A common thread among the conversations I’ve been having lately with women in my life who I trust and love is that we’re all in a weird phase.
I’m not just talking about a few people here and there who feel this way…it has been the overarching theme of phone calls with almost all of my female friends. It could be our age, mid 30s to early 50s, but the ones who do not feel this way are most definitely the exception. For me personally, the only way I can describe it is that I feel like I’m being pulled in another direction, but I haven’t exactly figured out where that direction points. There is a tug in my heart toward new and different things, but I’m not sure how to pursue those things in a way that is financially feasible, so I feel paralyzed and STUCK in place. This has created an immense internal frustration that has resulted in me feeling like a failure at life. Does anyone else feel this way right now?
A friend recently posted this article on Facebook and when I read it, it hit me like a proverbial ton of bricks. If you relate to anything I just said, make a cup of tea and take 10 intentional minutes to sit with this: http://www.oprah.com/sp/new-midlife-crisis.html Ada Calhoun is my hero for reflecting back so many of the feelings I have been unable to put into words.
As I sat at breakfast with a friend this morning we were talking about our work and the dreams in life we want to accomplish, how we’ve given up on certain ones along the way. What do you do when the things you once loved don’t sparkle and shine the way they used to? How do you cope when the glitter turns to dust? I think there are many contributing factors to this place a lot of us find ourselves in right now and these are the consistent ones I keep hearing.
- The division and lack of connection that exists among friends/family/humanity due the current state of the world
- Level of social media involvement
- Desire to stay informed by watching the news and the inevitable depression that follows from watching said news
- Lack of enthusiasm and purpose in the work that you do
- Desire to change careers
- Fear of not being good enough
- Lack of balance from too much on your plate with family, career, and outside activities
- Lack of time for peace and silence where your soul is nourished. Or just lack of time, period.
- Awakening to your true self and not knowing how to exist contentedly in your current circumstances
- Not feeling like you fit in where you live/work
- Having everything and still feeling an empty void inside
- Financial instability or the fear thereof
- Total paralysis when it comes to making changes that might contribute to your happiness
I don’t have any answers, but conversations with others in the same boat have been helping because I realize I’m not the only one. As soon as I lose the feeling of being alone in a lonely place, I’m able to blink my eyes and open them up to a new perspective which will hopefully empower me to get unstuck.
There were a couple of things in Ada Calhoun’s article that struck home with me. She says, “Is it any wonder that women our age possess a bone-deep, almost hallucinatory panic about money? It’s not an idle worry.” And another common theme in conversations, “Maybe you’ve survived downsizing or scrambled back into the workforce, taken on more responsibilities for less money and less respect because you feel you can’t say no. Or because you need the health benefits. Or because you don’t know where else you would go. It all leads to a particularly virulent form of stuckness—being in a job you no longer like, in a career you can’t remember exactly why you chose, with skills that you don’t think will be useful anywhere else.”
My own panic about money centers around whether my husband and I will be provided for in the future. I grew up in a home where the phrases “we can’t afford it” and “we live according to our means” were thrown around like “hello” and “goodbye.” I watched my parents live frugally, steward what money they had with care, eliminate debt, take us on small family vacations, put me through college, save responsibly, and manage to live in an expensive part of the country without major salaries to support that…all while being really stressed about making it work. Even as they look to retirement, the concern of making the finances last looms large. Since we are often products of our raising, I am constantly freaked out by money, worrying that we’ll have enough, anxious about my job going away one day, nurturing misgivings about lack of marketable skills and not being qualified to do anything anywhere, doubting my purpose in life…on and on it goes. Honestly, who has time or energy for that kind of anxiety?!