At around the midpoint of my 40s I felt myself standing at the proverbial fork in the road contemplating my path forward.
These were the questions I asked myself:
- What lies ahead if I keep on trekking along doing this same old mundane every day routine?
- What lies ahead if I change one, or several things, in my life?
The fork in the road didn’t have any pointers as to which road I should choose. It just left me standing there, in the burning sun or the sleet and snow, silent and afraid.
I like my comfort zones. I’m comfortable here, if a little bored.
But taking risks is too dangerous.
Shortly thereafter, several things happened.
First, I started writing more fiction. I let my fantasies about people I saw in movies or tv shows expand my creativity horizons, and started imagining things and writing them down. For example, when the Walking Dead was in season 2 and 3 I was hooked and thought about little else. I really liked some of the characters and the whole apocalypse scenario was very new and different and jump-started something in my story-making portion of my grey matter.
Some time later, I made a new friend, one who has an eerily similar perspective toward writing and dabbling around the internet as me. This friend is partly responsible for keeping my creative juices going after the Walking Dead entered season 6 and beyond which caused me to lose first a little, and then a lot of interest. With the Walking Dead show sort of diminishing in my subconscious day- (and night) dreaming I started to re-enter the present tense. The new friend gave me enough fodder to start re-thinking my creativity and so began a new life chapter, if you will.
This didn’t all happen overnight. It was in my later 40s when I actually achieved this level of thinking which led to my current level of understanding.
There was a lot of introspection and internal dialogue. And blogging. And feedback from both reading and commenting on blogs. And bouncing off things on the new friend, too, occasionally.
So what was different by the time I entered the late 40s? Quite a bit:
- We renovated this godforsaken house and made it better (I’m less unhappy but it’ll never suit the purpose I need/want)
- The kids were older and needed less hands-on parenting (but there is still plenty of drama)
- I wrote many chapters of what is supposed to be a memoir (but it’s not finished and I’m stuck)
- I started and am still continuing a dog-walking business and hope to increase the dogs and the walking
- I expanded my new friendship to a different level
As a result, my creativity changed gears, so to speak, and I started to wonder if writing about topics I had little to no experience in was what I needed to do in order to improve my mundane, routine mood. It was an outlet, of sorts.
For practical reasons I can’t make the type of changes I want to due to the usual family restrictions. I’m not sorry I’m still in the parenting trenches, I’m just saying, the parenting is still a big part of each day. But I have come to realize that I can’t let them be my primary focus all the time anymore, that I need to puzzle myself back together before I completely lose my sense of self-worth (or my mind), and since I love writing…
Anyway. This is where I’m at.
The later part of my 40s was also the time I started to experiment a little more with selfies. It was strange, at first, being included in pictures, since up until the kids entered middle school age, it was always me pointing the phone or camera at everyone else, and only rarely was I in any of the shots.
I wanted to change that, and not just for the usual reasons, but also for self-esteem reasons. My self-image had never been particularly stellar, and I was tired of the/my self-pity party.
I could write a whole blog post about how I learned to take selfies, crop or manipulate them by choosing filters (black and white mostly), posing to view various angles… (lol) 🙄 😛
Most pictures I took initially were deleted, but some I kept and eventually, I started to like myself a little bit better.
The point was the journey, I think, to self-discovery now that I felt old and ‘past my prime’.
(Note: I do not feel like this anymore.)
Middle age today is so so soooo different from previous generations. Just google all the cool things women are doing today as they enter their 50s and 60s…I’ve shared articles about this here on my blog, and many of my followers are doing just that as empty nesters, grandparents and all the rest of it. (You ladies rock, and it feels like you’re my mentors!) ❤
All this pondering let me to my new mantra, one that I had mentioned before, but can and should be repeated.