Go Ahead…Call It A Mid Life Crisis!!

15.November 2008

Inspiration

Is it time to call a spade a spade? I can do that – I can call this a mid life crisis…but then I’m just not sure what to do with it!

The term ‘crisis’ seems a bit too serious really.  I mean, I’m not unhappy, or depressed, or in need of psychotherapy for crying out loud! And I’m not leaving my partner for a young cabana boy, buying a convertible, and dressing in tight leopard print skirts (although who am I to judge if that’s how you question your reality?).

I am just questioning the droning out of daily life that, I know, we all experience. I guess I have the privilege of having a midlife crisis – many people must feel the same way but do not have the opportunity to ‘step out’ and take a break. That has, in fact, been one of the pieces that I’ve been struggling with…who am I to do this? What makes me different from anyone else? There are millions (billions?) of people out there who are also questioning their reality and they don’t have the options that I do. Maybe it’s my English roots, but I feel like I’m being a bit ‘posh’. Let’s just say that I know how lucky I am.

And I’m not the only one.

  • As I shared my plans with my coworkers, my friend Lisa also shared that she and her family were selling their home and moving to Italy for a year – thank you, thank you to our boss (who reads this blog) for being able to support us both during this time! She will be blogging soon – right Lisa B?
  • J’s long time friend Michelle called not long after we ‘came out’ asking if we were all somehow linked, as both she and her husband had quit their jobs, rented their house and were moving to Maui with their children for 6 months of learning Spanish, surfing and soul searching. She is blogging about it at michelleonmaui.
  • Lisa’s brother-in-law Dirk announced last week that he has been fired from his job. He was fired not because he wasn’t doing a good job, because he is certainly capable of doing a good job, but because he didn’t want to do it anymore and it showed. His blog, My Minds Ink, includes, among other musings, his new ‘Project’ whereby he will examine what it is he wants to do and how to go about doing it.
  • Our neighbor told us yesterday that he had just up and quit his job after a day that pushed him over the edge.
  • Just today a mountain biking friend also explained that he had quit his job to attend a tourism program at our local university. Enough of the high tech world that he had been part of, and back to his roots in tourism and outdoor adventure.
  • Check out our blogroll for other examples of people, just like us, who have left their regular life behind to travel the world.

 

Granted, this is a small sampling of people and, one could argue that I am drawn to people who think like me and, therefore would naturally know people who are apt to question the same way I do. Or is it like when you buy a new car and then notice how many of that new cars just like yours are out there? Fair enough.

I’ll share a story. Years ago, my best friend took me to her family’s remote holiday spot. A bucolic location in Desolation Sound called Refuge Cove. There I had many a wonderful time, and met many wonderful people. I soon realized that a couple of these people were some of the most educated people I had ever met. A PhD in English and education ran the coffee shop and bakery with his wife. A PhD in crystal physics ran the local hamburger stand. At the time I thought “what are these people doing here? Why aren’t they off educating people or dazzling the world with their knowledge?”. I still think they are some of the smartest people I have ever met…but now it’s for different reasons.

Click
to join the OneGiantStep Facebook conversation!

9 Responses to “Go Ahead…Call It A Mid Life Crisis!!”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Maybe the Midlife Crisis it is a rite of passage or I would like to think that it is a Checkpoint in your life.
    Perhaps man has always stopped partway through his life to look back at where he has been and confirm that he is where he wants to be, before moving forward again.
    We probably have many but this just might be the key one. The one that is the most important, the one we need to pay attention to, the one that perhaps is not so well marked, the one if we ignore that may send us off track.
    My sense is that perhaps people are just finally paying attention to the Midlife Checkpoint and are moving forward on the right path for them.
    Don’t be ashamed that you found the checkpoint or think you need a shrink to take you through it. Be thankful and relieved that you found it. Then check your GPS, take a breath, and keep moving forward. To the next checkpoint.

  2. Michelle Says:

    i love lisa’s term “midlife checkpoint”. When we first decided to do ours, I was being rather self-deprecating and calling it a midlife crisis. Wanted a tattoo and to just escape for a while. Funnily enough, I also compared it to the stereotype of buying a red corvette and sleeping with my secretary. But since I need to fit car seats in any car I own and our admin was female, I elected to not wreck my relationship and just quit my career instead.

    I agree with Lisa that this is definitely a checkpoint. I believe that we encounter checkpoints our whole life, and I love how Lisa has articulated them. I had a similar experience in my late 20′s, which I then jokingly called my late 20′s crisis – decided to live in Vancouver, (had moved from TO), get my navel pierced, not use my 2 degrees at all and smoke & drink a lot. Luckily I had Jason there to “help” me through it all. Funny thing is, when a lot of my friends were putting their hard earned degrees to good use and climbing the corporate ladder, I was slinging drinks in a nasty old bar, and likely making more than they were – and more importantly, learning a lot about myself. And then, when I was done, I looked for a job and ended up with one that compensated me well, made me some awesome friends and even better, taught me well.

