In life I am beginning to realize we never stop growing, changing and seeking out new paths. I know I am not alone; many of my middle-aged friends appear to be questioning what to do next. Our lives always cycle, and what perhaps worked for us in our 20’s no longer holds the same meaning as it once did.
In my 20’s my life was about school, career, relationships, all those things I needed to start my life, and after all, I had plenty of time for everything, right? I made mistakes, endured trials and tribulations, learned valuable lessons, all of which I thought would break me but I have come to realize they have made me stronger and more focused on who I am. When we are younger I think we are often trying to live up to ideals, we get labeled a “wife”, “daughter”, “mother” (for some), “employee”, “friend” and we often try to fit into our preconceived notions of those “roles”. Oftentimes those roles control the paths we take, and ultimately, how we feel about ourselves.
As we age, life will often throw us curve balls such as divorce, children growing up, life changing illness, or the death of a loved one, and all of a sudden, all of those preconceived notions we have held about what our lives should be like are shattered. We are often left standing there, scared and confused, wondering what to do next. For many, this time becomes a period of introspection, we aim to find meaning, and then down the road we realize it’s not a matter of finding it but making meaning for ourselves. We have to attempt to figure out who we are at this stage of our lives, we eventually learn to embrace the good in ourselves and accept the bad. We try to redefine who we are, thinking that as we were in our younger years, we can be labeled. The fun part about getting older is – we really don’t need those labels anymore.
Earlier today, I had posted a quote from Andre Gide,
“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.”
and a conversation started between several friends and I about it. I know that some people love me, and some people hate me and I am okay with that. I guess I am at the point of my life where I care less and less about what others think of me and it’s more about what I think about myself.
I am comfortable with being myself now, and like most, I do have different facets to my personality, and often, only certain people will see certain sides, but all are an essence of who I am. I am a “cards-on-the-table” type of person who will say what I think, but I also think I am empathetic and try not to be hurtful. Oftentimes when overwhelmed I become the “ultimate smartass” trying to find humour rather than feeding the gravity of a situation. I am a “glass half-full” type of person but on my bad days, I often embrace the nickname “Bitchzilla”, and to be honest, I won’t apologize for that…I am human. I am no longer afraid to express myself, I love to show my creativity and I know not everyone will appreciate it but I will regret it if I don’t try.
I am also aware that this “uncertainty” will be “my norm”, challenging things will happen, my perspective will shift and I will constantly be re-evaluating my life. I have to embrace the fact that I cannot see every event as cataclysmic; instead, I should see it as an opportunity for positive growth.