I've thought a lot about the phrase "midlife crisis", and how often people who enter the middle years of their life and express a desire to make a change are often mocked and criticized. In popular culture the phrase is often accompanied by the trope of the middle aged man getting his ear pierced, buying a sports car and dumping his wife of many years for a younger woman, or of the middle aged woman suddenly booking a trip to someplace sun-drenched where she drinks her weight in wine while attempting to write her first novel or create her first work of art. These trite visions reduce this midlife right-of-passage to a caricature, and strip dignity from persons who come to this time in their life feeling a lack of purpose or vision, or who dwell heavily in regret over choices not made. It is a transitional dilemma that I suspect will be visited by most, but which is something that, at least popularly, is not treated with compassion.
I am 42 years old. I am trying, at my middle age, to make an art career for myself. I was recently accepted into a local artists collective, where every member I have met (so far) is younger than me, most by at least 15 years. It's a strange place to be, amongst these young art students. I am a self-taught, not even remotely art educated person. I am deeply grateful for the inclusion, and will learn much from the experience. However, as I have begun to pursue this passion, I have witnessed the reactions of various persons in my life where I can tell that they wonder if they should take the pursuit seriously, or if it's something that I'll just move on from in 6 months. That it's just a phase before I settle into a more typical life for someone my age. (It's not just a phase, by the way. Let me just clear that up right now.)
It's not impossible to forge a new path after 40. There are tons of people who have found their passion after 40 and made a success of it. I believe in my ambition and my passion. And I believe that a "midlife crisis" may just be what some of us need to kick us in the butts. I've been a late bloomer my whole life, and I suppose this is no exception. I'm excited, even a bit impatient at times, to see where this path takes me. I like the idea of being transparent about the journey, about showing people that even people at this age don't have everything figured out or totally know who they are.
With deep love,