Then a new reinvention came after we closed our restaurant and I became a somewhat (OK, maybe radically) possessed researcher of holistic healing which helped me to overcome my infertility and finally have the baby I’d longed six years for. That success brought about another reinvention when I had to learn how to parent teenagers and a high needs infant at the same time. All my thinking had to shift when I had to parent that infant in very different ways than I’d parented my girls.
Reinvention isn’t anything new in my life, though its process never occurred to me until recently with the ultimate reinvention: Midlife Crisis.
Many of those previous reinventions occurred as reactions to the actions of others or to situations. They didn’t happen from a place of self-discovery, and they weren’t in the least motivated by any sense of seeking, or of finding myself.
Looking inward began when we moved across the entire country from both of our daughters, and from any of the female support system I’d enjoyed and relied upon for much of my adult life. Moving from Michigan to California wasn’t anything I ever imagined I’d do, and it wasn’t anything I wanted to do. I pouted and I wallowed that first year away. I was so desperately alone, and because transition of any kind isn’t easy for me, my brain got confused and I forgot how to function. My son got sick, and I couldn’t remember what to do to make him well. I couldn’t grasp the brands of my favorite supplements, foods, any semblance of an action plan wherein I could see myself ever feeling normal again.
I had no confidence, I knew no one, and no one seemed to care to get to know me. I couldn’t fathom what I might tell anyone about myself anyway, because I lacked any identity there, or frankly anywhere.
My marriage was at its most difficult point ever, I disliked myself and my husband, and I was barely worthwhile as a mother to my son, let alone as a human being in the world. When I couldn’t stand myself any longer, I began to think about reinvention from within.
No one knew me in California. This was my chance to become anything I wanted to become. There were no labels, there was no family history to define me, and there certainly were no expectations, never mind the fact that absolutely no one cared or gave me a thought anyway—they were too mired in their own version of survival, too stuck in their own traffic.
Here’s a secret of the Universe: BECAUSE WE HAVE FREE WILL, at any moment, anywhere we can conceive it, we have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves. We are the only ones that stop us from fulfilling our purpose, from becoming who we want to become. --Kim Jorgensen Gane
So, what could I do if I wasn’t so afraid all the time?
I wanted to go back to Michigan, but I didn’t want to do it without him. I didn’t have a choice. I had to make a life for myself in California. I didn’t have many friends, so I needed to be my friend, and I hoped that would allow me to once again be my husband’s.
For me, the answer was and remains writing.
When your soul is that of a writer who isn’t writing, the stories are swimming in your head, whether you write them down or not. You feel like a crazy person. You talk to yourself, you talk to your dogs; you can’t get your bearing. Even if the lake or the ocean is always west, you get off on the wrong exit on the freeway because your mind is cluttered with all the stories--you forget to pick up your kid, or you forget to clean dog puke off the carpet.
I seem to have lost my funny from when I first began blogging, in part because a dual midlife crisis while raising a young boy is hard, but also because I’m not as afflicted with self-diagnosed ADD anymore, so I simply don’t screw up as much. I’m focused and I’m driven. I have a purpose and I have goals. The stories don’t fester in my head as much, because they’re alive and breathing on my computer screen. I wish my sense of humor wasn’t the thing I had to give up…but perhaps when life gets a bit easier, I’ll find it again. And even though life still isn't easy, I feel more fulfilled and more content within myself than ever before.
For once, instead of reacting to the actions and choices of those around me, I sought myself in California. I looked inward, I asked myself what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. And yes, where I hoped to do it. My heart was healing, maybe it was even being born, but I knew if I didn’t leave San Diego when we did, I wouldn’t want to. We came home after two years, because so far away from our girls and our foundation, all of our hearts were broken.
The lesson is that I can be my own best friend here in Michigan or anywhere. And I can choose to do it next to my beloved lake, where I belong.