MY TRUTH

Thoughts About Life

06/26/2019

I am not doing okay, and I am not sure how many days in a row that I can say that to myself and not do anything about it.

I know that a lot of my feelings of apathy, confusion, and depression likely stem from my lack of sleep. It seems almost ironic that I used to get around five hours of sleep per night in my twenties and I did just fine, burning the candle at both ends, but now I get seven hours and I seem to fall apart.

I just feel so lost lately.

I feel juvenile in my thoughts and feelings and that is leaving me in a world of confusion and loneliness.  

I am not sure how to articulate my feelings exactly and I question if other people feel this way too.  Perhaps this is the true midlife crisis that others talk about.

Everything that I seem to do or have done simply feels vapid and irrelevant. My mind seems to be slipping and I cannot hold onto memories of the past. There seem to be decades of my life that I can barely recall.

With movies like The Matrix and shows like Black Mirror, these gaps in my memory have me questioning my viability as a human at all.  Am I just a programmed entity devoid of any true past or history? Is today just a day and the glimpses of a past that I seem to have lived all just part of the program? – Enough backstory to get by and make me feel like I lived a life?  

Why does everything seem so out of reach – so intangible?

The search for meaning in life, seems to be the dangling fruit that keeps us going, but lately I feel like I am tripping over my own feet on this treadmill we call life.

I am confused and lost.

I have been seeking out God for answers. Longing to trust in something much bigger than myself. Recently, I began going to a church that I have truly connected with. The pastors speak from the heart and guide us on how the bible speaks to today’s trials and tribulations. They introduce us to an all loving and all forgiving God. The focus is less on the structure of religion, which I feel like was the focus of my Catholic upbringing, and more on our relationship with God and the brothers and sisters around us – using his word to give us guidance in our own lives.  Teaching us to treat everyone with love, including ourselves.

This is also the message in the work of “A Course In Miracles” that I have been studying this past year. That love is the answer in all things.

Yet, a love for myself feels so distant as of late. I feel knocked off course. Perhaps it is because we have been traveling for many consecutive weekends in a row and my sleep is terribly off track. Or that I have not been to church, which helps me feel grounded. Or because the last month of school and beginning of summer has been chaotic and so my studies have been thrown off course. 

Perhaps it is simply that I am longing for a closer relationship with God and yet it feels scary to get too close for fear of rejection or judgment from others who hold different beliefs than I.

So I am left feeling like I am at a precipice in my life, wanting longingly to dive head first towards the unknown of a God who I am taught will love every fiber in my body because each piece of me was delicately crafted with love by him, but I am terrified that this jump will leave all those I love standing and looking over me in judgment from that high and mighty cliff, regardless of the lovely valley I may fall into.

I fear becoming my grandmother. A woman who ironically I favor physically and have always looked up to and adored, but whom others felt scorned by or alienated from. I know there is much more to the story, but a large piece of it is that her affinity and belief in her religion was so strong that she drove people away with her preaching. So much to the point that some family did not even attend her funeral. 

Would diving in to something I feel a heart filled longing for be cause for rejection as well?

As I write, I realize how alone and terrified I feel.

A lost child, looking for her father. Torn between two and confused on who to pledge allegiance to, knowing in my heart where I truly belong. 

My father versus my Father.

I feel that I have spent my whole life longing for my father’s approval, trying to make him proud and always feeling like I am falling short, despite of his actually feelings of love towards me. 

Is it not ironic that I seek approval from my father, when I have a Father who is all knowing, all forgiving, and all loving? Yet I fear judgment from my dad, and others in my life, for embracing my love for God. 

No wonder I feel lost.

And my monkey mind won’t slow down. I question my every move, praying for guidance on my calling – my path.  Looking for signs of what I am supposed to be doing with my life. Applying for jobs, taking new courses, trying out new talents – and with each new step I feel more lost, as if I am sinking in quicksand. 

I feel discord at my desire to invest in my future, while feeling like I may be neglecting the opportunity to push my children towards their own. Is this feeling of confusion that is fogging my life keeping me from being a good parent? Am I doing enough to foster their growth and potential or am I being too egocentric trying to figure out who I am?

When I look at my daughter, I think about the endless potential that I had when I was her age.  This idea that you can be anything when you grow up conflicted with the reality that with a world of endless opportunities, you may just get lost in a sea of choices and find yourself washed up on the shore three decades later wondering what happened to all that potential. And yet, I know in all reality, except for a marginal amount of opportunities – each potential life that I may have dreamt of along these past thirty years are still viable options for me, yet I still stand here paralyzed from the overwhelming amount of options and the fear of picking the wrong path.

It seems only natural that I would look for guidance in something bigger than me, does it not?

