Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mid-Life Restructuring

How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrid, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June. . . . If it was only the other way! If it was I who were to be always young, and the picture that were to grow old! For this–for this–I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give!
Oscar Wilde

Welcome one and all to my mid-life crisis. You’ve been living it with me now since last November…bet you didn’t even know it did you?

I’m 37. Whew! Let me say that again…I’m 37. Slap. Slap. I’m 37? Why yes...yes I am.

Wake up before you die
Live before you sleep again
Rise and shine to yourself
Cease to being a guest in your own skin

©2008-Michelle Hix

“Old”, “horrid”, and “dreadful”. Those feelings and fear of aging have been disguised and gift wrapped all these years and tied with a pretty bow. It was such a nice package. But during the last couple of years, I have started to open the package and those feeling crept out. Wow, I was soooo not expecting this to happen at 37, 47 or even 97.. I would never be the type to have a mid-life crisis. Seriously! It has my friends baffled. They think I’m kidding. Since when did I ever second guess myself? My life? My worth? Never! Until I untied that pretty bow and peeked into the box.

Carl Jung identified 5 main phases of midlife:
• Accommodation (meeting others' expectations - actually, this takes place in the first part of life, but is the context in which midlife processes take place)
• Separation (rejecting the accommodated self)
Liminality (a period of uncertainty, where life seems directionless and meanders)
• Reintegration (working out 'who I am' and becoming comfortable with that identity)
• Individuation (facing up to and accepting the undesirable aspects of our own character)

I feel like I am somewhere in between Reintegration and Individuation. But for me, Individuation seems to have come first. Some years ago, I started becoming acutely aware of the things about myself that I did not like. I started to think about the types of people and situations that bring out the personality traits in me that I would describe as ugly, monstrous and unworthy. I quickly realized that I was not going to get rid of these personality traits. Sorry, no can do. They are in me. They are a part of me. But in getting to know myself better, I was able to recognize and label my feelings and behaviors as such and embrace them for what they are…a part of me. Knowing these things about myself has helped me nurture the sides of myself that I do want to share with others more; creativity, humor, kindness, honesty. Hopefully, the ugly parts don’t rear their heads too often any more.

So what about old”, “horrid”, and “dreadful”? Why is it that in the western world we are so fixated on youthfulness? I would really like to embrace this next epoch with vigor. I don’t want to see aging as a horrid event that must be put off or ignored. I don’t want to dread it. I suppose that is where the Reintegration comes in. Finding out truly who I am. Not what I do for a living or who my friends are but finding out who I really am at the very core of my existence and letting that person drive the next age.

I have a feeling I will be growing through this for years to come. Chances are, I’m not going to find me a young hottie on the side, buy a new sports car, or quit my job, but I am going to go through moments of questioning the validity of choices I’ve made and feelings of discontent with who I am. I think I’m okay with this.

This would all be a lot easier if I could just look extremely hot during the process!

I wanted to take a moment to thank my blog friends for seeing me through some tough times:

Poetikat – Thank you for being one step ahead of me and for schooling me on menopause and the lifecycle of diapers for young and old.

Elise – Thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to give your past a second chance.

Cocaine Princess – Thanks for showing me that although I might have been worthy of a tiny bathing suit at one time in my life, I no longer look like you in a bikini and the sooner I embrace the one-piece the better.

Shemley – Thanks for being you…a young and brilliant man who inhales life in it’s wholeness and realness RIGHT NOW.

Graham – Learning the story of your own mid-life adventures and awakening is inspiring.

Jeff – You are like a visitor from my past. With every post you remind me of what being youthful is all about.

Chris – Knowing you reminds me that there was a time in my life when my greatest problem involved “finding a new place to party.” Thanks for reminding me to not take life too seriously.

Organized Doodles (Rick) – Visiting you gives me the inspiration to keep doing the things I love, just because I love them.

Jen – What can I say…you are my posse of one in crime. We have a lot in common…sorry, not sure that’s a good thing for you.

