So I’ve said I’m not normal. But that’s not quite right. I’m perfectly “normal,” since there are many brands of normal floating around. I guess what I mean is I stepped out of my old way and am finding my way to a new one.
Some would call it a mid-life crisis. Others an awakening. Some people would refuse to admit people should go through any changes like I’m going through at all.
After reading, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, by Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson, I realize that I am slowly morphing from a Modern to a Cultural Creative.
Time for some brutal honesty since we can’t tell the whole story without it. Let me explain where I’ve come from and where I think I’m heading with the thought that it can maybe help you on your path. Sometimes I talk about “living your dreams” as if it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But it’s time to be honest: it’s not easy. It’s very, very hard. And painful. More painful than any other time in life.
I stepped out of who I used to be in 2010 when I lost my mom to cancer. I didn’t realize it at the time, but our family sabbatical in Belize was the beginning of my transition into a new way of life. What I thought was a “break” ended up being just the beginning of a new normal.
The book, written in 2000, explains what Moderns are: “people who accept the commercialized urban-industrial world as the obvious right way to live. They’re not looking for alternatives. They’re adapting to the contemporary world by assuming, rather than reasoning about, what’s important…”
Basically, a Modern grows from the kid who is told, “If you work hard, you’ll earn a lot. If you earn a lot, you’ll be able to live well. Living well means having a comfortable house (read: mortgage), two cars in the driveway, climbing the ladder of success, keeping up with the Jones’, staying on top of current trends, and fitting in/looking good.
I did all of this. As a girl growing up in the 80s, I learned that I should work hard and good things–rewards–would come to me. I did what I was supposed to do, in part because I somehow learned to work for the head pat. As a young adult, I earned two degrees, worked internships, got married, had babies, served as a good wife, mother, daughter, friend, Catholic, volunteer, and worked my butt off.
Basically, I followed the flow of life without much consideration. Just as when I was a kid, I lived my life for the head pat.
I did what I was supposed to do simply because “that’s the way it’s done.” I didn’t question why it was done that way or whether that way was truly right for me.
But in 2010, when the world fell off its axis, what I saw as “rewards” began to change. I didn’t care as much about the stuff cluttering my house. Although I was never much of a status person to begin with, I began to care less and less about things like addresses, square footage, type of car in the driveway, or how many new pieces of furniture I had. I questioned everything: what I owned, how I wanted to spend my days, who I wanted to spend them with, and even how I interacted with others.
So, because of this wake-up call, this jarring out of my “normal” life, I began to see what I was NOT. The problem is, I’m in between. I know what I’m not. I know what I don’t want. But I don’t quite know what I am. Or what I DO want.
Slowly, I’m working my way through this normal. I’ve “Exited Normal.” But I haven’t completely found my new normal yet.
I’m in the scary, dark woods, feeling my way in the dark. No one is there to help guide me. It’s just me and my own seemingly faulty sense of direction. No one can tell me what I believe, what I want, or the kind of life I need to live for myself. I entered the world alone and I’ll leave it alone. So it’s up to me at this transition phase to do the best I can for myself and choose a forward path that is as fulfilling as possible for me. It’s incredibly painful ripping off all the old facades and digging below the surface of what’s real. It’s scary. It sucks.
And let me tell you: it’s not easy to admit all of this to you. Half of you might be thinking, “Okay, she’s crazy.” The other half might be thinking, “She needs professional help.”
I only know that I’m in “The Between,” which I view as a normal transition period for anyone who needs a change in their life. Crazy or not, before I can make the changes I need to make to start living my personal idea of paradise, I must first wander for awhile in the forest, alone. This is a time of learning and growth that is extraordinarily painful. It requires patience, love for myself, and faith that I will find my way into a life that is not only good, but better than I ever experienced it before.
I’m looking for wisdom. I’m looking for clarity. And, along with everyone else I’ve ever met, I’m looking for my own personal brand of happiness.
But first, the Between. The wandering. The uncertainty.
Only after all of that will I step into the light and begin to live my true dream life.
Is anyone in a transition phase like me? Or am I just nuts? I’d love to hear from readers who can relate to this Between phase, whether that means you’re in one now or experienced it in the past.
Feel free to share your thoughts below…