But the rest of our world has been mixed up, shaken up, tossed upside down and turned over and over. Do you know I have not picked up a stitch of sewing or done anything creative that I normally would do as my outlet for the craziness for 6 months. I haven't even felt my normal need to write here on my blog.
Some things that have happened in my past have reared up and given me cause to rethink everything in my life that happened to me from the age of 20 onwards. I've been going over old choices, old decisions and wondering what would have happened if I had taken the other path. Where would I be right now? What would I be doing?
Just because I've been thinking about that doesn't necessarily mean that I believe I've taken the wrong pathway, just that with new information that has come to my knowledge lately, it has made me reassess where I'm going in life.
I took this picture of me the other day. I looked at it and thought, "I'm 40. I'm still relatively young. I hopefully still have some of my best years ahead of me. What do I want to do with them?"
I have four amazing children, and I could spend the next 10-15 years just being their mother. Just making their lunches, cleaning up their messes, transporting them here, there and everywhere, making sure they do their homework and get their projects handed in on time. Arranging play dates with friends, having birthday parties etc, etc. I could quite easily fill my days up with all those things. And they are good things. Worthy things. But then, one by one, they will leave home and go out to find their own pathway in the world. And what then for me? What will I do? I will be in my mid 50's and while it wouldn't be too late to do anything else, I would have given up 15 years. Do I want that? My mother did it. My grandmothers did it. Lots of women have done it. But will I be happy with that? Is that where happiness lies for me?
And I'm afraid, that for me, I want something else out of life. I want to do something that pleases me. I want to write. I want to accomplish something because I challenged myself and my intellect. It is a revelation that has come to me because in the past I was successful because I was pretty. Doors opened for me because of my looks. That is what my crisis has shown me. It's true. It's terrible. And it's a sad fact that it happens everyday to thousands of girls all over the world.
All my life I have been a people-pleaser. I have been afraid of rejection. I have wanted people to like me. There's nothing wrong with that, but what would happen if I stopped worrying about what others thought of me? What would happen if my reputation as a good christian girl was destroyed and lying in ruins?
I believe that God gives everyone something that they're good at. A talent. I wish that God had given me the gift of art. Truly I do. I would like nothing better than to be able to sit down with canvas and paint and create a beautiful picture. But He didn't. As hard as I try I can't get past the elementary school art look. But I do believe He did give me the ability to write. Since I was 5 years old I have wanted to write. I don't actually particularly enjoy it, but there's something in me that must write. I got really mad at someone the other day (it wasn't my husband or any of my children). Like - really mad. And my only outlet was to write it out. I penned a scathing email to this person - I was so angry. I wrote down everything I thought about that person, everything I wanted them to know about themselves. And when it was done, I read it over and I deleted it. And I suddenly realised something. The anger was gone. Gone. I still wanted to be angry at this person. But I wasn't. Writing it out had cured me. That was my revelation that writing is part of me. I've read enough books and biographies to recognize that in other writers. It's an outlet. A passion. A need. I don't necessarily want it, but I've got it. And I'm going to pursue it. Perhaps I should have done it at 20. But I didn't. But I'm going to do it now, at 40.
I'm looking at my options and will hopefully be applying for a 3 year course in journalism. A course studied at home to suit my needs and the needs of my family. I can't go to the main journalism school anymore. My chance for that has passed. But thankfully, there is a school quite close to where I live that specialises in older students and I'm hoping to be accepted. If I don't get accepted for next year, I'll try again the following year.
I also want to learn to sail. The sea is in my blood. We are getting the children a little sailing dinghy for the summer, and I've roped in some of Rob's cousins to teach us how to do it. I learned when I was 14 years old at the famous Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, but all that is forgotten now, and I really, really want to relearn it. I want to know how to make a little ship do what you want on the ocean. I want to feel the wind on my face and hear the flapping of sail as I steer a boat through the sea. Rob loves boats too, and I can just see us as grandparents in 25-30 years taking little people out on our sailboat for a night's excursion around the Hauraki Gulf islands. Putting down anchor in a quiet, green little bay, listening to the lapping of the water around the belly of the boat. Mmmmmm. Love. My grandfather gave that love and that memory to me. How poetic it would be to pass that on to my grandchildren. I hope it happens like that. It's a nice dream anyway.
So is this a mid-life crisis? Maybe. But maybe I wouldn't have had it if those things in my past hadn't been brought to my attention again. Maybe this is my way of turning something bad into something good. All I know is that I want to live authentically. I want my life to count for something. I don't want to throw my talent back in God's face and say 'no thanks'. I want to put the past behind me. Deal with it. Learn from it. And then turn away from it. Turn away from the dark and turn towards the light. I want to lift my face towards the sun and embrace tomorrow.