    And now, 12 years later, I’m doing the same thing. Leaving that “perfect” job and starting again after this hiatus. Will I find a regular job? Not sure, but I do know that somehow Neil and I will land on our feet. Even if I am slinging drinks in some nasty old bar for a little while.

  3. Shawn Says:

    I guess I never experienced anything of the sort, although I have always welcomed buying my first rocking chair.

    I enjoy getting older, life after 35 has been the very best and I have been enjoying my 40′s wonderfully. I guess I have never read too much into the stereotyping or terminology that the world expresses.

  4. JP Jones Says:

    First, of all, I love that you keep adding to your blog. It isn’t something that you just talked about doing but are actually keeping up with it. I love that!

    I thought, and still think, that this decision that you and Jason have made is the best. Why? One may not realize how unsatisified we are with whatever. Logically, on paper, when we say we are lucky to have this, our health, good friends, jobs….is that all there is to make someone satisifed or not…We carry on doing what ‘we are supposed to do’. Who decides what we are supposed to do? I don’t think it is ‘posh’ at all to be thinking about ‘Why me? Why can we do this?’ My comment to that is ‘Why NOT you?’. Everyone has choices in life to make. Sometimes, people like to blame others for their plight in life. That is not you and Jason and obviously, so many of your friends..

    So, like the other comments….whether it is a midlife crisis, a checkpoint, a realization, an epiphany. This is what you have decided and you’re right, the friends you have support your decision because we surround ourselves with like mind people, most often.

    As you know, when I was almost 30 I quit 2 jobs, got divorced, moved across the country where I knew NO ONE…..I never, ever thought of that as a courageous thing to do. When I was doing it, it seemed like I had no other choice. It wasn’t until you told me one day that you thought it was courageous (I think that is the word you used). And, I still believe that to this day that if I would have stayed in that place I would have made myself and people around me, miserable. Where I was in my life was not a place I wanted to be. My entire family is pretty much living where they were born. And, at least I think, the majority of them are happy like that. Good for them. It wasn’t good for me. Then, of course, 3 years ago I quit another job to come to work for VIHA. You’ve heard me say this before…Was the grass greener? Of course not. Just different grass. Sometimes, we just need different grass under our feet.

    So, if your adventure takes you to places where you explore more about yourself, other cultures and traditions, we say go for it and we celebrate not only your ability to do but your ability to share it with us too!

    JP and I are so happy for both of you and can’t wait to hear about everything you do. You are inspiring us to take a look at ourselves (so NO Lisa M….we are not taking off for a year. *smile) But we have decided that a bit more travel is what we both want. How will we do it? We haven’t decided yet but we will……

  5. Anna Says:

    Strangely enough, the same thing kinda happened to me. More of a 1/4 life crisis though. As soon as I moved back home to prepare for my trip, all of my friends from my hometown (population 20,000 – nuff said) I realized were also out exploring. Some high school friends were in England, others in South Korea, others even in Africa. Makes you feel better knowing others are just as crazy as we are :)

  6. Rhea Says:

    I’ve been restless all my life, so midlife is no different. I have a good life but I also question if I could be happier, if I could contribute more to the world, etc.

  7. Gillian Says:

    You guys are the best!!

    @Lisa: seems the term ‘Midlife Checkpoint’ has now been coined! You’re right…on to the next checkpoint.

    @Michelle: you know J is glad to have been able to ‘help’ you! I’ve been meaning to ask…did you get the tattoo? (I haven’t…yet)

    @Shawn: I hope I reach your level of serenity!

    @Mandy (JP Jones): what you did IS courageous! And you’re right, the grass isn’t greener, it’s just different grass – and I’ve always liked to try new food.

    @Anna: 1/4 life…I think I had one of those too…guess that means I have one more in me? (3/4 life?)

    @Rhea: I love your ‘Midlife Crisis Checklist’ on your site! I may not be 50 something (yet) but I’ll be checking in.

    Jason says, and Michelle will remember, ‘you are only as old as you feel’…how old do YOU feel today?

  8. Taylor Davidson Says:

    What’s wrong with a midlife crisis? :)

    In all seriousness, I really appreciate your openness… I quit my job recently to “pursue other interests”, and while most people don’t understand, there is still a bubble of people that understand…

  9. Leigh Says:

    Gillian,
    I love these stories of others who are experiencing ‘mid life crises’. I too am experiencing one a bit early! Great blog by the way. I just subscribed so I can keep up with your journey. It seems we are heading out about the same time!

    Happy travels!
    Leigh