Last week I published a post on travel and the thirty-something midlife crisis. In the article I discussed the seemingly high level of general dissatisfaction felt by many in Generations X and Y. I then discussed how this same malaise had struck my family, to the point where it was actually causing physical harm to my partner.
Ironically enough, on the day I hit the publish button on the post, my partner had a stress test where it was determined that his heart is not beating regularly and that he would have to start taking medication. He is thirty-one years old and the cardiologist said that his heart issues were entirely due to stress. His JOB has greatly increased his chance of having a heart attack.
In short, last week was the perfect storm of conflicting emotions. What was incredibly helpful to me during the start of this process of self-assessment were the dozens of comments the post received. At the time of writing, I had 44 thoughtful and inspiring responses. I wish I could highlight all of them, but that would make for a novella. Rather, I would like to reprint some of the thoughts.
Avril, from Got Passport:
“ This post literally made me weep as I know exactly, to the letter, what you are referring to…I’m determined not to wake up UNHAPPY at 50. I simply refuse. It is finally happening for us and it’s a painful process (it really is, at least for me it has been)…it’s now time to figure out how you will go about getting that very thing you want.”
“ You put so eloquently into words many of the ideas I have been pondering for the last couple of years! I’m in a very similar situation. I’m nearing 40 and I have a good job, a wonderful partner who also has a career she loves, we own a home, and have a furkid :) I often ask myself if I am just going to continue on this same path for the next 20-30 years until I retire or try to get out and do something more interesting now. While I have not come to a conclusion about that yet, I’m so happy to find others who are questioning it and actually getting out there…”
Finally, Bethany of Beers and Beans:
“Your partner needs to get out. You need to get out. This blog is obviously the beginning of you starting the path. So you have a house and dogs? So what? You can still do it…What is the worst that can happen? The jobs you only half like will still be there when you get back. Maybe not the exact same job but something similar. ..The best that can happen? You both flourish, you spend time together, you learn to really love yourself, you find new ways to make life happen, you live life fully.”
Everyone who goes through this process must take time to assess where they are in their life and where they want to go. This is necessarily an awkward and deliberate process and is unique to the individual.
Sometimes it will necessitate a drastic change in one’s life and for others it may mean a simple realignment of priorities. What is most important, no matter your ultimate destination, is to be honest and realistic about your life and your goals.
So, what are we going to do? Well, that is the proverbial million dollar question I suppose. While the notion of strapping on a backpack and leaving the real world behind is very attractive, it simply is not the right choice for us at the moment. This process though has helped us communicate better, determine what it is we really want out of life and how to best achieve those goals.
For the moment, I am going to continue growing my blog during the evenings and weekends and work hard at making it as successful as possible. I have some other ideas in the works, but for the moment that is all they are – ideas.
As I wrote in my original post, I firmly believe that I am finally asking the right questions and that through my blog and the people I meet along the way, I will receive the much anticipated answers.
Have you gone through a similar self-assessment? What changes, if any, did you make to your life?