IN SEARCH OF ME

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Submitted Date 03/15/2024
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I turned 54 years old this year. Age has never really bothered me, not the number, anyway. When I turned 30 and hadn't been able to have a baby yet, I felt the ticking of my biological clock. It wasn't so much about the number as the prospect of missing out on a life experience so important to me and so related to age. When I became unexpectedly pregnant with my third child when I was 37, again, it was not so much the number as the biological risks that it represented for my unborn child. (I'll be honest, I was a bit obsessed for a while about not looking like an "old mother.")

Turning 40 was not traumatic, either. I had an amazing family, great friends and it seemed like the future meant not worrying so much about things that don't matter. Now, over 50, I don't really care about the number. I do, however, feel a bit of a crisis happening in my soul. Its an identity crisis.

I have recently realized that I have spent most of my life not really sure about my own identity. And I guess that could be related to my age, but there have been a number of events and developments in my life over the last several years that I am more likely to blame for this particular lack of clarity. Without going into great detail about those events and circumstances, saving them perhaps for another post, I will say that I have found myself with a life overflowing with activities that I do not wish to be doing, along with activities that are not actually mine, as well as activities that drain every ounce of my energy with no positive return. All of that has me questioning how to change my life, and what I want it to look like when I'm done. What do I wish to be doing? What are my things? What gives me energy and makes me feel like...me?

These thoughts made me feeling rather sad, lonely and depressed for a while. Honestly, I was overwhelmed and could not imagine how to change things in my life. Realizing you are unhappy with yourself and seeing no way to change it is not good, my friends. But I have emerged from that state with a new realization, that I can make changes, and that it doesn't need to all happen at once. In fact, it is probably best if I take my time with the defining of my identity. This is not about becoming someone new. Its about revealing who I am, right now. I don't think we are each a certain way with no opportunity to change, grow or become something new. Life changes us. Maybe there was a time when I knew myself better than I do now. I don't remember it. That is one of the things about me now. I am selective about what I commit to memory. And I've shoved out some of those old, useless ones to make room for new ones.

Here's what I know about myself so far. I am a writer. I have always been a writer. But what I am learning is that I want to write because I love to write. It doesn't really matter who reads it or if anyone likes it. It certainly feels great when I write something and people respond positively to it. But a lack of external positive reinforcement will not stop me from writing.

I love theatre. All kinds of theatre. Even unusual productions are fascinating to me. I would go to a play once a week if I could afford it. Shakespeare is my favourite, of course, I even like to read his plays. It would be great to work in theatre in some way. I remember being involved in theatre as a high school student and I loved the atmosphere so much. I miss that feeling.

I enjoy singing. Just the act of singing makes me feel good. The great thing about being almost 50 is that I really don't care if anyone sees me silently singing with earbuds in while walking the dog, or if my kids hear me while we are driving, or if my husband tells me how incorrect my singing is. I'm not singing to be a great singer. I sing because it feels great!

I am a lifelong learner. What a pompous phrase. How about this...I seek out opportunities to be in a learning environment. I like classrooms, and universities, and even online courses. I like learning stuff, but I also just like being involved in it. Absorbing the collective desire to learn. I like the possibility of growth and change. It would be great to get a job at a university.

I am using a website called Masterclass right now to learn from all kinds of people who have found success in the things they love to do. It is very inspiring. I almost changed the name of my blog because of a Masterclass by Neil Gaiman, in which he says you have to write the bad sentences to get to the good ones. I like that idea, that making mistakes, questionable decisions, wrong turns, may eventually lead to something good. At the very least, I hope those bad sentences lead me to myself.

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