Questions from a Midlife Crisis

How do you remain enchanted with your life? Since becoming empty nested I have days at a time where I lose my enchantment and wonder about the meaning of it all. Is there meaning or are we just a bunch of atoms endlessly swirling around the universe? If life is choose-your-own-adventure, then does it matter what I choose? Would one choice matter:mean more than another? If we make our own meaning, then doesn’t that imply life is inherently meaningless?

Why does a big part of me feel done with purpose now that I raised my babies? It will always be my greatest accomplishment, but it isn’t everything.  Motherhood was never supposed to be everything. I tried not to let it define:confine me by also being a nonprofit professional, an artist, and a community builder. And yet now I feel lost without motherhood directing my choices. Motherhood gave me a container, a shape, a purpose, and now I feel like an amorphous blob with little definition. I keep trying on new shapes and they don’t fit, or perhaps I don’t yet know how get them fitted for me. I had to make motherhood fit because my babies needed me. I was the only chance they had to transcend the circumstances they were born into. And maybe that is the underlying loss – I am no longer needed. I am no longer necessary. I am a choice and a lot of people have said no to choosing me. Four jobs let me go since moving to Portland. Countless social media “friends” I reached out to weren’t interested in deeper connection. I don’t know where I belong, if anywhere, beyond the walls of my home and marriage.

All those years of mothering alone and serving my community all I wanted was a healthy partnership. Now I have my dream partner and a chosen family in our adoption triad, but everything else is a mess. I am writing, but I can’t seem to finish anything beyond these daily posts. I am making art, but I don’t know what will come of it. I am supposed to be trusting myself this year, but today it is all doubt. And the comparison gremlins are shouting at me that I am nothing next to all of these brilliant humans I know making meaning in their ways and being chosen for it. Today I am lost.

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