Every ten years
It feels uncomfortable, but vaguely familiar. It's a struggle that comes with a change. I felt it first when I was in my early twenties, fresh out of college and finally an adult. A long-term relationship ended and a career was started. I'm embarrassed to think of the amount crying that happened during that transition, but I came out of it better than ever. My career as a business professional rose quickly. I met my husband. I bought a house and meet all my financials goals before I was thirty. I spent the next five years coasting through my life and feeling fine.
The next time I struggled through a shift was when I had my daughter. In my mid-thirties, a surprise pregnancy meant that my husband and I had to rethink our entire future. Goals were be set aside. I struggled to find balance between a career and raising our baby girl. I often felt lost and frustrated. I still cried my way through the transition, but with fewer tears. I reconnected with my creativity and eventually found a way to rebuild my life into something that made me happy. I walked out of that fire, caring a baby girl and an art career.
Now I'm at it again. My daughter grows more independent daily and needs me less. My husband and I are talking about five year plans and, when I do the math, I realize that our daughter likely won't be living with us then. She will be off to college. Even now, there are days of school and activities, leaving me alone for hours and hours. I am unsure of what to do with myself. I think about getting a "real" job. I think about starting a different kind of business. I think about volunteer work. I think and I sit in uncertainty. I cry much less this time because I know I can sit and let the chaos wash over me. I meditate everyday and let the feelings wash over me, and allow myself to feel them as they appear. I used to allow them to build-up as I stuffed them away in fear until I overflowed in tidal waves of tears, anger, and anxiety. I let myself mourn my youth, my middle years, my mothering-a-young child years, and I face my old age and my mothering-a-teen years with hope and the belief that I will come out of this life change a little better, just like I did when I in my mid to late twenties and mid to late thirties. (Apparently, my life changes/crisis come at the end of each decade.) I know, just like it happened before, that right now I am peddling uphill. It takes enormous strength. Sometimes it feels like I pedal and pedal and I don't move forward. But, oh, when I crest that hill! I will speed down that hill, hair flying behind me and the cooling wind blowing in my face. Yes, that will make the climb worth it.