Damama – You are that person, you know the one who makes lemonade out of lemons? That’s you. You’ve taken life by the horns, thrown out the bs, and rode off into the sunset! I have no idea what any of that means. But you do it well.

Mental Poo – Well, I’m sure I don’t know why I visit your blog other than to laugh until my guts hurt. It’s my therapy. Oh, and of course to offer a silent prayer for your lovely wife Mrs. Saint Mental Poo.

Sweets – You give such an insight to what it’s like for us mothers to be able to love our children more than ourselves.

Angel – Being able to identify with your relationship struggles with your son has helped me to know that writing about it is surviving it.

Hayley – My sweet darling Hayley. Just starting out. You are such a good wife. I love that about you.

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.

There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, "Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams." Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they're still there.
Erma Bombeck

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
John Lennon


Anonymous said...

You know, I'm only 2 1/2 years behind you and I feel much the same way. I also feel like I'm much too young to be falling apart one body part at a time as I am. ;) I do, however, think I'm still muddling through the first three phases. All at once. Bleh. Wine. We need wine.
And thanks for mentioning me. {blush} I'm not worthy.

Anonymous said...

thats friggin ancient!
Girl I hope against all things good I live to be as old as you!

I hate to hear that about not getting the young hotty, I was going to apply, there only seems to be 2 of the criteria I can't fulfill!!!

Always remember that getting older beats the alternitive!

Michelle Hix said...

Yes, I am finding that wine helps everything in life. Oh, and mexican food too.

Michelle Hix said...

Southern Sage...

A self described young hotty huh? For some reason I have a mental picture of you as Ted Nugent. I wonder why?

Anonymous said...

re-read my comment!
I CAN'T fulfill 2 of the young hotty crieria!
I did meet that cat once, odddddddd!!
I thought your post was tongue and cheek so I made a funny, I hope that I was right cause I wouldn't make light if you were in crises!

Michelle Hix said...

Southern Sage...haha
Okay, took me a minute (or 5) but I get it now. I now get the two criteria...young? hot? ha ha Wow, I never said I was quick did I? Hey, everyone is "somebody;s" hottie.

Michelle Hix said...

Oh, and by the way...I wouldn't say that I'm in crisis...but the rest is true...I am totally going through a mid-life something.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Hix,
I did not show a lady of your advanced age the reverance you deserve in my last post. My momma woulda hit me in the eye had she read that where I used a ladys first name when she is so much older thaan me. So for that I apologize.

I tickle myself sometimes!!!!!

Well for real you shouldn't be in crises, you look great and as far as I know you are healthy. Your politics are somewhat disturbing but it appears everyhing else is good.
and you're alot of fun too!!!!
You have to check me out and hit the link I posted, its unbelievable!!!!
have a good night, drink some prune juice, and eat some bran, the elderly need such movemental assistance!

Michelle Hix said...

I can assure you that I am in no need of any physical assistance! There will be no prune juice touching these lips. I think you are secretly voting for Obama. I've converted you. It's okay. You can admit it. You love my politics.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Hix,
I have the tatoo!
you will have to come back to sageville for Half Nekkid Thursday to see it tho!
I do actually like Obama, that cat has serious game. Really I'm being serious, I know you daid that as a funny and I surely don't agree with his politics but he has some friggin game!
And me being me damn sure respects that.
He won't get my vote, nor would Hillary but I might you do the next best thing and sit it out!
I do really wish you'd take me up on my offer tho! I want to know why I should vote for him, I will do a shout out next week for folks to pimp their fave and maybe you'll opine.
I could make and off color joke about politics and you not needing assistance but I won't but I will snigger to myself!
I promise this is my last comment tonight!

Michelle Hix said...

I just want to know how you keep up with the other 79 blogs that you visit. I can hardly keep up with the 12 on my list.

Anonymous said...

