I think I have been having a midlife crisis the last month or so. According to the Oxford Dictionary a Midlife Crisis is “an emotional crisis of identity and self-confidence that can occur in early middle age.” This seems to sum up what was going on. It wasn’t one of those meditation epiphanies where I recognized a lifelong habit pattern that was no longer serving me and most likely never was. This was an internal battle of my roles in my life, my will to hold on to them and my resistance to let go. Not to mention the aging insecurities. So, let us begin.
I am a 46 year old cisgender, heterosexual, mother, wife, and woman raised outside of Chicago, IL. Growing up I was told I could be anything I wanted to be if I went to college and picked a good career and did my best. I thought I would go on to get my Masters, then Doctorate and live and work in the Southwest. I would have a big older red truck, 2 big yellow dogs, cowboy boots and lovers. But life has a way of changing and steering us down paths we could not have imagined at the time.
At 30 years old I met my now husband, again, and soon after I thought, you have got to be kidding, I want to have children with this man. You see, I never wanted to get married or have children (see dogs and lovers above). I know now, part of this probably comes from messages I was hearing and seeing at home and in society growing up. But we did get married, and we did have a child and ironically, I wanted more children, but that just wasn’t in the cards and instead we got a big brown dog.
Because his job moved us around often, I never really had space or time for a career or steady job. This had become a source of deep resentment. Logical resentment towards the nature of his job and having to give things up every few years and illogical resentment towards my husband, as if he were a direct extension of his job and was doing this on purpose.
Then this pandemic hit and I decided it would be a good time to make this 16 year career of teaching yoga legit. Without realizing what that might mean in my other “career” as a wife and mother.
For the last 13 years I was a wife and a mother, and I taught yoga as a side job. I wasn’t getting paid or any promotions for my “career” as a wife and mother, but because I knew we would be moving in a few years, I put my heart and soul into it. And I loved it! I could probably write a whole blog on what I loved about running the house and how much joy I got from that. I could also write a blog about the difficulties and struggles that came up too. But, this “career” started to become cliché as my son grew up and I knew he would be gaining independence and needing more from my husband plus, we decided to settle in Knoxville, TN. Consciously, I always knew this would happen and even knew it was a great time to start my own business, have some independence and be an example for my son. Unconsciously, I believed I could do both these careers without help or support.
I soon found I was having a hard time letting go of my wife/mother “career” and that was surprising to me. My husband has always supported me in whatever I wanted to do, and I believe I have done the same for him. But the internal battle was real and often my husband was the physical enemy I could place all my blame and anger on. Plus, society, the patriarchy, media, all feminine and non-feminine messages, my mom for instilling the Super Woman sense, myself, etc. Thing is, I still think a lot of those messages played a role in my confusion and my feeling trapped.
And I felt trapped! Trapped between my desire to still stay home and be a wife and mother and all that went with that. Running the house, keeping the yard gorgeous, cooking amazing healthy meals, hosting parties, and doing all the Pinterest stuff for my son. I used to say to my husband, “Listen, you never know when Southern Living is going to want to feature our home and lifestyle.” So, I took that shit seriously and I had fun, but I also look back and see what a high standard and a bit of ridiculousness I put on all that. I was also trapped because Teaching and Living Yoga is my life’s purpose. There is no beating around the bush with this one. So, I often felt like I had to choose one or the other, especially if I was going to do them “right”, the best or perfect. (See Yoga as Self-Improvement?) Wife and Mother, or Yoga Wellness Professional?
I felt like I was an emotional pendulum swinging back and forth from loving my dream career, to hating it and wanting to quit. Something had to give, and it was me and all those bullshit beliefs I thought I had to live up to.
He is an exceptionally good listener, communicator and is very understanding and without that, none of the above could have even begun.
With the help of a dear friend, I had a Theta Healing session and worked on my resentment and she said something that struck me deep. Well, she said a lot of somethings, but the one that stuck was, "Through Love you got the Life You Love.” She helped me realize that my life isn’t a choice of either/or but both and I didn’t have to do it alone. She asked me to envision my dream life and understand that I can start living that now and that one thing doesn’t have to happen before another. Some things might need to change or be adjusted. I would have to let go of thinking that 50 somehow means the end and that I can do it all on my own. Because I CANNOT. That has become abundantly clear over the last couple of years. I realized much of my stress and crisis was coming from inside myself and the belief that I had to do everything alone, the best, 100% perfect, without complaining and still looking good. Wherever this thought came from, I am saying no more for me!
I understand I am lucky; I have a husband who listens and wants to be involved. I also understand I am privileged and have the mental and emotional freedom to sit with all of this and consciously choose to let certain things go. And, I have a support system of friends and family who give me space to work all this out and love me unconditionally.
I won’t say this crisis is over. I won’t even say I have it all figured out yet. But, in my Real Life Yoga Practice, I have been able to embody more of who I really am while letting go of the internal and external noise that kept trying to confuse me. The imbalanced aspects of patriarchal history that reside like stone carvings within me. Much of that pressure I felt, I put on myself and I am probably still silently putting on myself. Sure, the messages I was hearing while growing up look confusing to me now because I heard, “you should be a perfect wife, mother AND have an amazing career, while looking and acting a certain way.” And I discovered that isn’t possible and I don’t even want that. I imagine this could possibly be a lifelong process of understanding my own identity. My identity as a 46 year old cisgender, heterosexual, mother, wife, and woman raised outside of Chicago, IL now living in Knoxville, TN.
I would love to share with you how to Navigate Life's Crisis, and Embody Yoga Everyday, Throughout Your Whole Life. 💜