This belt. I’ve worn it nearly every day for years. If I told you that my everyday belt was white studded leather, you might laugh and think it was tacky. Maybe it is, but it’s funny the things that we reach for, the things that we put on everyday like a security blanket. Maybe it’s like armour, something to hide behind. Or maybe it’s just a belt, or a studded leather bracelet (I do have a thing for studs, I must admit), or a pair of earrings. These small hoops were novel when I bought it 14 years ago because it was the first piece of gold jewelry that I’ve ever been compelled to buy and wear, but that color of gold was too inviting, like little nuggets of sunshine, and it made all my other silver jewelry look gray and cold. Now, 14 years later, they rarely leave my ears.
I’m up way too late these days, pushing bedtimes to 3am. But while I’m up, let me elaborate on that whole “being middle-aged is like being a teenager all over again” statement I made on the last post. Some of you seemed horrified at the prospect of living through that angst again – and maybe you won’t by the time you get here, but I actually found some relief when I connected that analogy. I feel like there might be a shift happening; I don’t know towards (or away?) from what, but sometimes you feel these things like faint butterflies deep inside your gut. But before there are answers, there’s this unsettled period where a lot doesn’t make sense anymore and you start to question everything including your identity. Insecurity follows; sometimes loneliness and isolation too. But it isn’t depression because that feeling, which isn’t at all tangible at this stage, is kissed with a hint of hope and optimism on the other side. I know this might not make any sense (this is what happens when you get to be my age, apparently – you start rambling nonsense and lord help me if this blog turns into some kind of self help journal for the middle aged), but it helps to sort out these complex feelings by writing them down and that’s when it hit me that I’ve felt this before, when I was a teenager headed into college. The years that followed were a wonderful, tangled mess of experimentation, letting go, making ugly mistakes and making huge leaps of faith, sometimes without a plan.
I’m feeling like there is some sort of next stage in life imminently approaching. The girls are growing up and aren’t so little anymore; their needs from me as a parent are changing. Despite the fact that it’s sometimes terrifying, I’m a role model to them now more than ever. As the industry I work in continually changes, my career as freelancer and designer might also be shifting (and to be perfectly honest, I can’t help but feel there is an expiring timeline at work here). I also feel like we need to step into the next phase of the business, whatever that route may be. We’re trying to figure it out, but I know we’ve played it safe in the past, partly because we need this business to be a solid rock in the way that it supports our family. Business aside, I’m yearning to do something different and big, whether just for myself or another business venture. Sometimes I think I’m crazy when I think this way – after all, I barely have enough time to even keep up with what’s on my plate now, but it’s a persistent nagging that I can’t ignore. I don’t even know what “IT” is, but I want to allow myself the time and freedom to mess around and figure it out. I know that in order to even begin thinking about this I have to shut down some of these outside noises that waste my time and not be so concerned with what everyone else is doing. This means spending less time on social media and not comparing myself to a thousand other people. But this also means spending more quality time talking with the people I care about.
A few months ago, I felt this sudden pull towards the coast. Sometimes we can’t explain what moves or pulls us, but I’ve been planning a trip around it this summer. I don’t know what I’m going to find there – maybe nothing – but I’m following my gut on what inspires me at the moment. This seems like a good path to follow. If I were to continue with that analogy of feeling like a teenager on some sort of precipice to the next stage in life, then I’m excited about what might follow – mess, mistakes and all. I know that I have to self motivate on the leaps of faith, something that comes easier when you’re 18 and don’t have the responsibilities of a family or a job, but I’m allowing little steps to count as progress. Maybe it’s taking some of the armour off and putting on a color you’ve never worn before. Maybe it’s taking a trip and changing your environment or taking a class and learning something new. I’m standing here now, but where do I go from here?