I began wondering about this particular year of our life when I was still pregnant with our youngest daughter. Roughly six years ago, a few casual calculations were made during the dinner hour that left me wondering if this would be the exact year that I’d experience a midlife crisis. We determined then that this would be a year of unparalleled transitions as we’d send our oldest off to college, our third (who was our baby for the first eight years of her life) would start high school, and the life that was still forming in my belly would enter into Kindergarten.
I’m calling it The Big Shift. The dynamic of our family is shifting as greater independence is making itself more explicitly known on multiple fronts. The rhythms of our family are shifting as school schedules better align allowing more space for me to sort out and pursue vocational wonderings. The shift is understandably manifested in my body too – my final year before I hit the big 4-0 and all of a sudden my gray game is super strong. I’ve resisted dying my hair mostly because I feel more whole when my body tells the truth about my life. And the truth is – this year has aged me more than most.
When I anticipated this big shift way back then at our dinner table, I obviously had no idea the many twists and turns of life that we would encounter in the years ahead. These disruptive years involving a series of medical issues, a job loss and relocation, more medical issues, and even more medical issues have only increased the likelihood of my own midlife crisis. I have felt it approaching one wave of transition at a time. And the biggest of big waves (thus far) has finally arrived.
All of this shifting has felt relatively forced – forced by uncontrollable circumstances, forced by the passage of time, by the universe’s evolutionary mandate. I’m not someone who likes being forced to do anything so I’m trying to take some deep breaths every step of the way. Trying is the operative word in that last sentence. If left to our own devices, I’m not sure many of us would elect to grow, to change, to transition. It’s too awkward, uncomfortable, unsafe and unpredictable. So maybe this forcing of things is for our own good. Or maybe not. I guess it doesn’t really matter because whether I like it or not, my life is evolving. And my identity is shifting or expanding, hence the impending crisis.
As is often the case in seasons of uncertainty, I’m drawn to this practice of writing to illuminate my way, to find my way or illuminate my “self” perhaps. After a long hiatus, a retreat from releasing words out into the wild wild web (I mean the world wide web), I feel a writing surge coming on with ferocity.
But THIS is us right now…on the very cusp of the big shift.