August 7, 2008

Mid-life Journey

Painting by John William Waterhouse "Lady of Shalott"

A few months ago a co-worker and I were discussing her upcoming birthday. She announced with a bit of sadness that she was going to be 30. A parent who was standing nearby stated that she had turned the big "Three O" the previous year. I laughed and shared that I had recently turned 46. The woman looked at me and said, "Oh, I bet you wish you were our age instead." Without giving it much thought I replied, "No, actually I'm really happy where I'm at." As I walked away I was filled with such a strong sense of contentment.

Until that moment, I really hadn't realized that I was truly okay with mid-life. Perhaps that's because my "crisis" came at 41 with my adjustment to an empty nest and the end of a 22 year marriage. My "crisis" enveloped me with such a deep sadness; at times I felt as if I literally couldn't breathe, let alone function from day to day. Thanks to my faith and the support and kindness of family and friends, little by little the healing took place. I'd like to say that it happened quickly, but complete healing has taken a few years. The only negative elements that remain are guilt and regret. Guilt that my plans of a forever marriage failed. Guilt that I let my children down. Regret that perhaps there was something he or I could have done differently. But as I've learned during this mid-life journey; guilt and regret won't change the past. If allowed, they will cast a dark shadow on the future. So, as the final step in the healing process, I'm working on self-forgiveness. I'm focusing on the "now" and the blessings that surround me. I'm giving thanks for the friendship that I have with the man I shared half my life with. And most of all, I'm basking in the joy that comes from seeing the amazing adults my children have grown up to be!

No one promised us that life would be easy. Compared to many my "crisis" was minor. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who are hurting. May you find both physical and emotional healing. May you see rays of sunshine on the cloudiest of days. May you too be blessed with the love and compassion of family and friends.

1 comment:

Diane Folks said...

At lunch the other day, some co-workers were discussing their best decade. Most enjoyed their 20's the most. I was thinking about my favorite decade. My 20's were definitely fun, but wild and full of heartache and uncertainty. My 30's included way too many insecurities. My 40's were a time of upheaval -- going back to college, moving, moving again, moving again, giving up the known for a new future. I'm just entering my 50's and I feel like life is finally easy. I'm with you...right now, at this time in our lives is the best!