It’s the 18th day of the new year and I am angry all the time. This is not like me. I am fairly laid back normally and enjoy having a laugh. My daughter has, for years, said that if there was anyone in the world who would laugh at a chicken crossing the road it would be me. The picture I am trying to pain is of someone who loves life and the joys of it.
Since the new year I have increasingly become ‘The Grinch’. My home has become my cave and I walking around growling (sometimes literally). I am growing more regretful of the way that I have spent the last decade. My list of ‘achievements’ is long from 2010 to 2019. I kept everything going while bringing up a very clever child and nursing two sick people.
I started this blog in c.2010 and consider it a big achievement, starred in a TV programme in 2019, became a regulator contributor to the BBC Asian Network, nurtured friendships and didn’t suffer from any major illness. I always looked for the positives.
Two years ago in January 2018 I suffered from a rather severe kidney infection and lost two stone in a short space of time . After trying to lose weight for years, I went from a size 14 to a size 8/10. Despite being weak for about a month I was super excited at being able to fit into my old clothes again without the trauma of dieting. Ok, this is a rather warped example of my ability to look for a silver lining but it will have to do because going back to my original weight in midlife is a big deal to me.
The silver lining is elusive at the moment. I catch glimpses of it but regret, inevitably, clouds it. Googling ‘midlife’ for an explanation brings up ‘crisis’ but is mainly linked to men. Don’t women suffer from a midlife crisis too? A ‘midlife crisis’ can’t just be about men buying fast cars or Harley Davidsons. Even if they do my guess is that the car or bike is a purchase that is reflective of some emotional dissonance.
YouTube has thrown up a few videos on ‘midlife’ and the one below probably comes closest to what I am going through. According to the speaker, it is quite normal for midlifers to feel disappointment over unmet expectations. It’s a throw back to the question of what we wanted to be when we grew up and whether these ambitions have come to fruition.
It seems as if I have three choices, resignation or detonation or exploration. Trying to figure out what I am going to do to deal with this anger, disappointment and chaos within me is the option best suited to my personality type.
Resilience is a lived concept that has always fascinated me. How do we bounce back from life defining moments? How do we find coping mechanisms to deal with unexpected dips in life? My journey will be an interesting one as I endeavour to find out what it is that I need to change, embrace or drop in my midlife.
I started a vlog which I titled ‘Midlife Resilience’ some months ago which, in hindsight, was aptly titled given the way I feel now. ‘Making a difference’ has always been my ethos in life and I am going to apply it to myself, for a change. As women we are so used to looking after others that we forget to look after ourselves. I am no different. I need to construct a new reality which will let me wake up with enthusiasm and hope.
Time for a whole lot of self-reflection. Midlife has got to be about more than firefighting a crisis.