FORK in the road

Women are largely intuitive creatures. There is a voice in the back of our heads that whispers guidance, whether we heed it or not. The cacophony of daily life often drowns it out; sometimes, it’s just easier to ignore it. Not all of us tune in to that voice, but if you give yourself enough time and space, it will make itself heard.

Whispered or shouted, every instinct I have tells me that I have arrived at a turning point. I am here after 44 years of living the life that someone else wanted for me and eight years of struggling to understand how, and why. Now, I stand at a crossroads; do I have the courage to choose the path that seems riskier? Can I create the life I want? And how do I know what that looks like?

How I got here is a tale that defies easy explanation. Let’s just say that there are only so many aspects of our lives that we can control; the other ones have a habit of conspiring, unnoticed along the fringes, in such a way as to push us along to a place where their point – and they do have one – cannot be missed.

The trajectory of this particular phenomenon has roots in what must be the earliest parts of my childhood, if not in the womb – memory, as usual, fails me. For the last four years, this existential snowball has found a downhill slope on which to gather increasing speed. This week, it seems to have found level ground, come to a complete stop and deposited me – here. Just one step altered, and I might have arrived here earlier, or later – or not at all.

Something happens to women in midlife. We care less about what others think of us and our choices. We have less patience; time, after all, flies by ever more alarmingly. Children leave the nest, parents pass on, friends fall away. What will our legacy be? Do we have the will to claim the lives we’ve pushed aside for far too long, whatever our reasons?

Looking out into a landscape devoid of scenery, like a painter’s untouched canvas, I am terrified, confident and exhilarated: at long last, I feel in control of my destiny. And I can address the ultimate question: What will it have meant to be me? I only hope I have the strength to create the answer I want.


About Mindy

I am divorced, no kids, working full-time in corporate communications. There are never enough hours in my day, mostly because I insist on hygiene, food, exercise and clean dishes. Really, how do women with kids do it?!?
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7 Responses to FORK in the road

  1. mmm61 says:

    Let the answers unfold in their own time. They may surprise you. All the relationships you have nurtured and experiences you have had along the way may conspire to drop new opportunities at your doorstep – things you haven’t dreamed of. So don’t worry too much about creating the life you want – but being open to it and saying yes to it.

  2. Mindy says:

    mmm61 – I’ve taken that approach my whole life, and it’s left me in a life that doesn’t fulfill me and a job that eats away at my soul. Sitting back and waiting only takes you so far. At some point, you have to look around, assess your life, and if you don’t like what you see, take steps to change it. That takes courage that I was not bred to have. I don’t want to reach the end of my life regretting missed chances that might have made my soul sing and helped me to be a better, more complete person.

  3. mmm61 says:

    You have to do what works for you. I just recently experienced a number of threads in my life coming together in ways I never imagined. Yes, I had already let go of a number of things, and people, and expectations, and I had started to put myself “out there” – but I don’t feel like I made it happen. I am enjoying the ride though.

  4. Mindy says:

    That’s so great. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve had a lot of great people and opportunities wander into my life all by themselves, and they’ve brought me to where I am. But I’ve never had a sense of self strong enough to even define — much less reach out for — what I want in an overarching, bucket list kind of way. I feel that if I had been able to identify and set goals, I might have found things that truly fulfilled me, and gotten more than “good enough.” It would take an entire book to follow all the threads that made me realize that I need to go about it a different way, if that makes sense.

  5. mmm61 says:

    It does make sense. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had actually known what I wanted and set goals for myself. What is it about mid-life? I guess there’s enough to look back on and still time to do it all differently.

  6. Mindy says:

    I hope so! There are an unfathomable number of variables that make us who we are and create the lives we live. I tend to believe that certain things are meant to be. If that’s the case, then it follows that no matter what paths we take, we’ll arrive at the same destination. But the path we choose may well determine the quality of the journey and what kind of person we are when we get there.

  7. Michele says:

    What a great converation stream. How did I miss this? I’m not getting these comment alerts to my smail. Sttill having problems since I changed it.

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