“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
– Jack Kerouac
As painful as this blog has been to write at times (and probably a bit to read at times) I think it is doing the two things that I hoped it would. I think it is helping me move forward and pick up the pieces. And I hope it is helping you do the same. More and more of you are reaching out telling me you are going through something very similar and that hearing my story is helping you.
So, as uncomfortable as parading my mess around is at times, I will forge on. Because it turns out, a lot of you are in a bit of a mess as well.
“The middle is messy, but messy is where the magic is”.
– Brene Brown
It seems like so many of us are in the thick of our ‘mid-life crises’. And it wasn’t like the first phase was any easier, at least not for me. I spent the first chunk of my life trying to figure out who the hell I was, and it landed me in a lot of messy situations and with people whom I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen had I known myself better.
I think the difference is that this beginning phase felt exploratory. I was naïve and fearless, but not because of courage per se. Because I didn’t know any better.
In this exploratory phase, I felt less panic or concern for the consequences of what I was doing. If I fucked everything up, the sky wouldn’t fall. Or if it did, I would still have plenty of time to pick up the pieces and start over.
And then I hit this phase of my life. And I actually did fuck everything up. Pretty much everything. And it turns out, the sky did in fact fall.
And I’m panicking. Because now it feels like it is going to take a lifetime to pick up all the pieces, to fix everything, to try to start over. And I no longer have a lifetime.
I have always lived my life, to some degree, in a state of panic. I have always done everything fast- I talk fast, I eat fast, I read fast, I run fast. I used to think I was just programmed that way. I now realize that it is because I always felt this sense of urgency to get to the next thing for fear that I would miss out on something- an opportunity, a lesson, a laugh, a friendship, a love.
Love. This is the one thing I don’t do fast. I fall fast, but I love long and I love hard.
This has only intensified now that I’m in my 40’s. My proverbial sky has fallen and I have no idea where to even start with this whole ‘starting over’ process. And there is still so much I want to do and see, friendships I want to have, love I want to experience- a lifestyle I want to experience with those friends and that love…and I feel like I am running out of time.
I now know that so many of you feel the same. If nothing else, the disaster that my life has turned into over the past year, and my blog describing it, have brought so many of you back into my life. Many of you with whom I wasn’t even that close to before.
It’s a beautiful thing. My patchwork has become so much more colorful and diverse, so many more layers and textures- life-long friends with whom I have a shared history and new friends who have come into my life more recently. One ‘category’ is no more important or meaningful than the other. I just think there is a tendency at this point in our lives to attract people who fit the person we are now.
Meeting a new friend now feels like…magic. It is exciting and giddy with that ‘butterflies in your stomach’ feeling, because I now know it is so rare. When I connect with someone who fits me at this point in my life, it is because I have found more than a friend, I have found a kindred spirit.
And I no longer need to impress you, or win you over, or keep you, or try not scare you away. You are my tribe, no matter the distance, the differences, the time investment, or inconvenience. Both of us are in this and neither of us is going anywhere.
I think an important part of this, too, has been letting go of old relationships that no longer serve me. This has become increasingly more difficult as I get older. More times than not, it is a friend I have a history with, but our paths have become too different or what we want and need from a relationship no longer fits. If more times than not, I walk away from them feeling worse about myself and my life, then it is time to let go. This has also been rare, and it is sad and painful. But there is always a gift, right, for those relationships that come and go. It takes tremendous courage to let them go, and it is also one of the most selfless things you can do. You are allowing that person to fill your space in with someone who will give them what they now need in their lives, things that you just could no longer give them.
So, it seems to be turning out that the gift out of this whole mid-life mess has been the new additions to my tribe. And yes, you are in fact a lot like me, and you fit. You inspire me and you make me want to be better. You make me laugh and you piss me off and you make me feel. You lift me up, you celebrate me, and you make me want to do the same for you.
You are colorful, a little crazy, a lot opinionated, a bit complicated, and you are smart and engaging and creative and fun.
And, you are messy. You are a big, beautiful, brilliant mess…who burns, burns, burns, like fabulous yellow roman candles…
Your faithful gypsy,