Barely Insane

Its the safest frame of mind in the world today

Midlife Crisis-A lie from the pit of hell?

on November 29, 2012

My morning outlook has changed drastically over the course of this year. This blog is about the personal journey that got me here. Example: we were late again this morning Cason (my 16-year-old) has had the flu all week and still feels awful but attempted to make it through school today. He wasn’t in the best mood this morning with reason. Then Logan (my 13-year-old) wasn’t looking forward to the Social Studies bench mark test he has to take today and dragged his feet while getting ready, trying to put off the school day as long as he could. Justen (the oldest who recently moved back home for a few months while in college) forgot to take his dog out and the beast was banging and knocking against the door to his bedroom hard enough to make me think someone was beating my door down; not to mention my husband can’t seem to understand that when I “dropped my basket” a month ago, I didn’t put all his personal responsibilities back inside my basket to carry for him. Top that off with the strange occurence that after 43 years of life, I have suddenly developed a shell-fish allergy and the swelling inside my mouth has yet to go back down to normal after eating ONE piece of shrimp 36 hours ago..

The question of the day is this. How in the world did I practically whistle through my morning, or feel so at peace inside when this type of chaos would have normally started my day off on the wrong foot?

Perhaps “dropping my basket” has something to do with it, I am not really sure. All I know is that at some point during this crazy year, I learned how to accept each moment as it comes without trying to change the moment into something other than what it was-good or bad; I discovered how to let that moment be just what it was—even if that “moment” literally sucked.

This is nothing short of a miracle for me because I am the type of person who will bend over backwards, while making myself crazy trying to fix something or make things better for others. It’s the female nature I guess, or the result of 25 years building a career out of being a housewife and mother, tending to those I love and striving to create a home life that is stable, secure and welcoming. I believed the words “children are a product of their environment” so I made it my goal to create an environment that would allow those within it to flourish.

Somehow, over the course of this crazy year, I ended up at a stage in life that I didn’t know existed. I have never heard it mentioned before the way I had overheard older ladies comment on “hot flashes or night sweats” It wasn’t passed down to me by a family member from the older generation as a pearl of wisdom for later in my life.  Perhaps it’s a place not many people find.

I somehow stumbled upon a mindset that is filled with an inner peace that allows me to leave a bad moment alone, without trying to change it or make it better. I “get” the significance of the old saying “it is what it is and it is what’s its going to be.”   I somehow let go of my need to transform a bad moment or a bad day into something it just wasn’t. The amazing thing is that with this knowledge came the ability to truly soak in the beauty of a good moment. I can’t count the sunsets I have paid attention to this year, or the times I have stopped whatever I was doing to really appreciate a gorgeous full moon and a clear night sky. I have experienced the laughter and joy over things so simple and fleeting when those same moments use to pass me by without notice. I somehow found this point in life where it’s truly acceptable to take each moment as it comes and being truthful about what is occurring in that moment– and the end result is liberating.

It’s therapeutic because one single moment does not affect the other moments to come in my day. A bad morning does not make a bad day. An unexpected problem does not determine my mood and someone else’s problems and issues do not have the free rein to create turmoil in my life. If I could bottle the recipe or the 5 step program in order for others to obtain this new outlook of mine, I truly believe I could write a self-help book and market it to the masses. I may begin to work on that and instead of calling it “40 is the new 30” I am going to name the book “Crazy is the new Sane”

I used to worry over everything and fear set the tone of my day-Anyone who has ever been a worrier, you know the drill– the way a thought takes hold and then you ponder it until you make yourself a nervous wreck. Those of us who worry; also know that fear is the leading force behind it. I worried over my kids, because I was afraid for them. (This list is too long to name, I feared everything from watching them drive out of the driveway at 16 and possibly having a wreck, to my daughter hopping on plane after plane in her travels abroad. Hell; I even worried they would choke to death playing with a jump rope when they were little, so I took it from them. If it could happen—regardless of the odds of it actually occurring, then I worried about it.)  I worried over my marriage because I was afraid of everything from the national divorce rate to financial security for myself should the need to divorce ever come to pass. I worried over my health because I was afraid of what would happen to my family and all the people I do things for every day, should I not be able to handle everything for them. I worried over the state of our Nation because I truly feared the direction it is headed in.

Then suddenly(or perhaps more subtlety than I realize) after a year of issues that ranged from immense, senseless, trivial and devastating-I no longer had the ability to categorize these events as big or small because by this point even the small snowball was a part of the larger avalanche and equally stressful . Then maybe out of a need to back up and regroup or learn how to cope with stress, I discovered that regardless of how strong you are, or how many people you love and care for—there does come a “moment” in time where self-preservation kicks in. I am thankful I didn’t miss that moment because it changed my life.

