Updated: Jun 22, 2020
It's on days like today, hearing the gentle hum of the lawnmower mixed in with the shrill chirping of the birds in the trees, the sun bouncing off my outstretched legs under my writing desk on this warm winters day that I am reminded that all is indeed well with the world. Or have I just been lulled into a kind of hypnotic state of delusion that is a Saturday afternoon when the constant busyness of life tends to slow down?
I remember my first meltdown; it was so spectacular arriving with all the bells and whistles of being mid thirty. I suppose I never really had a childhood with adult responsibilities foisted upon me and now this midlife crisis saying to me: "Here's your chance and you get to do it on your own terms." Isn't that why we have them, with no mum telling me - no you can't do this, no that's too expensive, no you are too tall to take ballet classes and NO we don't have money for piano classes. So, I made certain I packed it all in, in fact I packed it all up and marched myself off to school declaring that I am going to become an engineer. Mnnn remind me again, what exactly is it that an engineer does for a living? Who gives a hoot, I am at school and they are offering free surf lessons! Whoohoo - never in my dull, nerd infested life did I ever imagine I would become a whoohoo girl, much less actually learn to surf.
Then came the hip hop classes and my astounded discovery at having two left feet. Got that move down when some snarky little teenager tells me sure, but you are not supposed to look like a baby elephant doing it. Listen here you pimply faced, braces wearing, practising human, Michael Jackson is the only one who can pull off a move of this kind looking like he is made of liquid while doing it. Told her off with my world-weary sarcasm. Learnt to finally play the piano, took a yoga class or two - drop your shoulders dear and no you will not snap your neck while in a headstand, joined a book club, made some adult friends and finally - GRADUATED. Back to the big bad adult world of responsibility.
That only lasted 12 years when BAM, here you go dear your very own, personalised SECOND midlife crisis. This time around there was no yearning for an unlived childhood, but instead a craziness taking over the thoughts in my head. You have waited until 46 to get married; you are too old, and he will eventually leave you for someone younger. You have been retrenched twice in a short space of time, where will you find another job at your age? There is no money coming in, where will we get food, how will we pay rent, will we ALWAYS live ½ a cm above the poverty line? I do not deserve to be happy. Panic sets in, arguments ensue, what will I do next? How will we get through this?
More and more it began to look like life was handing me a timeout to go within and investigate the noise, the constant chatter in my head and come out the other end with a peace that is beyond explanation. How did I do it? I settled in and hunkered down, after all the universe would not challenge me in this way without also giving me the tools to do the job, would it? So instead of learning to play the piano, I learnt how to set my inner child free to play. Instead of taking a hip-hop class, I took a class in kinesiology; providing me with a mad set of skills to help others break free from being trapped within their entrenched habits and thinking. I have learnt that my thinking does not belong to me, thoughts are a design of the system and it is the brain’s job to create the thought. My choice lies in which thought I want to grab hold of and make a story out of.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called Tipping Point and in it he describes how the giants of industry spend 10000 hours honing their skills making them masters within their field. My thought, maybe (for some) 10000 hours at one thing is enough and then maybe, just maybe its time to try something else. After all, when my inner child came out to play, she was standing at the doors to the universe and she heard a whisper from behind: “Go play, my child!” anyway, my 10000 hours lie in recreating me