I’ve heard and seen a lot about the Mid-life Crisis recently. You know – the guy who wakes up on the morning of his 40th birthday kisses his wife and tells her he’s leaving the family for his 18 year old male secretary, rushes out and buys a red Ferrari and moves to Mexico. Yes, it’s a cliche. But watching a program on ABC last night about womens’ experiences of midlife got me thinking. You see, I’m 39. I’m staring right down the barrel of 40 and it is so strange to me that I’m here.
Again with the cliches, but I don’t FEEL 40 (or 39 for that matter). I feel young, excited by life, positive about my future and cant wait to see what treasures the next 40 years bring. Sometimes I have insecure, fearful moments and feel like a lost 5 year old girl. With my partner I get to re-live the anticipation of a ‘first kiss’ each time we meet up. My childhood innocence and wonder at life has been reborn and tempered with wisdom of experience and increased creativity, knowledge and inner certainty. I am quite simply better at being me. Inside I am so far from 40 it’s surreal and as foreign to me as speaking Latin.
Granted, my body doesn’t share my enthusiasm for early morning starts and long nights up chatting with friends over wine. Since having kids, parts are sagging where I’d prefer they weren’t, I’m a bit heavier than I like to be (lets face it I’m overweight), and my skin is in the worst shape of my life, even when matching it against the days of teenage acne. But, if I accept all that as ‘it is what it is’ for now, and that I have steps in place to change that, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.
I think I had my midlife crisis early in life. I’ve always struggled with the idea of deciding your career fate at 15 years old, going to Uni and settling into a job you hold for life. You might as well shove me in a jail cell and feed me bread and water (my body hates gluten!). So I did not go easily into this warped ideal. I fought and kicked my way around it, tried to conform – I did it badly and with much pain and trauma – and at the age of 28 I gave up. The age 28 is what astrologers call Saturn Return. This means that the position of Saturn in your birth chart returns to the same position it was in when you were born. The result is that if you’re not living the purpose you were born for, your whole world comes crashing down around your feet. This was certainly the case for me and the fall out lasted until age 35. My life was leveled like Ground Zero, but that’s another story.
As a teenager, I was always questioning the whole ‘get a career, get married, have babies and a puppy, save money, get a house and ‘fit in’ mentality. AGH! NIGHTMARE! But I think Saturn returning pulled the cork out on the bottle of a lifetime of angst with living the way I’d been told was ‘right’. Being involved in spiritual pursuits was not new for me, but instead of reading about it and slotting it in-between my afterwork drinkies and corporate climbing networking meetings, I took it by the horns and began in earnest to ask myself the hard questions…
1. How do I want to show up in the world?
what does K want to look like to the greater populous.
2. How do I want to feel about my life?
Fulfilled, happy, creative, interesting, adventurous, variety.
3. What do I want to experience in life?
Opportunity, wealth & abundance, joy, laughter, love, creativity.
4. What do I want to be my legacy when I am gone?
To show others that it is possible to live your dreams. To lead by example- an example of bravery under adversity, creativity and resourcefulness under duress, and positivity despite the odds. To encourage creative expression of our divine essence in the material world.
Note the creative expression theme? If you ask yourself these questions, you’ll probably find a theme too! That’s the clue to your purpose!
That legacy one can feel a bit morbid, but if you can get past the ‘when I’m gone’ part and really delve into the depths of what you’re life means, you can find the true purpose of what your divine essence is and how it is mean to play out in this lifetime.
I constantly refer back to these questions – they’re posted on my cupboard doors to remind me every day what I am all about. Not what I strive to reach by the age of 40, but what I am to be in every moment that I am alive. As I reach 40, I realise that I am closer to living the life of my dreams than ever before. I don’t believe in a mid-life crisis. I believe in a mid-life awakening. My awakening came early in my chronological life possibly due to the excessive trauma I experienced in my teens and early 20’s. Some people manage to bury their heads in the ‘american dream’ for much longer than age 40, but eventually I believe we either wake up, or we die. Death can be literal or metaphorical – metaphorical death means you give up on your dreams, your aspirations and your spark for life gets snuffed out. You become a hollow, bitter shell of a person, grey and mundane. I would not wish this kind of death on anyone and think a physical death would be preferable.
I continually ask myself the 4 questions above. I have goals to improve my physical health so that I can match the vitality of my physical being with the energy of my spiritual one. I am constantly finding ways to be more creative, dedicate more time and presence to loving my children. I am open to opportunities to experience the abundance, gifts and beauty of our wondrous planet. And on a minute by minute basis, I am aware of my legacy. You see it at work here! So… approaching ‘mid life’, I am excited! If there is to be a crisis, I invite it openly and lovingly with excited anticipation because it is another sensational opportunity to enhance awareness, to evolve myself and give back what I learn to humanity.
What a gift.