Marcia Reynolds, in her article What A Female Mid-Life Crisis Looks Like, suggests that a woman who is questioning the next step in her career and possibly, her life, should talk to friends who might be going through something similar. She poses four questions for exploration, the first of which is featured in this post. For the first part of this series, read here: Heroine’s Journey Through A Mid-Life Crisis
What do I feel I should have done by this time in my life?
Please share your response in the comments box, or feel free to e-mail me privately. My answer to this question is below.
A few years ago a co-worker and friend died unexpectedly of a massive stroke. One morning she was getting ready for work. By the morning of the next, doctors recommended that life support be pulled.
The thing about someone dying, no matter at what stage in life, is that you will always miss the person—her friendship, her council, her presence in the world. Those left behind are tasked with healing from the pain of the loss.
If lucky, meaning in death can be found.
I remember standing in the hallway, thinking about Carmel and her life. I was rooted to the spot as students swirled around me, stunned to realize that if I died that day or the next, I would die with regrets. Regrets for the things I had not done. Regrets for the things I was not doing because work left no time. Regrets for not being my potential.
So, I made a list and made some changes in my life. I volunteered a summer at the Oakland Zoo as an apprentice zookeeper—I’d always wanted to work with exotic and wild animals. I entered the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) to write that novel I’d been thinking of for twenty-five years. I enrolled in graduate school. I took a cross-country road trip with my daughter, sharing a family tradition passed down from my root-less grandparents. I went to Las Vegas for my 40th birthday. I took a year off of teaching to explore other careers.
No regrets. . . .
Actually, there is a regret.
Yes, I have one great regret that I feel helpless to change. I have never, in my reflection of my life, been deeply in love in a committed partnership. People, trying to be kind, tell me that I will find someone when I’m ready. Well, I feel that I’m ready. I do all the right things to increase my chances of love and relationship. Yet, the friendship never grows into something more. I meet the right man at the wrong time. Or, I meet the wrong person at any time.
Here’s to the day that I can strike this regret off my list. Accomplished.