Mid-life crisis?

I had a big, scary realization today.  It makes me feel sick inside.  But I need to get this out… I need to be authentic and share the dark feelings that I am having. 

I am no one.  

I haven’t done anything of significance with my life.  I have a few accomplishments, achievements…but they don’t really add up to anything.

I haven’t built a big, meaningful career.  I haven’t raised a family. There are no little me’s, who I have raised who might change the world someday.

How did I end up here?  To be honest, I’m not quite sure… a series of my own choices, I guess.

When I was 27 and became a college professor, I felt pretty successful. I was young and teaching college already!  I was hired for the first teaching job that I applied for (I was told that I sparkle!) and I have taught at that college ever since.  I taught a few other places, but eventually gave them up as I didn’t want to commute long distances.  At some point, I grew bored of teaching within my discipline, so I began a doctoral program in a different area of study.  A lot happened to me while I was earning my PhD (husband had an affair, my mom died, my brother overdosed) and it took a very long time for me to finish.  And now… I have the PhD…but I am unsure what I want to do with it. And to be honest, I think I am afraid to try.

I am also a woman without children.  Why is this?  I look back and I’m not really sure I ever made the conscious choice not to have children.  Back then, I felt young and successful…like I was going places.  I could have kids later.  And at that point…all of our family lived near us, and we had an abundance of nieces and nephews underfoot.  And then…so much happened, and suddenly… I’m 42 years old and regretting that I didn’t build a family of my own.

The thing is… I probably could still build a family.  I’m not sure if I can still have my own children (safely), but I could certainly adopt.  But that seems scary.  It feels like opening myself up in a really scary way.  It feels like losing control.  It feels like possible heart break. 

And I could still do something with my career… but what?  I have no idea what I want to do.  I have still not found my passion…that thing that drives me and makes me want to put all my energy into changing the world. How do I figure this out?

I feel like a fish out of water.  I don’t seem to fit into my own life anymore.  I don’t know who I am. There is so much uncertainty. Is this what a mid-life crisis feels like?

Thank you for listening.  Some days, things just feel harder than others. I know this post is one big whine… I should call the wambulance on myself….

Trying to figure this life out,

Grace

29 thoughts on “Mid-life crisis?

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  1. At 35, I’m feeling the same. I have kids but begin parentally alienated from then makes me feel like I’m not important at all to be considered a mother. Although, I been a great worker nobody ever thought highly of me to promote and keep me within a job. Never met a man worth marrying and building with and now I’m living in my car and my phone doesn’t ring with anyone saying how are you? Want to do lunch?

    Life can be still and stall sometimes then one day it just click back into wonderful and fulfilling, at least I hoping!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hello, S. Anyadiegwu! Thank you for reading my post and leaving this very thoughtful comment. I also really appreciate you sharing how you’ve had similar feelings, and a bit about your life circumstances. What you wrote about how life can stall and then one day click right back into being wonderful and fulfilling really made an impact on me. Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece of wisdom. Sending lots of love and positive vibes your way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is going to sound like a cliche, but it is the best thing I know to do when I’m feeling stuck – I’d suggest thinking of one thing that you can do that will feel like progress and do that – whether it is exploring different things you can do with your Phd. or joining an adoptive mom’s group to just talk to them about their experience..anything that will help with feeling like you’re moving forward, Also, what you’ve accomplished is very impressive – completing a Phd. despite all the challenges can’t have been easy!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hello, apeacefultree! I feel very grateful that you read this post and left this beautiful suggestion here for me. I am typically a person of action…and the fear I have felt as of late has really been holding me back. I like your idea a lot and will think carefully about how I might do something that will feel like progress. Thank you for your kind and supportive words…this really means a lot.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello, my friend! I had to chuckle when I read this as it reads “time for some soap searching” (I am guessing you meant “soul searching”). But the reason I laughed is because of the coincidence that I WAS actually searching for a special brand of soap that I use in our guest bathroom this morning, which took me forever to find as it ended up behind something, way in the back of the cabinet. LOL. But you are right…it is time to do some soul searching and figure out what the heck is missing from my life. I feel like I have the potential for greatness inside of me… I just need to figure out what to do with it! Thank you for reading this post and for leaving this thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ah Grace, sometimes there is no figuring life out. You have impacted people, in real time, while still managing to live your life and have fun in between all of the bad times. You have taught students for 15 years, and continue to do so. You may not leave a mini me behind to validate your existence but you are an educator and you have informed so many other peoples mini me’s you have made the world a better place because they have been educated. You did that. You cared enough to educate.
    Sometimes I think too much is put at store about people leaving a legacy in the form of repopulation of the planet. Quite frankly, the ones that are here already need to be educated and repopulate with that education and make sure the knowledge you have given them gets passed down through the generations.
    Don’t sell yourself short, good educators are very hard to find. And… You do sparkle, when you write here, your words sparkle. Words and information are a fabulous legacy. That is your impact and you are still doing it. xxx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for these beautiful and kind words, my dear friend. Sometimes I discount my impact as a teacher and I appreciate you reminding me that this IS an important job. At one point in life, my motto was “to change the world one person at a time” and perhaps I have been doing a bit of that along the way. Thank you for saying that I sparkle, that my writing sparkles. These compliments mean so much to me, during a time when I am feeling quite low. Sending lots of love across the pond…hope it reaches you! YOU sparkle, my dear friend Gemma ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. But…you dared to speak it…many wouldn’t. And in fact you have to reach this point eventually so that you CAN see all of this. And here is its magic…now that you have got here…what do you want? What has purpose? What has meaning for you? All before was others, and your, expectations of yourself. And in fact from what you have said you HAVE done lots. Teaching is not a walk in the park. But more importantly, you just haven’t found that true meaning within. We are ever told to be successful we have to this or that…but in truth, when we reach the end of that path we can actually see that we are NOT truly happy. That love and happiness has not been found, simply because underneath it all is that fear that blocks what we want the most. Those fears stop us from thinking we are good enough, are beautiful enough and are loving enough. When you follow those fears back into your childhood you will see the ‘why’ you feel as you do. Those parts that have ever raised their heads in all of our relationships and create that hurt or anger or both, ever prodding us to look. Find them back there in that childhood, those feelings of being rejected or no feeling of being accepted or loved by those we loved and looked up to. It is in there that your answer will be found. In it all is that ‘understanding’. Once you see and understand anything ‘you let it go’, look at anything you have ever done, once you understand it, it no longer bothers you or stresses you…because you have let it go. Find the reason for your fear…and you will indeed let it go. And in understanding it you will see why you had blocked that love of you, simply because that fear had kept all your doubts of you in place and would not allow you to believe in you. Find it, understand it…and that self love will flow like nothing else. All that I have asked after that understanding all say that they would never change a thing of what they have been through, no matter how hard or hurtful it was…because they ‘know’ it is in going through what they have that has been the making of that love. Your hurting dear lady…but it also means your on the right path. Big hugs dear lady, have faith your love and happiness is right there waiting. Just take your time and do you, a greater love you cannot give ❤️ 🙏🏽

