Hi! I’m in a midlife crisis. Can you believe it?! I could have died before I was thirty! Instead, here I am with the rest of Gen X women sort of wondering why I’m not as successful, rich, famous, or together as I thought I would be by now and occasionally despairing about it. THIS IS GREAT!
Right now, you’re probably thinking, “She’s kidding about the crisis, right?” The answer is every one of my journal entries from the last few years, which you don’t get to see so you’ll just have to believe me. I am crisis-ing. I first discovered it in 2017. I’d just gotten a new day job—I thought maybe it was The One, the day job that would remove the ick of “day jobs” from my psyche forever. And then I read an article by Ada Calhoun about the new midlife crisis for women, and I related way too much.
Now, I’ve read the book—pictured here. It just came out, and I mentally highlighted every third sentence or so. Yep, yep, money panic, body issues, sense that things should be far less average by now, yep, yep, yep! The reviews on Goodreads have a handful of predictable, “What a whiny, privileged, middle class mess!” But I don’t even care. I’m not saying female, Gen X midlife is the highest mountain; I’m saying it’s mine.
When I wrote my 2020 hopes and dreams at the beginning of this year (how funny is that sentence to the Devil Called Corona?), I made Revolution my word for it. Meghan Markle was my vision board-esque poster girl because she escaped the establishment to do life her own way (with her husband, I clarify. I don’t wish escape from all the things). Most notably of all, this was going to be my Writer Year—the year I could refer to in future speeches to aspiring writers about when it all turned for me.
THAT’S NOT HAPPENING. Knowing publishing goes almost completely OOO from now until fall and then has a holiday break the rest of us only dream of, I feel pretty safe saying it’s not going to happen either. I’ve been accused of being vague on the blog, so let me be clear. I have a finished novel. I’m shopping it, and I am hearing absolutely nothing from every direction.
I’m going to jump to the positive and tell you I’ve switched my word. Actually, I’ve given up the word thing. It’s still revolution, I guess, but I’m going for a revolution in my messy, angsty mind and troubled heart. From now on, 2020 is the year I learned to deal.
Radical acceptance, the book calls it. “This is a bumpy stretch. We should not expect to feel fine.” Yet, that’s exactly it. For me, fine is the new revolution. I’m a day job-resistant ENFP with a dream for my days and my life that I can’t seem to turn into reality, and I’m fine with it. I’m crazy happy about lots of things—like being alive—and accepting a little restlessness as part of me.
The mood is hit or miss. I journal with real-life ink in blank books and recently finished an “Anne of Green Gables” themed journal for the one pictured above and couldn’t start it for three days because I didn’t feel bold enough to justify it. I don’t even wear bold lipstick; I just want to. I am so dang bold on the inside, guys. I’m a pink-haired, tattooed radical with ideals, and you cannot pin me down. The imaginary self; it’ll get ya.
Eventually I started the Be Bold journal because I love it so much and I can’t help journaling anyway and maybe I’ll be bold by the end. These are the goals:
- Get fine
- Write what you want (if it’s not joy-inducing, what’s the point?)
That’s pretty much it. I’m still trying to make something of something. I heard a life coach describe it as “high investment / low attachment” so you can give your all but not care that much when it fails. I’m getting really good at it as long as I only have to focus on one or the other. As soon as I invest, it’s really, really hard not to attach. Specifically, every time I send my novel query to another agent, low attachment is nowhere to be found. Surrender is easy, dreamers, trying is harder. That’s a terrible Hamilton rewrite, but it’s so. how. I. feel.
It’s possible the career of my dreams will never happen for me. In the midlife crisis book, I read about a woman who moved back to Kansas City when the acting in L.A. thing didn’t work out for her. It’s sort of where I am, too. I consider myself a writer in the evenings and on weekends while still doing my 40-ish-hour day job through the week, and I’m tuckered. A person could quit now. Many probably have.
The other option is that the dream happens for me in some way down the road. Every day I’m one day closer to that moment, and it’s true whether I angst about it or not, as long as I don’t quit trying.
I’m not dead sure which story will be mine yet. This is the bumpy middle, after all. AND a freaking pandemic. My main goal at this point is to chase that elusive fine and not give the grandmas corona. The rest is yet to be determined.
We can do this. In case, you need someone to say that like I need pretty much every day right now, there it is. We can totally do this. In the words of Goldie Hawn in Overboard, “We’ve been through tougher times than these before…