“I think midlife crisis is just a point where people’s careers have reached some plateau and they have to reflect on their personal relationships.”
I’ve been blessed with a good, satisfying and financially rewarding career. It was my first job and I’ve kept at it for 15 years. I’ve stayed in the same institution and had great working relationships with my colleagues. The environment was active, dynamic and exciting.
I was young, eager to learn and enthusiastic. I put in the hours and climbed the corporate ladder. My career was thriving and I was at a good place. But then the years started creeping in. I started asking myself what next. My days seemed repetitive and it felt like the same thing over and over again. Functionally, I was doing the same thing. It felt like I wasn’t growing and learning much anymore at work. Realistically speaking, I knew I was still improving but not at the same exponential level as before. I developed my soft skills and got better at managing the people who worked with me. But that was pretty much it, in my mind.
Ennui set in not only in my work life but also my personal life. I took a long hard look at my personal relationships. I love my family. I have wonderful friends. That fact was still overshadowed with the one thing missing in my life, a husband and family. I inevitably only focused on that point until I drove myself nuts.
All my life I followed the rules, listened to society’s messages that I would be fine as long as I was nice, worked hard and did what I was told. It was in my late thirties that I started to realized it may have been largely for nothing. Nearing 40, I felt this inexplicable loss. The loss of my youth, my possible dreams, my childbearing years and the future. I felt like my life was about to end and I haven’t even done anything worthwhile. And now nearing middle age, I felt I was becoming invisible and irrelevant. I was the only one left without a family and kids. I felt like I didn’t belong. I took a drastic step and went on a career break. Somehow, I concluded on the need to jumpstart my life. To change it to the way my twenty-year old self had imagined it to be. I didn’t have obligations, the time to do it was NOW.
Eight months in, I’m still a work in progress. Did I find my passion, my purpose in life, the love of my life? Not yet. But I’m still working at it. I’m grateful for everything and I feel blessed with having lived a charmed, happy, healthy family life. People say I’m irresponsible and took things for granted and that my life is over. I faced thoughts and issues I only swept under the rug and kept busy under the guise of work. There are good days and bad days. On the bad days, I tend to believe them and wallow in misery. On the good days, I think of the countless possibilities that could be. The most important thing is to DO, and not wait around for life to happen. Easier said than done. But I believe that I am getting there.