I don’t feel like I am alone in my thinking. I believe in the universality of thought and know that there are others out there feeling just as lost and confused and questioning why the older we get – when we should be acquiring wisdom – the more lost we feel. Yet, I sometimes feel like I am on an island because it doesn’t seem like this is something we discuss openly. 

We don’t get greeted at the school yard with a simple “How are you doing?” and answer with a sincere “Not well, I am spiraling in a confusing and isolating fog of existential angst, yet I am also wholly cognizant of the fact that these are completely first world problems for the financially stable and have an overwhelming amount of gratitude for my life and blessings which as a result of that reality makes me feel even more lost and confused. Thanks for asking”.  

And so, I write freely in a stream of consciousness. And I share. Despite my fear of judgment and criticism from others. Or my fear of others knowing my innermost thoughts – so that perhaps I’ll feel some connection with others who are spiraling alongside with me in this thing we call life. 

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply Virginia G Soskin 06/29/2019 at 2:42 pm

    Oh, my dear Jess, I went through the same feelings at age 45-52 or so. A VERY confusing time. I had gotten osteoporosis in my thirties when my kids were pre-K and then I kind of got PTSD 15 years later….I had not been able to teach as I had wanted to do, so all my education seemed unused. I figured out how to do art at home and in reality my kids were glad I was home when they got home from school. I went to a psychologist for awhile and got some anti depression meds that I am still on. With that and journaling I was able to quiet the desperate voices that went round and round like tapes playing neverending crap in my mind. I sort of recovered to help my kids with their HS problems and college admissions and as they began lives post graduate on their own. Today I am 68, my kids are in their 30s, and all that doubt and questioning of my life an its purpose have calmed down and I am serene, even though I dealt with breast cancer two years ago. We have traveled to the UK, Italy, and this year Paris. So there definitely IS a more serene life than in your 40s. I think those are hard times as we compare what we thought we had the potential to do and then realize what we actually did — dealing with everything life throws at us, from marriage to kids to moving to parenting to illnesses, being fired, etc. Heck, no wonder women wonder what it’s all for. I remember reading A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh because I remember seeing it always on my Mom’s bedside table. I think it speaks to those feelings of “am I good enough” and “what am I doing with my life.” After reading it I felt closer to my Mom b/c I was a little shocked to realize that she had felt the same things I did when she was in her 40s, yet she was a great housewife and mother when we kids were going through so much turmoil in the 1960s. It wasn’t easy being a parent in that era, nor being a teen either. But it was better than the Depression or WW2 that SHE had gone through as a preteen and teenager.

    So basically what you are feeling is a normal and natural phase. Try to identify activities that bring you serenity and joy whether it be yoga, rowing, baking, painting or whatever. Do more of those. Live in the moment during them; don’t think too much about whether it is valuable or valid. If you are doing it and you enjoy it, then it’s good for you spiritually and mentally. Connect as much as possible with Damon and the kids. Your relationships with your kids will change as they grow. And that’s to be expected and normal too. I used to think a lot about my relationship with my father too. He was the typical 1950’s undemonstrative man who was not encouraging when I wanted to try something new. My brothers were more encouraged to “go for it.” Not me, the girl. I think it was typical male stuff about protecting the daughter. Yadda, yadda. I think it made me more tentative and not as courageous and brave as I might have been. I was like Beth in Little Women, the cricket on the hearth. FINALLY after I got my BFA I went away to get my M. Ed. and I was on my own. Oh well, water under the bridge. Mom was much more like, “give it a try and it you like it great, if not, you learned you don’t like it and that’s good too.”

    You will overcome this. If you feel you need to talk with a therapist do so. That helped me quite a bit. I went to two of them. Meds can also help. It’s good to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed. Think about what brings you joy, what your passion is, and go with that. It is OK to go in several directions too; you don’t have to limit yourself to one thing. However, we can’t do EVERYTHING at once. You may go through phases — be a counselor for awhile, photographer for awhile and then something brand new. If those don’t make you feel fulfilled, keep looking. We can go through different phases in life. Once your kids are launched you have a lot more time to look around and select what you want to do and it is quite freeing. We love our kids but honestly, it’s nice to think just about ourselves too. We spend so much time giving, giving, giving to our husband and kids that sometimes we get burned out and need help to get back on track. You can do it, Jess. Keep going to worship and talking with God too. God is always there and never deserts you and always is desirous of having a relationship with you. God hasn’t failed me yet and life has really thrown me some curve balls, let me tell ya! I give you a big hug across the miles. I love you, admire you and enc0urage you. OMG, I would ADORE grandchildren but do not think we will ever have any, drat it all. Daughter says, “you could rent some.” Har, har. So we have cats instead.

    • Reply Jess 07/14/2019 at 10:14 pm

      Thank you for this heartfelt and open comment. It truly means a lot to me and your words are very wise. Trying to do just that and it’s nice to have a warm hug (even from afar) and a nudge in the right direction. Miss and love you. xo

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