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are some great questions, Mark…the kind of questions I am agonizing over right now. I will continue to think on this and try to figure out how to move forward in my life…moving toward something that will feel meaningful and fulfilling. Thank you for reading my blog and for leaving this incredibly thoughtful response. Be well, my friend ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing!!… all of us has had these moments…YOU are someone, an important piece of the puzzle called life… without you life would not be the same… just follow your heart and keep looking, “Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come”. (Author Unknown), you have come this far, don’t give up now…. 🙂

    “I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you can appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together”… (Marilyn Monroe).. 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May the sun shine all day long
    Everything go right, nothing go wrong
    May those you love bring love back to you
    May all the wishes you wish come true
    May peace be within you
    May your heart be strong
    May you find whatever you’re seeking
    Wherever you may roam
                      (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dutch…. your comments always make me smile. I love the beautiful quote from Marilyn and the Irish saying you always share. I am very grateful that you read my blog and that you leave such supportive comments. Be well, my friend ❤

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    1. Ashley…a big YES to this! I am definitely feeling scared and overwhelmed these days. But… I know that I can still make changes. I will embrace my feelings but try not to let them hold me back. Thank you for this thoughtful comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, my friend, I’m sorry this feels like a crisis. But every book, movie, story has a middle part where the heroine has to find their way through. All the things you have done will come to play in your future – you just have to figure out the path. Stealing an idea from Joseph Campbell – the hero always every option until they just have to figure out that the only way through is to be vulnerable. This post shows you are finding your way there.

    And if you’d ever like to talk about having kids at an “advanced maternal age” as they call it in the medical world, I’d love to chat with you over the phone or Zoom.

    Whatever it is you decide to do, know that I’m cheering you on!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wynne… thank you for this incredibly supportive comment. I will think on what you have said here, about how vulnerability is typically the way through. While at other times in my life, I have simply jumped off the cliff into whatever adventure was awaiting… I feel fearful now, afraid to put myself out there. And the kid thing terrifies me. I want it so badly…and then I think about all the millions of things that could go wrong, or about how my husband is sick…and I back away from the idea. I would LOVE to talk to you sometime, on the phone or zoom. I know we only know each other through this blog, but I feel a connection to you…a recognition of some sort. I will contact you via your blog’s “contact me” link. Thank you for listening and offering this very helpful food for thought ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it must be wisdom that we don’t just jump the way we did when we were young(er). You are right – there are a million things that could go wrong and so many more that could go right.

        I feel a connection to you too. I look forward to talking with you!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Grace, thanks for your openness and honesty. “I am no one.” That is a powerful realization of our nothingness as individuals. Humility, like gratitude, is a great place to start in finding new direction in your life. Do not invalidate your years spent as a teacher. Only the gods know how many lives you may have changed during those years. We are not all meant to be mothers. To seek motherhood for personal validation could be disastrous for any offspring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this supportive comment, Rosaliene. I have felt very confused about how I fit into this world lately. And I know you are right…not all women are meant to be mothers. I was blessed to have had a wonderful mother and I often wonder if I would make my children feel as loved and as accepted as she always made me feel. Thank you for commenting here and I hope you have a wonderful day, my friend ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Here’s the bad news. Based on my experience, after publishing a book and raising two kids who I like, I *still* often feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. I think those feelings are human nature and that most of us feel this way from time to time. Personally, I can’t imagine a teacher feeling like she’s achieved nothing. You impact x kids each semester.

