Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hard Truths


Photo Credit:  Matt Oake






There is something that takes place in people at a certain time in their lives.   For years this was called a midlife crisis.  People changed their entire lives, left their spouses, switched careers, did what the world judged as extremely self-destructive things, for no apparent good reason.   It happened to men and women alike at around the 40 year mark and up and even those who felt immune to the possibility, the sensible ones, the wise ones have fallen into this spiral of decisions that seem completely out of character and without merit, sometimes appear incredibly selfish and often change lives forever. 


In some you never see much of the change because they keep things internal or they behave as they've always behaved because that's how they've identified themselves for so long they are afraid to address the internal shift inside.  They suffer in silence.  Sometimes they become depressed.  The person who was always the "good" one is terrified of their sudden desire to break free from their lives.  The person who was wild and carefree and "bad" behaves worse to prove they're themselves still.  It feels normal to behave that way though every atom of their being is screaming "this isn't working anymore."

So shift happens.  

A few years ago , I watched a movie, coincidentally called The Shift. It was about the transition people make in their lives from ambition to meaning.  It put forth the idea that what people grow up to believe in such as the pursuit of a career, the putting aside our needs to raise a family, the chasing of money, prestige, reputation etc. that this becomes less and less important as we enter a new phase and begin to wonder at the meaning of our lives.

I believe the midlife crisis and the shift are one and the same.  I believe the behaviour is a direct result of trying to find equilibrium in a world that suddenly makes no sense. 

Carl Jung said "the afternoon of our life cannot be lived by the morning's rhythm." 

This time is a period of great transition and great opportunity for learning.  From change comes growth.  A muscle doesn't increase its mass unless it is damaged a tiny bit.  Life is the same.  It'll get  bigger the more you live it big. 

This is the most exciting time of my life.  I am returning to my home province this summer.  After 23 years in Ontario, I'm going home.  I'm going to build on a writing career I started just two years ago, in my forties.  I have come to the realisation that there is where my dreams lie and so I'm going back. I'm not waiting for change to come to me, I'm creating it. 

Over these past few years I have gained new insights into myself, experienced growth as a person, learned to love unconditionally, let go of harsh judgements of human behavior and become very in touch with the meaning of my life and how it should unfold, which means moment by moment with no expectation of anything beyond an extreme gratitude when the next moment comes.
I have learned that the greatest joy in my life is being the person I am.  It's not my car, it's not the house I live in, or how well behaved my children are or whether people read my book or not. 
It means I live out loud, that my life is mine and mine alone and that no one else gets to live it for me. And that my heart is becoming so free of judgement that I'm willing to let everyone around me do the same.  This is why, if you ask my opinion on something it likely will be very different from what most of the other people in your life will say. 

For example, my children can grow up and be who they are because I already see they are exceptionally compassionate and caring people so is there more I want for them than that?  The decisions they make, the paths they choose are theirs alone and my only job is to take care of them and to guide a little.
I was talking to a friend earlier and she posted this snippet of dialogue from a book by Neil Gaiman. 
I think, if you were to find yourself in the middle of a shift at any point in your life and you were to ask for direction...this is probably how the conversation should go.  And then you walk your path.  You live by the advice but you do it your way.  You'd be off in the right direction if you did so.
"Which path should I take?" he asked. "Which one is safe?"
"Take one, and you cannot take the other," she said. "But neither path is safe. Which way would you walk — the way of hard truths or the way of fine lies?"
"Truths," he said. "I've come too far for more lies."


Neil Gaiman from American Gods.

Namaste



 

3 comments:

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

All the best Breeze, I hope you have thought and found the way out of the questions that all call to be mid-life crisis.

Its true, life is about the choices that we make, the ones who win are the ones who adapt to change.

Again, wishing you the best.

:)
Blasphemous Aesthete

Lia Mack said...

"shift happens..."

it's a beautiful moment in your life when it does, made powerful when you take the opportunity it bring.

wonderful news about the move. do send pics of whales cresting!

Anonymous said...

Lovely Post Breeze. Lovely the quote at the end.

Wishing you all contentment.

Miss you already.
Eve Beltane