I cleaned out my kitchen cabinets this weekend. Tossed a bunch of expired stuff that wasn’t expired last year when I started my W30 journey… I didn’t know when I started if I was going to completely give up food that required ingredients like corn starch and baking powder. I threw out 2 garbage bags of expired grocery store tea, baking ingredients and other miscellanea that I didn’t need anymore. There’s a ton of room in my cabinets now. Everything is nicely organized and I have lots of space to add new spices or new ingredients in. I don’t know what it is that I’m going to put in there but time will tell.
Okay, now. In the last few years I’ve spent a lot of time cleaning out my emotional cabinets… tossing expired stuff that wasn’t serving me anymore. I’ve tossed ingredients for a life that I am no longer living. I’ve cleaned up all the shelves, made a lot of room for new ingredients, new experiences… new things and ingredients to serve my current life.
And now, with all that clean, shiny, organized space, I feel more lost than I did when it was cluttered up with crap. What do I put on these new clean shelves? What ingredients are missing? There’s a lot of room and I don’t have a lot of direction for what to stock myself with.
My friend says that 35 is typically a time of awakening and of getting a lot of personal work done and sometimes a time of intense personal crisis. Maybe ‘mid life crisis’ is actually not when you’re halfway through your life… maybe it’s now… at a turning point of trying to determine what the 2nd third of your life is going to look like.
All I know is that I am a lost little bird. I don’t know what the next chapter of my life is going to look like. The last ten years haven’t been awesome (to say the least).
The ‘advice’ that I’ve gotten so far is to ‘keep living’ and ‘do things that make you happy’ and ‘eat right and exercise’ and other really non helpful things. This is not about food. This is not about how many times I run a week. It’s not about the everyday mundane things like washing my face before bed or putting my laundry away as soon as it’s done. It’s a huge, universal question mark about where my life is going. Maybe some people are blessed by being able to go through this ‘mid’ life transition with little thought or effort… maybe some people don’t even notice it happening. I know that for me, my life up to now has been waves of extreme and I feel like the answer to this journey is going to be something extreme too. It has to be. It is not possible or acceptable for me to just drift through the rest of my life in its current status quo. There is nothing passionate or inspiring or ground breaking about my life now and that is not okay. I am a dynamic and passionate individual and that deserves to shine through.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not depressed. Or sad. In fact, I’m most of the time, reasonably happy. But I am happy tempered with confusion. Happy, tempered with an unsettling sense of drift that I don’t know how to resolve. In moments it makes me INCREDIBLY crabby… almost irrationally so. In moments, I can’t speak a word without tears running down my face. In moments I forget all about it and am just my silly, loving, fun self. Sometimes my silly, loving, fun self takes over for days at a time… and then, like I forgot that something is going to happen, my heart races and I remember… like when you have a sudden panic that you’re going to be late for something.
It is very difficult for someone such as myself to not be able to control this outcome. Sure, I can control a lot of stuff, and I do… I can control my diet and exercise and social activities. I can control how much rest I get and what nice things I do for myself in order to keep a good attitude and outlook. I think everyone needs to control those things in the course of living their lives, regardless of whether they’re going through a state of transition or not. I’ve learned that treating myself the best I can is actually a service I’m doing for myself and while it may not solve every little thing in my life, it certainly doesn’t harm or make any situation worse.
I typed a sentence here saying that if anyone has gone through this type of change before, to please weigh in… and you certainly can. But I don’t know that it’s going to help. Each journey is personal and unique to the person journeying it.