My Early Midlife Crisis

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Today*, I had an early mid-life crisis.

Well, a mid-twenties crisis, rather.

I’ve journaled since I was 11 years old, and I’ve kept every single journal over the years (except the first one from 5th grade, which I destroyed for various reasons when I was in 6th grade). Every once in a while, I go through the old journals, and I see what I’ve learned over the years (as painful as that is to revisit sometimes) and how I’ve changed and what my goals for the future were 5 years ago.

I came across a list of goals that I had written at the beginning of 2012. As I read through these goals, I realized that, a year and a half later, I hadn’t accomplished a single blooming one of them. I also realized that, at 25 years old, I’m already half-way to 50, and I’m not ANYTHING I wanted to be when I grew up. The transition from early twenties when your youthful and “cute” to late twenties when you’re…well, whatever you’re supposed to be in your late twenties… is a wrench in your mindset.

That said, the waters rose and the proverbial dam broke and the dismal wave of failure bowled me over. You see, the waters behind the dam had been building up for quite some time, but I ignored the leaks. The reminder of those unmet goals was just the final crack that compromised the integrity of the dam’s wall.

I cried and cried.

Thankfully, my husband came to comfort me and my sorry little self.

Have you ever heard of “mental gossip”? It’s a term that Barry Green uses in his book The Inner Game of Music (co-written with the author of The Inner Game of Golf, W. Timothy Gallwey, but I’m more into music than I am golf). Mental gossip, to paraphrase, is when you talk to yourself behind your own back. You say mean things about yourself to yourself.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I think being introspective is essential to living a full life, and sometimes, being introspective means finding some things that are not so good and making some changes in your lifestyle. But mental gossip… well, that’s different. It’s what hinders you from pursuing the things that you really are genuinely good at. It’s what induces irrational fear. It’s what makes you procrastinate and say “I’m not ready to do that kind of thing yet…”

It’s flat out discouraging sometimes.

So, I’m doing better since my break-down (thanks for asking. I figure you would if we were real-life talking). It’s difficult discerning sometimes when I’m being hard on myself in a productive way versus just being mean. But God has (He HAS) given each of us talents, and each individual is really good at something (including you and you and you and…etc. etc. etc.). I think I’m figuring my something out, and I think it’s time to stop talking myself out of it.

-A

P.S. One of my goals from last year was starting a blog. Part 1 of mission accomplished. Woot woot.

 

*”Today” was actually Sunday when I began writing this post

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4 Comments

  1. If it makes you feel any better, most people aren’t what they wanted to be while growing up. In fifth grade, our teacher made us write about what we’d be when we grew up. I wrote that I was going to be a secretary married to an architect, and I’d have a car that wouldn’t start in the morning. (The cynicism set in early.) I also wanted to be a criminologist and a tree surgeon. Alas, none of these things came to pass. So don’t be hard on yourself. What’s that famous saying? “Life is what happens while you’re making plans.” (And what you’re feeling is quite common. There was even a book published several years ago called “The Quarterlife Crisis.”)

    1. Haha, I suppose it doesn’t (or shouldn’t anyway) surprise me that someone has written a book about it. It’s funny how in the Land of Opportunity we have high expectations of our abilities and how the world should receive them… and then life gradually goes down the left fork instead of the right. God has a way of doing that with us, I believe.

      So… yeah, that makes me feel better. Thanks for your kind words. I was particularly overwhelmed when I wrote this post, but have since calmed down. I’m not exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I am learning what type of woman I want to be. And developing virtues versus being a famous artist… well, I think the former is infinitely more important.

      1. I’m glad you’re feeling better now. Sometimes it just takes a few days for us to be able to gain a better perspective. And one day you may find that you’ve become a virtuous famous artist. :)

  2. Oh, my dear Ali…I agree with Miranda…You will become a famous artist! Ali…for someone so young you are also very virtuous! Love you…Appreciate you…and have the utmost respect for you…keep writing…You have a beautiful, God given talent of painting a real life picture with words…Love you! Pastor Mary

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