In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in a dark wood, where the true way was wholly lost.
David Whyte has a great image in his audio set, Midlife and the Great Unknown. He describes the moment when you are at the end of a project or when you have settled your affairs. You finally tidy up the house, make a cup of coffee and sit down to enjoy the peace and achievement. Maybe you’ve been looking forward to reading your favourite book, turning up the music full volume, putting your feet up? I am here at last you might think to yourself. I have finally arrived. (I may not be remembering this fully accurately as it’s many years since I devoured this little gem of wisdom, but it went something like this.)
Anyway in that moment there is a feeling of deep relaxation, completion and a huge sigh of relief! As you put your feet up to sink into that precious moment of being, a knock comes to the door…….This to David is the essence of mid-life; just as we think we have it sussed, a new spanner is thrown into the works. All we can know for sure is that every stage, event, project, dream is transient and that an unscheduled knock at the door is always looming.
Some how this image soothed me in a period of wondering what I would do for the rest of my days. I was probably coming up to 50, and having that “who am I, what am I” mid life crisis. This unsettling feeling gripped me, but I had some illusion that it would pass as I got older.
Ha! Fat chance! Why? Because it keeps on happening! Just as I think I might have a handle on the Great Unknown, I find that everything has changed, I need to go in some new direction, and I am without a clue yet again.
My day job involves a flimsy year to year contract and has done all my life. I’ve never actually had one of those permanent and pensionable jobs. I’ve been privileged to work in the social sector where there is such scope for good work and relationships with good people. To continue to be paid to do it, most of the time, has been lucky for sure.
But it has never been secure and I have become used to the flotsam and jetsam flow of work, the tide coming in and going out. At this age I am wondering (yes again) if I might steal a moment or two to put the kettle on and put my feet up? I seem to be craving it. Yes I am still drawn towards that illusive state of peace and tranquility, a closing of the front door behind me…..
And although I know it won’t last, I wonder would it ever at least just begin?
Marigold Jam says
Put your feet up in spite of things not being settled rather than because they are finally sorted because as sure as anything nothing in life will ever be fully sorted and as fast as one problem or project is finished another is coming along behind. I used to think that I'd one day be like your author and have time to breathe that sigh of relief and become the serene being I was obviously meant to be but now in my 70s I have come to the conclusion that the day that will happen will be my last as life by its very nature is never static – until it ends!!
Haha!! I'm so glad that I'm not the only one Marigold!! Although I know this is true, that nothing is static until the END……it's so good to be reminded xx
Kerry O'Gorman says
I think its an age old feeling to feel on edge about "whats next" but I try to be content and keep busy with creating and flowing along that river of life. Sure I'm going to hit the rapids and the dried up creeks but I THINK I've got a pretty good paddle…for now!! I do crave those moments of peace and welcome them wholeheartedly indeed! Tea, chocolate and a good novel or British Country Living magazine…ZEN
I just love your idea of ZEN Kerry!! For me it would be a little more travel as I have fierce itchy feet and a set of wheels out there just begging to be sped off on an adventure……so I'm working on it!! Thanks for the wisdom as always….
Gotham Girl says
I couldn't agree more with Kerry and Marigold! Also…found this great article on creativity that I thought you'd enjoy…perhaps you've seen it already. Hope the link works! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/elizabeth-gilbert-on-creativity_5638fccce4b00a4d2e0c179c?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000027 I also just ordered Gilbert's book – Big Magic – I recall you mentioning her book in one of your postings…looking forward to reading…
Thank you Robin! That article is so HER! I think you will love the book. She is funny and irreverent about the whole thing, which is so freeing. One of my favourite parts is about what kind of "shit sandwich" you are prepared to eat to cling on to your creative space. LOL I'm using that one a lot in my mentoring!!!
So great to read your post and all the comments above. It seems we are not alone, Catherine! Just when we think we can wind down for a moment…up comes the TV ad "but wait, there's more!" I do hope that you can fulfil your travel urges again…specially as we are able to come along for the ride.
Ha! I love that Jane….."but wait there's more….." brilliant. I will literally do ANYTHING at this point to take a trip and change the record……so off to Derry in Northern Ireland for a few days in the middle of a raging storm, but what the heck!!
patio garden furniture says
Glad I see this post! I do crave those moments of peace . Thanks for sharing you beautiful photos!
Glad you enjoyed the photos especially!
I have been putting my feet up a lot lately. I have no idea where I am headed and if I will get there but I am making sure, I rest, relax and enjoy the moment…so put those feet up!
Donna, I love the sound of that!! Go for it…..
Donna, I love the sound of that!! Go for it…..