Something went wrong. The me I once knew disappeared almost over night, leaving me with this jobless, hormonal, disorientated, constantly crying woman that I frankly couldn’t stand. I was stuck with a total stranger that was following me around, constantly pointing out what was wrong in my life. To make it worst, when the woman I knew left, she selfishly took with her the freshness of my face, the brightness in my eyes, the softness of my hair, but was cheeky enough to leave all the clothes in my wardrobe that I couldn’t fit in to any more!
Oh bugger. Now what? Is there a job center for the elderly? Youth fountain? Psychotherapy? Time machine? Fitness, diet, new face cream…? Is there a place around here that can fix it all, fast, in one go if possible please, because I am not ready for this. I’m not prepared to live a life restricted to baking clubs, watching the grass grow and dog walking (sorry Luther, you know I love you dearly)…the fuses in my head short-circuited while I was swinging between the dread of the reality before me and the desperation of having no way out.
Looking around for inspiration and support made it even worst. Where were the brilliant late bloomers when you need them? Where were the fearless women I once knew? When did wearing old ladies shoes and baggy trousers became the norm for us? Since when did it become okay to settle for less, to compromise, to play small?
Is this depression? Yes, I think it was depression. Well, not any more. But back then, at the rare moments of clarity, I knew that my toes were touching the bottom and that I was chasing my own tail trying to find a quick fix for this awful cocktail of circumstances and emotions that defined what felt as the beginning of my MIDLIFE.
Reluctantly, after months and months of fruitless struggle, I waved the white flag and started the process of surrender, accepting what was going on in my life, but I never, ever lost a sight of where I decided to draw the line… just beyond my wrinkles. I can accept that my body is getting new lines and that I will not be World Athletic Champion, but that’s about it. I drew the line there and with that line began the attempt to carve my way through my midlife with the intention to sculpt it as close to my ideal self-portrait as possible.
It took me a couple of years to get a better hold of my boat’s steering and lead it from tumultuously rocky into more calm waters. The constant reminders of my not-what-it-once-was day to day life was too overwhelming for me to be able to do it any faster. Still, as the commander of the boat I got to do some pretty awesome things, visible only when looking back through a trail of change that the moving boat left behind – meeting some incredible women that shared the same passion, discovering the remarkable effects of meditation, learning to appreciate simple things, changing eating habits. In fact that process of looking back amounted to a two A4 page list full off things I don’t do any more, then to a very long list of positive things that I do instead, and a significantly longer one of the things I want to do (/be or have).
There is no turning back on this road. Once you start evolving, it gets infectious and you are constantly hungry for more. And above all, as long as you don’t weigh the process too heavily (as I did at the beginning) it turns into something fun and satisfactory.
Sometimes I could swear that Sisyphus was laughing at me… but who is laughing now mister? I didn’t cheat the Gods, only my poor self and you are still rolling that boulder up a hill, mine, however started rolling on flat ground – one thought at a time.