…or at least make soup.
First, let’s be clear: I have a good life. I have family and friends who love and cherish me. I have vocations and passions that inspire me. I live in a beautiful place. I’m healthy. I have enough to eat and to wear. I have a kind heart and a good head on my shoulders. I’m very thankful to be me.
That being said, though — there has got to be a better way. Maybe even several better ways. At least, I certainly hope so.
I’m halfway through my forties now. If the decades of my life have had themes, I would summarize them in this way:
0-10 — the years of beginning to learn who I am
10-20 — the years of learning how to be a friend and a partner
20-30 — the years of learning how to do the kind of work I want to do
30-40 — the years of learning how to be a parent, mentor, and guide
40- — ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
So far, my forties have been the years in which everything I thought I knew has received a good, hard shake. I mean, seriously. The year I turned 40, a dear friend became a second life mate, and our family of three became a family of four. The year I turned 41, we moved from suburban New Jersey to far more rural West Virginia, with only a few weeks to get used to the idea before we uprooted ourselves. Now, here I am, self-employed yet not feeling the autonomy I want to feel, working on my PhD yet continually struggling to stay in the flow and connected in my studies. Who am I kidding? Finding myself out of flow, again and again, swimming upstream and trying not to drown.
Choices and choices and choices and choices, all making sense at the time — and here I am. And where am I?
I feel the need to re-emphasize: I have a good life. I love my partners and my daughter so much, and I know they love me. I am very lucky to have creative outlets that fill my spirit and light me up, inside and out.
So why am I so confused? Why am I so often stressed? Why do I feel so much more fragmented and fragile than I did ten years ago? Why do I so often catch myself in the act of feeling unhappy?
I am not settling for this. There has got to be a better way.