I am smack dab in the middle of the mess. The mess of hearing a calling but making a living. The mess of feeling stuck and wanting more. The mess of not knowing what the ending looks like. (And I HATE that!) The mess of mid life. In less than a month, yours truly turns 40. Midlife however has been sneaking up on me for the past year, year and a half. It’s the internal clock ticking – what have you done with your life that is really meaningful? What will be your legacy? You know you don’t have much longer here. WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR TIME?? My internal voice is a bitch, yall.
I take comfort and solace in knowing I am not the only one who is going through these same questions, this same internal, intrinsic struggle. Read Brene Brown’s The Midlife Unraveling for some truth bombs. If you are in the mess, like me, have some tissues ready. I swear she can see inside your soul.
So what do we do with this mess? It’s not like our laundry pile that we can throw in our closet when company comes over…or is it? WARNING: There’s a term for that, and it’s called denial. No, we can’t hide it. We can’t run from it. We turn around and face it. We live in it. We get really comfortable with it. We get messy in the mess.
Ask the hard questions.
Write down your feelings. Better yet, write down your dreams.
Talk to friends. Talk to a professional. Be open, be vulnerable. You are NOT ALONE.
And then the fun part…take some risks. Say YES. Or maybe say more NO’s. Do what YOU have always wanted to do but were too scared / too timid / too tired / too wrapped up in taking care of everyone but yourself.
The risks are messy. And sometimes downright scary. But they also make your heart a little lighter and get your blood pumping again. And isn’t that why we started asking the questions in the first place?
I don’t know where this chapter ends, but I’m taking this risk of writing to encourage others. I’m saying YES to one of my dreams…without knowing how it ends.
It’s true, I may not have much longer here. But why not have some fun with it.
MARATHONER by Yasmin Mullings
I am going to run a marathon this year
But I don’t know how,
I just know when...this year.
I’ve never even run a race before,
I only sometimes run for fun,
But I’m going to run a marathon this year.
How far is a marathon anyway?
Twenty six .2 miles you say?
Wow that seems really, really far, but I have run .2 miles before.
I’m going to run a marathon this year, so I must begin to train right now.
So what is this training anyway?
Don’t you just run as far as you can, as fast as you can?
I can run .2 miles really fast,
I’m going to run a marathon this year.
My friends all laugh and say, ‘but you don’t know how to run’
I sternly insist, “I will run a marathon this year”.
So I will start to run today, I will train and run, so I can run a marathon this year… Tomorrow I’ll run a mile, yes I will run a marathon this year.
The next day I run another,
On day three, I hurt so bad and the internet says that is because I need to recover and rest…
So next week I will start again.
I run a mile, and then another, pretty soon I’m running more days than not
Until life gets in the way.
I worked too late yesterday
The day before that I went drinking with my friends
But we did spend much time talking about running, so tomorrow I will run again. The day after that I run, and then the next day and the next.
This is really hard, I hurt and I’m sore,
I run some days, through the aches and the pain.
I run during Spring, then through Summer,
I run on nice days, but when it’s too hot I stay away.
Then it’s Fall, it’s no longer hot but I really hate running in the rain.
In Winter, it’s icy and cold, way too dangerous to run.
December comes in and gets to the end
My family and friends gather around in festive cheer
Wanting to know, “Didn’t you plan to run a marathon this year?”
So smiling widely and proudly I say, “I did...I ran a total of 26.2 miles this year!
Out There ~ A Short Story by Paul Hook
He trudged through the blinding snowstorm, lost in a haze of white as far as he could see. He was sure that he had missed the cabin, which had caused him to circle back, but his tracks had been covered by the snow as the wind whipped and swirled.
The biting cold was sapping his strength with every step he took. Unaware that the storm was approaching when he had set out, he was vastly unprepared for its onslaught. Wearing only a winter parka, a toque and wool mitts, he was unprepared for the fierce wind. I must get there. When he received the call, he’d been helping a neighbour fix a generator. The trusty snowmobile that had taken him across the well-worn paths had somehow quit. No matter what he did, it refused to start. That forced him to put on snowshoes and begin the urgent and arduous walk back.
Even animals had known its wrath and made the wise decision to hole up and emerge when the still of mother nature had cast its blanket over the wilderness.
When he looked at his watch, he realized that it had been four hours, which was two longer than necessary on a good day. This is not good. But he kept going, looking for any trees that he recognized from the path that was usually so easy to follow.
As he stumbled and fell into the soft yet cold snow, he knew that he had less than an hour to find the safety of a building, or he risked hypothermia and death in the inhospitable forest. He mustered the reserves from deep within him and rose out of the snow. One foot in front of the other was the only way to get to his destination. The thought of stopping would mean failure for him and his family.
What is that? He looked more closely and saw a dead tree that was a marker for the route. Finally! He continued ever forwards as his body exerted more energy, and he began to sweat heavily. It made his body temperature dangerously drop. But the human body and mind can overcome things; he knew that.
Ten minutes of constant motion and he saw salvation – light emanating from a log cabin in the distance. With a renewed spirit, he pushed on, his lungs full of oxygen. Making it to the doorway, he said a silent prayer to his maker and turned the latch. The gust of wind that went into the cabin nearly blew out the candles, but it wasn’t enough to dim his spirits. He had arrived in time to see his wife and new baby.