A Writer Looks at her 40’s

tree of lifeI guess, if I’m middle aged now, it makes sense that life is gaining momentum and the days, weeks, months and years are whizzing by with alarming speed. But, I must admit…I resent it.

I’m finally at the age where I know what I want. I don’t just THINK I know and I’m no longer juggling a million options to fling myself into auto-overwhelm. Nope, now I know. Narrowing options is actually pretty liberating. Weird, huh?

The surprising thing is that it’s pretty simple.

I’ve never been horribly domestic. Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments and some of them are even extended… but it’s never really been in my nature. Now it seems like cooking a good meal and having a clean, comfortable living environment is as important as any personal project on my list. WTH? My housework has always been the FIRST thing to go when life stresses me out. The house falls to shambles while I dig out the “important” stuff like client projects and calls from family and friends asking for help. Now, it’s the one thing I try to maintain when life hands me a mini-maelstrom.

Maybe, it’s because I don’t really have much left to prove. I’m comfortable with my own company (and boy, THAT took a lot of years!) I like the life I have inside the four walls at home.  I’d love to roll out of bed without an alarm each morning (or even ONE morning) and think to myself “What would I like to do with my life today?” instead of the typical, “Oh HELL, I’m going to have to push to get it all done today!” I’m tired of being behind before the blur has lifted and my eyes are able to focus.

I want to have lazy days – not once in a blue moon, mind you, I want that to be the rule rather than the exception. I want to throw myself into a single project and follow it through to the end without having to juggle dozens of others in spurts while trying to finish any single one to my satisfaction. I’m just too old for this crap.

It seems that, at this point, the struggle should have subsided a bit. Instead, I find that I’m pulled in even more directions and I’m tired.

I’m not spending enough time with my family, I’m not accomplishing enough for my clients to suit me, I’m taking on additional work not related to my long term goals (dang economy) and all I really want to do is gear down — even as I find the need to ramp it all up.

I had managed to get to a point in the not-so-distant past, when I could get up and decide what I wanted to do today. It was glorious. It was also short-lived. I made decisions that changed my life. They were good decisions that made my life richer and more fulfilling, but today is much more hectic.

I’m selfish… I want both.

At the moment, I’m too tired to even do the “full scale evaluation” that always makes my children, family and friends duck and hide. (It’s the process during which I tear apart everything in my life, usually starting with the house and including everything that has EVER been on my “to do” list and strive to create some new system that’s going to fix it all and get me organized on some bloody cosmic level.)

It scares people. And, it is about as attainable as that “perfect purse” I have been seeking for decades. I just don’t see the point in any dramatic, sweeping overhauls anymore. So, I plug away while the term “quiet desperation” comes to mind, which I find morbidly depressing.

I find myself counting down to when I’ll have all the kids out of the house. THAT has become a goal. Sad, isn’t it? Parenting exhausts me. Working exhausts me. Very few things DON’T exhaust me. And I find myself wondering if punching someone else’s clock would be easier, less stressful and more palatable at this point in my life.

Then, I listen to people who DO work in traditional careers. I hear them complain and recount the “workplace” dramas, the stress and the lack of control over their schedules and their lives… and I realize that although my boss can be a bear, I’ll take life I’ve built, thank you very much.

After ten years, I know that the truth of “working for yourself” is actually working for multiple bosses (clients), but since I get to pick them, I’m pleased with the results. But, I do sometimes wish I could punch a clock and then let it all go when I got home. I wish that making dinner , blogging, helping with homework or taking a shower wasn’t something that I had to do when I “should” be working. I’d managed to overcome that before the economy tanked and, like all other freelancers and independents out there, I’m finding it more difficult right now.

So, once I manage to catch up… if that ever happens again… maybe I’ll find a way to reach my goals. Perhaps, I’ll be able to gear back a bit, raise a garden, decorate my home, write my novel and enjoy life a bit more. Until then, I’ll probably continue to feel old and overwhelmed and resentful that something I have no control over (the economy) has reached in and has shaken things up at the point I’d just started enjoy calm waters.

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