A midlife crisis is characterized by a period in life caught somewhere between looking back and looking forward in our perceived assumption that we are somewhere in the middle of our expected life span. It is a perception which causes many to make some crazy decisions to convince oneself that youth is still within one’s grasp. But since I am only 29, that simply cannot be what I am experiencing. (I am saving that for much later, I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to reclaiming as much of youth as possible).So the last few weeks I have been facing the ghosts of Christmas past having returned to the community in which I grew up. The tragic haunting of decisions made that have altered the course of my life and set me on the path I am on at the moment.
The what if’s of boyfriends past for example. Have you ever wondered how different life would have turned out if you had made different decisions? Perhaps this is a process that is a reflection of not yet fully finding the path that one is intended to be on. Or maybe everyone has a collection of what if’s stored in their closet. I am not sure, but in any case it is a mental activity that my brain is quite happy to engage with; mostly with somewhat disastrous results.For me, coming from a small town, now living in a huge city, my life path would have been a very different one. Growing up it was assumed (especially for girls); that you would ‘grow-up (I know, fancy that), get married, settle down and raise children’. Aside from not being on the expected path, (my life has veered so far away it is simply not even possible to find the original path back) to be honest, that is one thing that I do not regret. I am glad to be rid of that set of expectations, both imposed by others and adopted by myself through the process of societal expectation.
Thankfully my journey of mental ‘what if’s yields more amusement and relief than regret, reminding me that life is more about the journey than the destination as it would seem that mine is a life where the destination continually evades me.Perhaps that is my excuse (a life of wayward ducks rather than an inability to get my ducks in a row), or because life lived as a series of end points quickly becomes stagnant.
If one’s life objective is to marry, for example, what happens beyond that point?And so the trip back home reflects back on the ‘where’s of this happened and that happened and the ‘remember when’s of days gone by’.
And while some places and faces are familiar and easy to recall despite the increase of wrinkles and grey hair and other changes, I sometimes need to remind myself that I too aged in the interim, at least until I turned 29.In some ways ironically, the community seems much the same but somehow I feel an increasing sense of displacement and wonder how easy it would be to return to live here.
The reality is simply this, it is me that has done the most changing.Whether that change was for better or worse…, well I suppose that would depend on whom you are asking.
The jury is still out on that one…