I’ve been putting off writing this for weeks, maybe months.
I’ve been reluctant to admit that I’m going through a tough period right now. For the first time in my life, I’ve been having something similar to a “mid-life crisis,” but that’s not it exactly. I’m not sure there’s a name for what’s been bugging me.
You see, even now, I’m beating around the bush. Why can’t I go ahead and just say it?
So, here it is: I’m struggling with the idea that I’m getting old. I’ve never before felt my age like I’m feeling it now. And I’ve been trying to make sense of how to handle this transition.
Such a difficulty is not absolutely new to me. I recall struggling mightily during that period of my life when I was moving into adolescence. At that time, I felt awkward and ugly. I wanted to know girls but felt romantically inept. There were changes going on in my body and in my thinking. I wasn’t a child, but I wasn’t truly a man either. I guess you could say I was caught between two development phases. That “caught” feeling is something I viscerally understand now as I again go through a difficult transition.
The difference between my adolescence phase and my current situation is that I’m so much closer to the end of my life now than I was earlier. So, even though I often felt miserable as a teenager, I knew that I was just getting started in life. I hadn’t yet finished my education or had a career. The sky seemed to be the limit because so much was unknown and incomplete. Today, I’m at the end of my work life, and I know how it all turned out. Much of the story has now been told. Most of my life is done.
Today, I observe myself in decline. I’m not ancient—although, technically speaking, I’m old enough to have grandchildren—and I’m certainly not young. Everything about me has changed, and not necessarily for the better. I even find myself having “senior moments,” an innocuous-sounding euphemism for the cognitive decline many of us will eventually face. So, even my intellect, that part of me which was always my greatest strength and my most reliable asset, is losing some of its vitality.
It’s not all bad news. I’ll be retiring soon. Once I free myself from the tyranny of the workplace, I expect to experience a kind of personal renaissance.
Thanks for reading, and I’m very much interested in hearing from those who’ve had similar challenges. How have you faced them? What are your recommendations?
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