Sunday, August 25, 2013

Epiphany

I experienced a mini mid-life crisis during the week leading up to my birthday.  I know 35 isn't old (unless you ask a kid.)  "Old" is a moving target...it's ALWAYS at least 15 years older than you are.  Plus, there is no justice in this universe.  You are not guaranteed to live into old age.  Many (good!) people die young.  Aging is not a right, it is a privilege.  I believe all birthdays should be celebrated.

My mini mid-life crisis was not about age.  It was about purpose.

At 35, I was supposed to have this whole life thing figured out.  I was supposed to know exactly what my contribution to the world would be.  I thought by now, I'd be doing something of consequence.  Right before my birthday, I shared this sentiment with a favorite friend.  She said "What makes you think you are not doing something of consequence?"  Well...I don't really know.  How can you know whether you have affected anyone else or the world?

Friend - "I think you are waiting to experience some grand epiphany that's going to make the world make sense."
Me - "Yes."  (My friend definitely understands me.)
Friend - "You know that's not going to happen, right?!"  (She is not afraid to tell me the truth. A true friend!)

What?!  No "AHA!  And now the world makes sense." ???

Apparently, this is an unrealistic and romanticized view of the world.

Almost a month later...35 doesn't feel any different than 34.  As a matter of fact, I do not feel any different at 35 than I did at 33.  Or 31.  Or 24. Or 16.

I'm not exactly the same person I was at 16 or 24 or 31 or 33.  Life happened.  As a result, I have become more empathetic, compassionate, understanding, and forgiving.  I have also become more cynical and suspicious and sometimes outright pessimistic.  I've simultaneously gained wisdom and laugh lines.  But inside my head, I just feel like me.  I feel like the same me I was at 17 and 22 and 25. Regardless of my age, I'm sure that as long as I'm here (in cognitively good health) I will always feel like me.

I don't know anyone that has this whole life thing figured out.  And it doesn't appear that crystal balls will be hitting the retail shelves anytime soon.  If all the world's problems could be solved with some sort of equation, everyone would be so much better at math.  If happiness had a specific recipe, we would all have that recipe memorized.  If purpose was assigned, we would receive a specific instruction manual.

I have finally come to terms with these truths:  The universe is not fair.  I cannot make peace with evil or sad.  There are (terrible) things in this world which no explanation will ever be acceptable (to me.)  Therefore, so many things about this world will never make sense to me.  I can stop waiting for the aha moment.  Maybe purpose doesn't really exist.  Maybe I will never fully understand exactly what my contribution to the world is.  But being alive means I have made a contribution. Because the reality is, we cannot experience life without interacting with other humans...and every interaction has the potential to leave some sort of imprint on the world.
  

2 comments:

  1. I have to re-have this epiphany every so often. I can relate!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have never been able to put into words about how I feel about my age but you have said it perfectly here :

    " ....But inside my head, I just feel like me. I feel like the same me I was at 17 and 22 and 25. Regardless of my age, I'm sure that as long as I'm here (in cognitively good health) I will always feel like me"

    Love it!

    ReplyDelete