    Because you’re an introspective being I’m going to assume you’re also an empathetic teacher (I know, big stretch there) and in my experience empathetic teachers make good teachers, and all good teachers (and plenty of bad ones) have impacted my life. I carry a bit of them with me as I move forward.

    I had my kids at 40 & 42. A coworker, speaking from his own experience, cautioned me that I’d be ‘the old dad’ and therefore a source of embarrassment for my kids. They don’t see me that way and I don’t see myself that way either. My kids have seriously kept me young. I’m 59 and on Tuesday I start my third season as a mountain bike coach. But caution… I WILL NOT be retiring at 60 like my brothers did and 65 looks bad too,

    As we all know, there are suddenly going to be a surplus of kids who need to be adopted. Starting a family is a completely viable option for you. Lastly, you have lots of time left to do ‘the big thing.’ I didn’t even start writing until I was 52. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot as a writer since then.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for this very thoughtful and inspiring comment, Jeff! What you have written here resonates strongly with me. I used to place so much value on my role as an educator. Somehow, I lost some of that along the way but I am grateful for the opportunity to make an impact on a person’s life, even if it is a small one. I am going to really think on what you have written here about when you became a dad and what it has meant to you. I am grateful that you chose to share this with me. Thank you for your wisdom and your kindness.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. *hugs* I want to challenge you to talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend. If you looked from the outside in would you still say you hadn’t accomplished or achieved much? As someone currently finishing up my PhD now I can understand the weird feeling that it is meaningless. But it really isn’t. Very few people have them and they really are a lot of work – especially when life is knocking you down while working on it. And don’t feel like you have to use it. I have been thinking about this more and more as I ponder what exactly I want to do next.

    I am sorry you are regretting not having kids already but like you said you still have time to build a family if that is really the direction you now want to take. One of my professors had her first child at 40 and just recently had her second child. Both her and the babes are healthy and happy. And I also have many people around me having babies in their early 40s and I’m very thankful this is normalized around me.

    Also as for the idea that you need to find a passion for a career I think is complete BS. Maybe this works for some people but I don’t think it applies to the majority. Passions shift just like priorities do. Sometimes your career is just about making $ to support a lifestyle you want. Sometimes your career is about having the flexibility/time to support the lifestyle you want. All I know is that when I worked with the elderly, no one cared about their career. They always spoke that was important in life was relationships and not being afraid to try the things they wanted. If you look into the concept of internalized capitalism it might help you understand how your self-worth has absolutely nothing to do with your career.

    One last note, during the peak of the pandemic lockdown I took the Science of Well-Being on Coursera. It was a really nice course and maybe it will help you gain some perspective in what will really make you happy. One assignment had me do a quiz to find my personal strengths through the VIA Institute and I thought this was super helpful so maybe at least try that part out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi there! Thank you for this incredibly thoughtful and supportive comment. And…congratulations on being so close to finishing your PhD! Man, I am glad to have that finally behind me. The prep work and lead up to my oral defense was so stressful. Best of luck to you! I am curious about the Science of Well-being course…could you tell me more about it? I googled it and found some info, but this sounds very intriguing. Would love to hear more about your experiences.

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  10. Grace, you have accomplished much in your life. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. You are special, we all are. Listen to your heart and not your mind. Life is scary but the good far outweighs the bad. If you want to know your purpose meditate and ask for clarity. Look for the signs sent to you by the universe. When you get one, don’t be like me and ignore it. I was sent a sign three times before I realized it was what I was supposed to do. Take care and always look for the positive in everything. 🤗🙏❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this beautiful comment, my friend. Perhaps it seems silly (I am very new to meditation), but I had not thought to pose this question to myself while meditating. I will definitely try this. Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I felt that way about myself a few years ago and started writing out my philosophical thoughts like the publisher of my illustrated children’s book had suggested. The journey of writing became very healing, and I learned that my own inner negative self talk was behind me seeing myself in a diminished way. The abuse I experienced in my life had been internalized and narrated my negative self talk.

    You, as well as many of your readers, have accomplished much more I’m life that what you are seeing about yourself.

    Too often those days negative messages cause us to close off from ourselves what we really want to do in life, but because of criticism (or knowing that certain people will criticize us) we don’t do what we really want.

    What if what you REALLY want to do is so off the beaten path that you’re afraid to say it out loud, even to yourself?

    What if you decided to just write freely about what your heart wants, no inner editing? What would you see?

    Sometimes once we see what we really want to do written down, we realize it’s not as unattainable where we now find ourselves.

    Let your heart speak to you!

    If your heart has been shut down over the years, what are the things which bring the most yearning to your heart? Take a look down those pathhs, and you’ll find your direction!

    Liked by 1 person

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