Midlife Opening

Opening To A New Life

In a previous post. My friend, Ellen, saw where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do. She made an internal shift, that was reflected in her behavior and decision to open a knitting store.  She was aware of that light going on, but not everyone feels that. The shift can be subtle.

In contrast, our friend Mel, got up one morning and started experimenting with how to make a new unique coffee cake. His hobby was always to shop and make the family meals. The difference was that now, he was drawn, pulled, to experiment. He was never conscious of any internal process. When he finished the coffee cake four hours later, he was excited and motivated. He was so energized that he dove into the computer, to discover where and when he could start cooking school. Only then, was he was able to recognize the power of this new force. There is, in fact, always an internal shift, or we wouldn’t change our behavior at all. Without that shift, there would be no motivation to change or create. However you experience it, it’s like Ellen’s light being turned on. There is a new inner sense of readiness, a new awareness.

In my process of self discovery, I looked at my past, and wondered what  I would genuinely enjoy and feel excited about. One old interest I remembered, was to make jewelry out of antique beads. I had enjoyed doing that in high school. As luck would have it, my husband introduced me to a lovely women who made jewelry for a living. She was generous enough to teach me a lot about fasteners, stones and the styles of manipulating materials to create new masterpieces. We spent whole afternoons at her house creating necklaces, earrings and bracelets. She even took me to a high-end store that was displaying our creations.  When this teacher choose two of my pieces to sell, I knew I had made a big step. I couldn’t believe it. I  was excited, almost tipsy, from her recognition of my work.

When the success wore off, my teacher informed me it was time to pick up the pace. I had to move faster to build a supply of merchandise. I felt cramped and awkward. I froze inside. It was as if my creativity had died.  I didn’t want to work at her house anymore. I felt guilty because she had taken so much time with me.  I felt inadequate. I watched her generate one lovely piece of jewelry after another and felt worse. She was always stimulated and motivated. She liked what she created. It was clear to me, she was driven to do the work and I was not. I just didn’t have the fire and drive to do it as a job.  I didn’t have the interest to keep working to gain creative confidence. What stumped me, was that I usually jump into a challenge. I get excited by the difficulty. Yet, I didn’t want to work this problem out. I knew this wasn’t it.  Back to the empty stage for me.

It Takes Patience

Thinking about it, I discovered my mistake. I had made finding something to do, too important. I was really uncomfortable not having a direction. Being a truly goal-directed person was limiting here. To make this shift from one way of engaging with life to another, I had to be at ease with not knowing what I wanted, or where I wanted to go. It was hugely uncomfortable for me. Yet, I learned I need to be fulfilled, empowered and stimulated, but not addicted and needy about having a new direction for my life. I guess that process was worth it, because now I can share it with you. Be patient with yourself. It may take some time, but it’s worth it.

What’s your experience? Have you ever felt like you had to find a new direction, only to discover a dead end?

One comment on “Midlife Opening

  1. As you described so well, not knowing what’s next or the answer and being willing to stay in that space, can be very uncomfortable. It can also ultimately lead us to profound self discovery and “what’s next” will naturally appear.

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