I am looking down the road at a milestone birthday. It’s two years away; but in my imagination I see a big sign flashing “50” and my heart pounds as I realize I am barreling towards it although my foot is punching down hard on the brake pedal. There’s no use trying to stop this runaway car; the day will be here sooner than I want it to be.
Is this what people call a midlife crisis? I was hoping to have accomplished more for myself by this point in my life. Maybe that’s why I impulsively agreed to go zip lining with some girlfriends despite my fear of heights.
In my mind, I keep replaying a groom’s speech from a wedding I attended over twenty-five years ago. He lifted his glass to toast his bride and thanked her for being “the most organized person I have ever met.” I, too, am very organized; but please dear God, don’t let that be the thing that defines me.
I have taken to asking some of my girlfriends, jokingly, “What is it you want to be now that you’re all grown up?” Beyond the beautiful, loving homes we have maintained, beyond the children we have nurtured and the partners we have unconditionally supported, beyond the laundry, the school functions, the grocery shopping, the tennis lessons and yoga sculpt classes, Who Are We?
I think we owe it to ourselves to take a good look in the mirror and make an honest assessment of our deepest aspirations. It’s okay to let the dishes pile up in the sink and let our focus be ourselves now. Call it a midlife awakening.
For my midlife awakening, I look to the many women I know who live with passion and purpose. They are do-ers of all kinds. They are business owners, educators, philanthropists, advocates, adventurers, artists and fellow writers who have interesting insights on pursuing personal and professional goals and living life to the fullest. I will be showcasing these incredible ladies in a weekly blog called Very Inspiring People.
My hope is to start a conversation: Who inspires you? What motivates you?
I welcome you to share your thoughts. I urge you to connect your circle of friends to this conversation. Let’s all take part in this midlife awakening mindset, regardless of age.
I don’t listen to country music that often; but when I come across that Tim McGraw song, “Live Like You Were Dying,” I always cry my eyes out. I think about the friends and family members that didn’t make it to their fifty-year milestone. I feel guilty for taking my “dreaded” birthdays for granted when I am in good health and have the freedom to explore my creative side, to travel more, to volunteer more, to go back to school and choose a profession that suits my core ambitions rather than a job that merely “pays the bills,” and, ultimately, to pursue my goal of becoming a successful fiction writer.
My list is daunting. Just seeing it on the page, even in its abbreviated form, makes me anxious. Something that feels like a midlife crisis settles around me like a cold, gray January day. The reality is that it takes focus, resolve, and, quite frankly, a little selfishness to seize your moment to shine. I take a deep breath and my gloom lifts as I realize that I am surrounded by many women who have risen to this challenge and have the ability to inspire us to share our best selves with the world.
Today I go forth with a fresh outlook and a new battle cry, “Fear not thy 50th birthday!”
Stay tuned…I will be posting the first Very Inspiring People article soon!