or the day your heart gets broken into a million pieces are all tucked away safely behind facades we create. The armor of cynicism and the coping mechanisms that we create to fool others no longer make sense. The armor starts to crumble nudging you towards opening your eyes and dropping the sham.
My midlife crisis shook me up from a deep slumber and kicked my butt really hard. It wanted me to be my authentic self so that I reach embrace my potential. It wanted me to shed unwanted baggage.
People face a mid-life crisis in different ways. Some sail through it, embracing it with just a bit of flutter in their sails while others like me wander into the stormy seas with sails torn to shreds.
I was slammed pretty hard by it. All the things I thought were important to be happy and feel safe went out of the window. Life shook me by the scruff of my neck and threw me into a swirling pit of anxiety and self-doubt. I had an identity crisis. My belief system was shaken up and I no longer could rely on my instincts as I had in my twenties and thirties. This unknown territory was strange and scary but it had a promise.
Slowly but steadily as this unknown territory started becoming familiar, I stopped pretending to like everything and everyone. I reached inside and brought back the quirky side I had as a child. I started decluttering my life with ferocity. I no longer was interested in maintaining relationships that added no value to my life. I stopped reading books midway just because they did not resonate with me. I drifted off in movies that were popular but did not move me an inch. I stopped trying hard to make a point for the sake of it. I let go of people, I let go of social commitments, I only did what I wished to do and did not force myself to get burdened by unnecessary things that sucked the joy out of life. The best part was that I was able to draw boundaries and keep people from crossing those boundaries. The things that felt super hard felt easier.
I have embraced my midlife crisis like a long lost friend. Though it upturned my life in the beginning, today, it is a familiar face. It is still making me learn new things, but I now welcome it as a gateway to new adventures.