One of the things I’m working on is being my authentic self. Part of being authentic means being vulnerable. This is very difficult for a perfectionist who wants everyone to see them at only their very best. So once again – here I go – stepping out on a limb. Below is an excerpt from my journal last month. I was having a bit of a “freak out” as you will soon see. But in the end – it was all for a good purpose. It has led me to where I am right now. Since this entry I have changed my perspective a bit. Sometimes a girl just needs a good cry, a good “freak out” and a shift in perspective to totally change their life.
I just turned 43 a few weeks ago. And I think I’m having a bit of a mid-life crisis. I look back over my life and realize I no longer have my whole life ahead of me – my time is becoming limited. It is time for me to figure out what I want to do and to do it!
I realize I’ve been working at a career that is smart and practical and that I am good at, however it is not something I love or even enjoy. I enjoy some aspects, I get a bit of fulfillment from some items and I like the people I work with. But I don’t look forward to my job, I dread it. I don’t feel fulfilled or accomplished. I feel depressed when I think of following this path until retirement or even another year. I’m burned out!
The only time I feel truly happy and content anymore is when I watch my daughter play basketball or the boys wrestle, when I spend time with my family or when I am reading or writing.
I feel like I have lived my entire life since college – or really even before that – my ENTIRE life living the way others think I should. I have made choices based on what was practical and/or my fears. So many things I have avoided or not done because I was afraid or it was not the practical, smart and/or safest choice – it was what was “best” or needed for others.
I know many people live their lives this way – especially moms. But I don’t want to live like this anymore! I want, I NEED a change. A BIG change! But what? And how do I do it without totally turning my back on my most important responsibilities? How do I take a leap and do what I need to do for my own happiness and sanity, without abandoning or letting down my immediate family?
What do I even want or need? How do I figure that out? I know I need a BIG change – but I don’t know what it is, let alone how to do it.
I read back over that journal entry from less than a month ago and I feel the anxiety and despair again. It is horrible. But that no longer reflects where I am right now. What changed? My perspective – how I approach and look at the situation. But I had to get to this point of being so low before I could see that something needed to change.
In this past month I have come to realize a couple of things:
- I have some absolutely amazing friends (and little brother) who have my back no matter what. I have a support group who loves me for ME. These past few weeks have driven home what I wrote about in yesterday’s post. That I am worthy of love and acceptance no matter what I do or don’t do! I’ve always had this, but I just did not realize it fully until the last few weeks. I rarely allow myself to ask for help which means I rarely have allowed these people who love me to actually support me!
- Most of my unhappiness and anxiety was being caused by ME!!! I put so much pressure and responsibility on myself. Expectations which nobody else put on me. And this was killing any joy I might be getting out of my work. And I blamed it on the work itself, when in reality the root cause was ME!
I still don’t love my job – BUT I do find I’m starting to enjoy it and I do love the people I work with. I’m learning a ton and the areas I don’t like are short term in nature. The things I like are the things that are actually probably always going to be part of this role. It is not time yet to throw in the towel on this chapter in my life.
I was right about one thing though – I need a BIG change in my life. However, I’ve realized a new career might not be the answer I’m looking for – at least not at this moment. The BIG change I need is internal, not external. So here’s to turning a mid life crisis into a mid life transformation!
…most of my anxiety grows out of expectations I put on myself.