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Posts tagged ‘frustration’

What’s Going On?

So if you are an American woman in your forties, like I am, you may have seen a recent article called “The New Midlife Crisis” (http://www.oprah.com/sp/new-midlife-crisis.html). Even if you don’t follow Oprah.com, it has been getting shared through Facebook so quickly you can practically see skid marks.

The author, Ada Calhoun, asserts that women in their forties are going through midlife crises – a term that was previously reserved for middle-aged men. She’s got examples and statistics to back it up, too. Ms. Calhoun states that the reasons for this are multi-fold – environmental, societal, psychological, and even medical. But, because of women’s historical need to “keep it together”, the manifestations of the female midlife crisis can be much quieter than a man’s – almost secretive or insidious. So, people around us have no clue what’s going on, or why we are doing things possibly considered erratic or unusual.  The quote I think best sums up the feelings she describes is the following:

“Midlife is when we need to take care of everyone else while we are our most tired, to trust ourselves when we’re most filled with doubt. What makes it worse is that many of our midlife fears are well founded. We may, in fact, die alone. Our marriages may never improve. We may never get the number of kids we hoped for. We may never save enough money to make the retirement calculators stop screaming. We may never do a fraction of what we thought we would do in our career.

At 4 a.m., this is the loop in my head. Then, I remind myself (again) of how insanely lucky I am. It could be so, so much worse.”

The article explains why so many 40-something women I know are making changes in their lives, with varying degrees of risk. Starting new hobbies, traveling to exotic locales, changing careers, starting businesses, freelancing, writing blogs, and so on. It may also explain why people I know who have been together for twenty years or more are splitting up. We are looking for fulfillment on a deeper level, sometimes without even knowing what that means for us, or the far-reaching repercussions it may have.

Now, while it is a relief to know that I am not alone when feeling this way, I wonder… is this a purely American thing? Or is it going on in other countries where economies and lifestyles are similar? Could it be that the freedoms and choices we have really made things worse, and more pressure-filled, instead of better? Are women in cultures with less choices and freedom experiencing midlife crises as well? Furthermore, what can we do about it? Identification and discussion may be the first steps, but without follow-up, it’s hollow and ineffectual.

On the up side, the author does state that these feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction eventually change with age. But do you really want to wait until your 60s or 70s to feel better about your life? That’s an awfully long time to wait it out!

I thought “The New Midlife Crisis” was a fascinating read, and personally it resonated pretty strongly. But do you agree with Ms. Calhoun, or do you think she’s making a mountain out of a molehill? Is this something that women around the world are dealing with today? If you suspect you are going through a midlife crisis, how are you handling it? Let me know what you think.

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Impatience, Aggravation, and Frustration

Some days (or weeks) things do not gel, no matter how much you would like them to. I try to keep in mind that these are first world problems; they are not earth-shattering, and should not get me down. But it doesn’t always work.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that I have all the essentials of a good life. I’ve got a roof over my head, food in the pantry, and a fantastic husband I love dearly. But, when you finally decide to go after a dream, you want things to happen – like NOW. You know? And when things don’t fall into place as quickly or smoothly as planned, well… let’s just say I have never been a very patient person anyway.

So, what has me griping, you wonder?

I am still waiting for my firing that should have been completed by last Friday. Since I do not have my own kiln yet, I have paid a studio for use of theirs. Which I am not allowed to run. So far, it looks like firing won’t even be completed by THIS Friday. Needless to say, I am currently not impressed with their service.

I am also using new glazes for this firing. Without familiarity of how they finish, or how much these glazes run, self doubt and paranoia are intensifying more with each passing (unfired) day. I am having visions of glazes running down kiln shelves, and ending up with a batch of the ugliest pots known to man. Could it happen? Sure. Is it a realistically likely scenario? Probably not. Does knowing this stop me from thinking it? Heck, no!

What would keep my mind off these things is throwing more pots. But it’s been so rainy and humid lately that I can’t get my recycled clay to dry out enough into a good throwing consistency. For every day I get of beautiful throwing, I seem to get another two of yucky, over-wet recycling mess. And throwing a few dozen plates just won’t do it for me.

Adding to that the usual personal finance issues, some new extended family issues, and another day that looks like rain – we can safely say that I am having difficulty maintaining a positive attitude today.

Sigh! Hopefully, some of you out there know what it’s like. And those of you hitting roadblocks (large or small) while following your dreams can know you are not alone. I’m not looking for pity here, but needed to vent a little. Venting, in small doses, sometimes makes it easier to move forward.

As my grandmother used to say, “This too shall pass”. I would just like to add to that bit of wisdom “Please hurry up already!”.