You should put me on ur list then!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was conflicted
I said I wouldn't comment again tonight
I never lie either
see you bring out the worst in me!
I try to hit everyone everyday, I'm really a bored person so I check them all while playing 2-3 hands of poker. Most don't post everyday
so I'm off the hook
and often folks don't reply to comments like the smart folks do
u wanna be a interview?????
there are 5-9 folks that comment on Sage that are on ur side politicly.
I do political posts, its not just all boobies there!
I come to your stste everyyear hunting too, see maybe you can get hubs to take me hunting!
for the record its 12:43 at my house, so its tomorrow there!

Sweets said...

i tried so hard to follow your conversation with sage... but alas... i skipped the last bit, cross referencing back and forth...phew... hehe...

i hear you sista!!! ... there is nothing more i dread than the thought that one day (when i'm sitting on the old age home porch) thinking back on my life and then to think... sweets... you could have done so much more!! so that is what i'll leave with you


don't waste your time on a crisis hun, start living darlin', have no regrets, ever!! ...maybe a little bit harsh (not intended)

and faaaaaaaaanks that you mentioned me, you humble me ;)

Cocaine Princess said...

Sweet, sweet Michelle,
Age is truly but a number. It's all about confidence and attitude. So the next time you go to the beach wear a sexy bikini and feel and act as if you are the most beautiful woman in the world!!!!

Cocaine Princess

Gerry Forde said...

Hey Girl! Mid-life is the greatest! I used to be a hard man, teeth and but clenched going for the big results but mid-life combined with Carl Jung and living with five women has opened up my feminine side. I used to have two feelings - anger and frustration, now I can cry at Scrubs! I can't wait to hit 50 - it must be awesome!

Graham Ettridge said...

Isn't it funny how we all get these strange thoughts sometimes. I still get them about 50 times a! Some days I think the world is falling down around me, and get sad that I am still single - and other days I think "well, things could be worse"

A little piece of advice from a guy that cares. When you are 100 yrs old, you will be looking back on being 37 and remembering how young and beautiful you were then. Well, I ask you to not wait until you are 100 yrs old to have that thought, have it now, because you truly are young and beautiful.

And thank you so much for mentioning me, your words are always truly appreciated and valued, as are you!

Warm wishes ~ Graham x

Michelle Hix said...

Somehow I knew you'd understand.

Kat Mortensen said...

Cry me a river, kiddie. I'm 47 in a couple of months. Aaaaaaaaaa!!!!
If I can survive, you can too. (Besides, you've got me, and I didn't even have you!) Did I mention I'm a poet?

Kat Mortensen said...

A couple of things I forgot to mention in the heat of the moment (hot flash!)
1) You are SO the hottie! (don't go crazy though - the one-piece is still probably a good idea (call it a maillot and it sound so classy))
2) Follow your heart and have faith (prayer is good!)
3) It gets better (I'm still waiting - no I'm kidding, really! (I so need emoticon lessons))
4) I love you! (really, really I do!)
5) We're all in this together, right girls? Girls? Jen?


Damama T said...

Michelle, I am so honored that you count me among those who help and/or inspire you!

And, honey, repeat after me: IT'S ONLY A NUMBER. IT'S ONLY A NUMBER. IT'S ONLY A NUMBER.

I remember being where you are thinking what you are thinking. An older mentor of mine made me say that. You are smart to be thinking about staying healthy and active, but as far as the mind stuff goes; you know, the starting to THINK old, remember - it's only a number and as long as you don't care what other people think, you can be as young in your head and heart as you choose to be. I personally take having some old geezer telling me to grow up as a compliment! LOL!!

luv ya!

Michelle Hix said...



1) can I get one of those from the Lands End catalog?
2) i can use all the prayer i can get!
3) "It" gets better? It? Or "It"
4) I know you do and I appreciate it sooo much! I love you too.
5) I've mentioned to another blog of these days we are going to all have to meet in New York City! Somewhat central to us all wouldn't you say?

Michelle Hix said...


I know it is only a number. And for the longest time I was convinced that this mid-life thing was some joke...but I swear I just woke up one day and it fell on me like a ton of bricks. Thanks to all who understand it!