I had something totally different to write about today, but I can’t shake the feeling that I need to be completely transparent with all of you.
I’m feeling a bit forlorn as I stare out the window on this glorious sunny, chilly day. I have no real reason to be. Well, none that anyone passing me on the street would recognize. I am not unhappy, just not really happy. I know, that doesn’t make any sense.
This is a big year for me, my forty-ninth year on the planet, in August I will start a new decade. There’s something about my fifties that has me doing a lot of personal reflection. Maybe it’s also the new decade, the roaring twenties, that has me thinking so much.
At this age, I thought my life would look a lot different than it does, if I’m being honest.
I thought I would be largely successful at something, anything. I don’t mean famous, just really good at something. Maybe making a good living, the kind where I could contribute more to the causes that matter to me. When I was younger I always thought I had plenty of time to become successful, or to go back to school, to travel the world or start a business or write books…all the things I ever dreamed of. But, now I face a new decade and with it comes the realization that I’ve lived over half my life already. What is there really to show for it?
This is where my thoughts are today.
I am not writing this for pity or fishing for compliments, I’m just being honest. Honest and real about what goes through the mind of so many of us who reach the age where our children are grown and we’re not far from retirement.
Is this what a midlife crisis feels like?
I moved in the middle of last year. I quit my long time job and I remember so many asking me if I was excited about retirement. I also remember being slightly offended at the time because I wasn’t old enough to retire, at least I thought. Well, now here I am a few months later and I still have no job. Am I retired, I asked myself this afternoon? And if I am, do I really want to be? But what do I do? I have no real skills. I hear you clearing your throat to tell me I do have skills, and I thank you for wanting to encourage me. I am just trying to be transparent about how it feels like to be this age and wonder if a job is really going to meet the nagging inside that says you missed your chance, it’s too late. Maybe it’s purpose that’s missing? Yes, purpose is what I need. But, how do I get it? I’ve done Bible studies and read scripture and it all seems to leave me with more questions. It would be so nice if someone knew all the answers.
Is it disappointment I feel? Probably. Disappointment that I never knew exactly what I was really good at so I never pursued any one thing. I just did whatever came along. I wasn’t really willing to fall headlong into something that seemed too scary so I settled for what was less scary and now I wonder what might’ve been if only…
To the person (so much like me) who wants to shout through the screen “pray about it,” let me assure you I have.
And I will.
I won’t stop.
I just thought my life would look different than it does.
These thoughts are personal and deep within me, I carry them around like a hidden secret. But I don’t want to hide anymore. I have no idea what comes next. Maybe my lot in life is to try out all the new coffee shops in my area and leave good tips to the baristas, or to be emotional support for my traveling husband. I know I’m to be available to my kids, but is it selfish to want something more out of life than just being there for others?
At almost fifty is there more for me?
Am I to sit down now and live out the rest of my days on the sidelines because the “better” part of my life is over? I know some of you will declare that there are great days ahead and I’m not even going to argue with that, I believe it. What I wonder is are there days with deeper purpose ahead? How do I develop what I think could be shaping up in my heart? Where is the manual that tells you how to figure all this out?
I bought a calendar this year, as I do every year, to hang on our fridge. My husband complains it’s too big, but I love it. Each month has a picture and a Bible verse. This month’s verse is “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:31
I know I am in a period of waiting.
At least I hope I am.
I don’t want to believe this is how we go out. I can’t let myself buy into the idea my brain is trying to sell me that somehow the best is in the rear view mirror.
Again, this blog isn’t for you to send me compliments, to feel sorry for me or even to remind me that Jesus loves me, I know he does. This blog post is to let you know, if you’re feeling like me, you’re not alone. I’ve learned over the last forty-nine years that when I don’t understand, I just need to hold on. Hold onto whatever doesn’t move and the only thing I know of that doesn’t give way is Jesus. I am hoping and praying for renewed strength to pass through this place of purposelessness and into richer sweeter days.
I need that to be true.
I need what I always thought would be true to be true.
Praying for you today, and for me.
Let’s hold on together.