The other day I described my life to a coworker as a candle burning at both ends with the wax dripping all over the kitchen floor.
Granted, it wasn’t the clearest of metaphors, but I think I got the point across: I have too much going on, I don’t always handle it all very well, and I hate to wash the kitchen floor. (I really hate to wash the kitchen floor.)
So much of the past year–the months leading up 40 and now the start of this new decade–has been spent trying to juggle life better and to find my path forward. And, I have been hopeful that there would be an end to it all–you know, that one day I would have it all figured out.
However, I’ve had conversations with other women recently that make me think that might not happen as easily as I had thought. While talking with both a coworker in her early 20s and my mother in her 70s, the struggle to define who were are and where we are going came up. Who am I? What is my purpose? What inspires and excites me? How can I contribute to the world and make a difference? They were each struggling with these questions. I was surprised–not so much about the 20-something, as I remember that angst all too well–but definitely about the 70-something. People still wonder about this stuff later in life? That threw me. (OK, OK, my sample size is rather small, I’ll admit, but the point is the same.)
On one hand, reflecting upon these questions throughout life is really exciting. It means we have the chance to redefine ourselves: we can be responsive to a dynamic world and evolving personal interests and priorities. We can change and become the people we want to be. But, the flip side is that we don’t necessarily resolve those feelings of uncertainty right away; they reappear again and again as we work on those big picture questions. Frankly, that depresses me. I’m too impatient for my own good, I guess.
And, impatient is why the juggling thing is tough, why I feel like that candle. So, my goals, as summer turns to autumn, are to breathe and to let some stuff fall on the floor and not feel bad about not cleaning it up right away.
Image Credit © Salim Photography/ www.salimphoto.com via photo pin cc
Thanks for this post. Glad and relieved that I’m not alone in facing some of these questions. I always thought that life would “come together” at some point and that the big questions would be answered. I’ve been surprised by how much the questions have come back as I approach 40. I last remember feeling this way 10 years ago, as I approached 30 and started stand-up comedy. Now that the comedy career is basically over, I find myself with the same set of questions, only 10 years older, dare I say 10 years more tired, and hopefully, 10 years wiser.