I found the ability to break life down to a single moment. That one space in time I was guaranteed to be in. If I needed to say something in that moment-I said it. If I needed to be quiet in that moment, I was quiet. If someone else was bringing havoc into my moment, I didn’t take their garbage into my next moment. If we wake up late and have a chaotic morning, I am able to let it be what it is and roll on through it and leave it in the past once it’s passed.  Notice all the uses of the word “I” and “My”. That is because each moment belongs personally to me and to you. It’s up to us who we decide to share that moment with. We make that choice thousands of times in a day, without even paying attention to it. We may choose a moment of alone time with God; a moment spent hugging a child who needs comforting, a moment helping others, a moment arguing with someone or a moment completely alone. Other people DO NOT own your moments. If you feel someone else or life events are stealing your time; they didn’t hijack it; YOU GAVE IT TO THEM! It’s easy to believe that we choose the good moments in our life, that we are somehow responsible for them occurring, while the bad moments in our life are always someone or something else’s fault. How many times have you heard or even heard yourself utter the phrase “I was having a good day until……” (Fill in the blank with the excuse of who or what ruined your day.)

I discovered I could be mad as hell-disappointed as hell-dumfounded as hell—and walk out of that moment into the next one and find something to be truly appreciative of. I also found that most of the things that made me mad, disappointed or confused me were due to other people mismanaging their own moments and refusing to take responsibility for their own actions or problems.

This led me to a break through moment. One day I was struck with the analogy that human beings may have the ability to shed their skins as they grow, in truth I think we are blessed if we can say we have shed our skin several times during our life. It means we grew. The process isn’t pretty, the peeling outer layer has to come off to reveal the new improved you underneath. The process is painful, it hurts to let go and come out from under an armor you have covered yourself with for many years. But the end result is magnificent.  Imagine how uncomfortable and painful it is for the “snakes” in the world that are still wearing the same skin they did as a child and trying to function as adults in society. Those are the immature joy stealers who refuse to grow and shed their skin.

Living in the moment opens you up to truth.

Have I had a good year?

I can’t answer that. I had some of the best moments of my life this year, and some of the most stressful—the question I can answer is that I was present for the moments in my life this year. I felt each one of them deeply, I participated in them, I owned mistakes I made in them and saw clearly how I had allowed the needs of others to consume too many of my moments instead of simply directing them next door and into their “own moment”

Fear and the worry over what I feared seemed to disappear, because if your “present” in your moment-you kind of see yourself wasting that moment worrying over something that may not even occur in the next moment. Simple but true.

This Christmas, I feel like the kid from the movie Home Alone when he runs around the house yelling “I’m not afraid anymore!!!” If that was what this roller coaster year was about for me;  to finally be set free of worry and fear-to find this place in life where it’s not selfish to OWN my OWN moment, then I’m proof good lessons come from the craziest of times. Now- I fully expect my new outlook on life to be called a midlife crisis; but when you see me post a status from Nevada, and I am not there to gamble but to experience the Burning Man event-don’t judge. (LMBO) because in truth, my status update may simply come from the creative writing class I finally sign up for—the beauty of it is simply I have the freedom and the ability to appreciate the moments that come my way.  I realize that Behavioral Scientist want us to believe that  women are thrust into midlife crisis because they reach a certain age and discover that they finally have the opportunity to do all the things in life they have put off doing while caring for their family. I want to end this blog by saying strongly that I DISAGREE”

It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s shedding our skin. Perhaps the skin I had been wearing over the past 20 years needed to be covered with a thick layer of worry and fear-because the skin I wore before that one from the age of 13 to 20 something, was extremely thin and took offense to everything and didn’t have an ounce of worry or fear woven into the hide, trust me when I say that I feared nothing way back then and took risk so insane that I would cringe if my kids were to ever do the same.

Each skin is needed for a season. I have decided that I won’t buy into the lie that a little bit of shedding and peeling in order to reveal the birth of something new underneath is a “crisis” and meant to be managed. It’s a part of life and meant to be accomplished. We all think that what makes us different from the animals is our ability to reason. Humans are idiots. We “reason” ourselves right into corners we can’t get out of and justify standing there doing nothing, or we take ourselves off to people with medical degrees who are supposed to be better at “reasoning” than we are, and they hand out prozac or xanex to help you ignore the fact you are even stuck in a corner.

Animals are smarter than that. While some humans think our skin stretches to accommodate our growth, others fear that if they keep growing, they will outgrow their own skin, or that it will only stretch so far until it snaps. I think most people by the age of 40 have decided that it is easier to just stop growing  than risk the full-blown, mind snapping come apart that will occur if we out grow our skin, while society screams “you have gone crazy” This may be true to a point, but I am of the belief that we can also accept the possibility that perhaps we have the ability to shed our skin as we grow. My lesson for the year is simply this. Dont confuse the growing pains of shedding your skin as the excuse you have been waiting for to stop growing and settle for less than life has to teach you.

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