I have always heard in joking voices about the “mid life crisis”. It usually involves a guy who either divorces his wife and then gets a 20 year old replacement – or the guy that goes out an buy the red truck or mustang.
Well not being a guy and my mid-life crisis did not go that way. I can say with some certainty that when you are facing a mid-life crisis you are looking at your life and you become overwhelmed with doubts, fear, confusion and uncertainty at some point. You take stock of your life and see all the great things in it (children – job – social activities) but yet you know you are seeing down the road, it might be a little while off, but you wonder: What is next? Where do I go now? I had the single life, I got married, had kids and I am successful (or maybe just content) in my job. What do I do now? The kids are ready to go out on their own. I am reaching the end of my career. Do I recreate myself; if so into what? Do I throw caution to the wind and see where it takes me? That hit me in 2009.
With so many questions and not enough time or space to processes, I took the opportunity of being on a conference in Vancouver to “run away for a month”. I needed space and time to think, put things into perspective without the distractions of work, family and my social commitments.
I started to plan out my month. I grew up in Vancouver but had never been to Victoria and I remembered taking a ferry as a child with my mother to Nanaimo to visit someone once. I decided that that would be a good place to start my journey. As well, I have never returned to the interior of British Columbia were most of my early childhood was spend. I wanted to go and see these town that I only knew as names, and where there were vague memories that still lingered of them.
Sitting with maps on my computer, I noticed that Las Vegas was not that far from Vancouver, so I started to checked out the cost of flights. What I noticed was that most of the flights went through Los Angeles on the way to Vegas. It was a short leap in me deciding to make this a one shot, all out trip. I would travel from Vancouver to Vancouver Island visiting three major cities there; Victoria. Nanamio and Tofino and then back to Vancouver and fly down to Las Vegas bus to San Francisco then bus again to Los Angeles and flying back to Vancouver. At this point I wanted to finish my last leg of my trip by seeing the small towns where I born and lived in my early childhood.
While talking to my sister about my plans, she decided to join me for my trip over to Vancouver Island. My sister lives outside of Edmonton, so she said she would join me in Vancouver after my conference and then we would head to Vancouver Island. My sister was not a big part of my life growing up and I was unsure of how it would be taking this brief trip together. I was looking forward to this time as a way for me to be alone and reflect. As it turned out, I had such a good time and feel that this trip has allowed me to get to know my sister so much better. I found out we have a lot in common and I enjoyed her company.
As I approached the end of my trip, the direction I wanted to take my life in was becoming a little clearer to me. I knew what I wanted in my life and what I did not want in my life. My husband called to say his surgery was scheduled for three day after my return home. I called my boss and requested to have an additional three months off of work. I also used that time to step down in my role as the President of my Local.
When I got home, I started with other changes in my life. I decided I wanted to be more involved in my Faith as a Baha’i so I applied for Pilgrimage, and to Pioneer. The Pioneer committee accepted my request to Pioneer in Uganda for four month.
One day I was in Chapters trying to waste sometime before a movie I was going to see. The first book I saw when I walked in was “writing your life story”. I looked it over and put it down. But throughout the night and the next day it kept eating at me, so, I decided to go back and see if the book was still there. It was, so, I bought it and brought it home. It just felt right and I decided to try my hand at writing again. This was something I always enjoyed as a child.
I also wanted to find a job I could do after I retire where I could work with people and travel at the same time. Walking around the Byward market going through the farmers market, I came across a sandwich board about ESL. Sounded interesting and I decided to go to their introductory class. It was perfect! It was exactly what I was looking for and I felt I could do this, so I signed up and took the course.
It is so empowering when you feel that the changes you make in your life are the right ones, things seem to fall into place where the next stepping stones are there waiting for you to move forward. There is no struggle, and the move is effortless and easy.
I look back at some of the things I thought I wanted to do, but they did not materialize. Other things have filled those spaces. I could not have envisioned where my life is today or the direction it was heading back then. Sometimes, we just have to let things happen, we have to take a chance that we do not know what is best for us. When an opportunity presents itself, just go with it, enjoy the ride and see where it takes you. You might surprise even yourself at what you are capable of, if you just give yourself a chance to step outside of your old views and ideas.