A few years back, I turned forty years old. On the cusp of this landmark birthday, I wrote about the stigma of so-called midlife crises. I resisted the idea that changes associated with midlife should be mocked, when indeed many of those changes actually represent something like birth itself. I have come to think, however, that I was perhaps naïve in my wild embrace of midlife self-birthing. I still believe what I said before, basically, which was that midlife occasions opportunity for self-knowledge in a way that is largely inaccessible to babies, children, adolescents, and novice adults. What I could not have known a few years back is how much it costs to answer the waking self’s summons.
In the years since I first started thinking about myself as a person in midlife, I have experienced a trifecta of sweeping changes in work, family, and health. My sense of self has been destabilized, and, even more, what I value has changed. In ways, I do not recognize myself, while in others, I do not recognize the girl in the photographs around my house. It seems like she was always hiding beneath her Mona Lisa smile the woman that would show up in a few decades. All these disillusionments! All these decisions! All this stuff in my kitchen and basement! Continue reading “A Curious Blessing by Natalie Weaver”