“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” Desmond Tutu
This is my own personal story of how I got to now.
Here I am, I’m supposed to be on a jog but all I can do is cry. I had to get out of the house. Yet I was torn. Our youngest boy was only 4 months old and I was still breastfeeding. I needed to go back but all I wanted to do was keep running. Did I have to go back? The whole world of possibilities was ahead and pain back there.
Hubby and I had just had an argument – nothing big just a little fight about nothing. But this time was different. This time something changed. I was different, I felt the change and all of a sudden, I was trapped.
In my first ever blog post, I talked about how we had wanted a bigger farm and how the thought of running a farm and being stuck made me feel sick. This was already happening but I didn’t want to discuss it.
This petty little argument led to a sudden feeling of claustrophobia and I fell into a deep depression. It’s was waking up one day and saying ‘This isn’t my life. I expected adventure and romance not groundhog day’. It was the definition of insanity – doing the same thing everyday but expecting something different. I felt I was going insane.
Everything I had loved before seemed to cause resentment now. I resented my husband because he was so stuck in the ‘norm’. I resented my kids because they made me feel trapped. I resented my parents because they were so controlling. I even resented my dog, it was just something else to look after, something else that held me back.
I felt myself pulling further and further away and I couldn’t help it. I tried to feel the love and compassion but I couldn’t. It felt like I was someone else – not me. It was my face in the mirror but the thoughts, the feelings weren’t mine. I’m sure I was going crazy.
I talked to other Mums about this and found that this is a common thing. That Mums go through Mid-Life Crisis’ just like men. It’s just men seem to need to show the world where women suffer in silence. And yet they had no cure. They would say that it will pass and that you just need a hobby, like sewing. That every woman goes through this, just suck it up and deal with it. I couldn’t. Sewing was not for me and I was just meant to live like this, with this resentment to my family – that seemed so Wrong.
I don’t believe that life was meant to me mundane and repetitive, telling ourselves that when we’re rich enough or when we retire will do this or that. But it never happens. We let our lives take over and then spend our years in regret.
Here I was, 32 with 9 kids and ready to through it all in. Yes, I did think about life without them and even pictured how I would live. In reality, it’s not what I wanted. Yet I didn’t know how to do both – adventure and family. It was one or the other. Even after I found out about creating my reality, the reality I was focusing on was one where I was alone.
Hubby had noticed. By this stage the fight was months before, sorry were said on both sides but it couldn’t reverse the effect. It got to a point where he looked at me and said “I’m trying to hand on to you with all that I can, but you keep pulling away. What else can I do? Tell me and I’ll do it.” This tore me apart but I felt as though I was no longer in control.
One day, I had to get it out but I couldn’t speak it as I would be a blubbering mess. So I wrote. I wrote down what I felt, how I thought and what I needed to fix it.
That’s the stupid thing – I knew the cure. I knew that if I took the cure, I would be better. I knew I wouldn’t be the old me again but I would feel in control, normal, alive. The cure was Adventure.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that if I got out of my comfort zone I would be whole . I needed to experience new things, things that scared me, things that others wouldn’t do. This is where sailing came in.
The ocean terrified me. I saw Jaws when I was 8 the night before we went to the beach. I had loved the beach before that and after, I was just scared. It scared me so much that I thought Jaws was going to come through the bottom of the swimming pool and even out of the toilet bowl. He was everywhere! Just waiting for me.
Regardless of this, the ocean was calling – and loudly. I know I needed to go and I needed to be in it or on it or both.
Thankfully Hubby had started to like the idea of being on the water. He started looking at boats and taking sailing lessons. Now we have a boat and he has been living on it for nearly 3 months and he loves being on the water. He said his mind is clearer, his more relaxed. When he was home, he would look out the window and get uneasy because he couldn’t see the water – we are 2 hours away from the ocean. He sees the ocean now as his freedom, his escape from the world.
I don’t know when I felt normal again, I think it has been gradual, I haven’t really noticed it change. The best thing of all is that the love for my Hubby and my children has returned. I feel human again. I feel like a mother and a wife, not a prisoner of my own circumstance.
I believe that all Mid-Life Crisis is a stagnation of life. Like our bodies, as things stagnate they shrivel and rot. It’s our need for Adventure that keeps us alive, keeps us young. We need to step out of our comfort zone and do something scary, amazing and wonderful. To open ourselves up to the possibility of more – more joy, more fun, more life. This cage that we so easy put ourselves into is an existence not a life. We are born to live, to roam, to explore and to create.
As Jamail Yogis says in his book Saltwater Buddha, we ebb like the tides. We have high tides and low tides. We love the high tides but the low tides can bring out the best high tides, if you listen to them. Every low tide has a message and every low tide is followed by a high tide. We move in waves like the ocean, rising and falling. We just need to listen to what we are saying.
Have a fantastic day and know that you make what’s in front of you – Make It Brilliant!
C.Z. Schofield is a Best Selling Author, a World Traveling Sailor, a Spectacular Wife, an Awesome Mum to the 10 Happiest children on the planet, a Millionaire and a Polyglot.