What pre-midlife crisis feels like
– How old are you, guys?
– What do you think?
– Well, you both look about 26 years old, I’d guess?
– He’s 34 and I’m 36.
– No way! You look so much younger!
– But actually I really like my age. I like being in my 30s.
– I’m in my 30s now as well but it’s been only 2 weeks that I’ve been feeling myself great here. Is it only me or did you feel this transition from 20s to 30s too?
– Oh, I totally know what you mean! I felt like shit, and at some point my friend asked me “Do you realise you are having a pre-midlife crisis?” It turns out, it’s actually an existing thing.
That is how, in a night club, chatting to a lovely homosexual couple, I found out I was just over my pre-midlife crisis. Not that this knowledge had an actual value for me by then. I was already starting to spread my crippled wings of authenticity that I reclaimed back, mostly all by myself, after months (or years?) of feeling myself lost.
Yet that conversation did have a value. That is when I realised I was not alone in this. That there must be so many of us imagining ourselves as the only loser in the crowd of successful peers, thinking that no one else would understand our fears and longings. Because come on, they all have a normal life out there, right?! Not really.
I have recently started talking to many of my friends from different cultures and backgrounds about them having turned or turning 30. To my surprise, I found out that to some extent they all process transition from their 20s to their 30s with quite some mental difficulties. This is why I have decided to share my experience of what I now call my pre-midlife crisis with you in a series of blog posts and on my Instagram. I must say, this whole thing is a big decision for me considering that I am pretty private when it comes to my personal issues. I do believe though that by showing you my imperfect self I will learn accepting my own vulnerability too. Also, I’d like to think that those of you, who find themselves in a similar situation, might feel less lonely and more accepted after reading this.
I felt like I was the biggest failure ever. Most of what I thought I’d have achieved by the age I turned was not there. What was it if not my defeat at life? The funny thing is, my mind tricked me in many ways, too. I discarded all my victories. I didn’t appreciate the fact that I was a caring mother of two beautiful children and had a wonderful marriage I worked so hard on. I didn’t take into account my academic success. I didn’t consider the fact that I had actually totally changed my environment – the country I lived in – and managed to integrate at this new place. I also put aside all my personal development.
Because in my confused at the time mind I should have been smarter, fitter, more active and in general more successful in life. Even worse, I actually believed that I didn’t deserve what I had, my relationship, my following on Instagram, my PhD degree. So instead of being grateful for what I had earned and celebrating it, I started crucifying myself.
The best way to do so was to compare, and that comparison was never in my favour. Even at my better times I used to be harsh on myself, always willing to be my most perfect version of me. But now, it was unbearable. On worst days, Instagram was my biggest enemy, it was full of those amazing wonder women having 5 children, looking like a teenage goddess and running 3 businesses. I should know better being a blogger, you’d say. Yes, I should have. And yet the knowledge of everything that happened behind the Insta-curtains, all those manipulations with images, bodies and minds, didn’t help me protect myself from this comparison.
All of us know how detrimental lack of self-love can be. My case was no exception. As a way of punishing myself for being such a failure, my subconscious sabotaged my work. Instead of doing with passion and improving myself in what I loved so much, I kept telling myself I would never get better at it so it was not worth trying.
On a personal level, I found myself in the middle of pointless arguments with Midas or my mom. It was my dissatisfaction with myself that made me so irritable but, as it often happens, I took it out on my closest people.
I spent some evenings thinking I was not worthy of being a mother to such wonderful children, that they deserve better, that I won’t be able to become a role model for our girls.
Besides, my relationship with myself was growing unhealthy. I have always had issues with my body image so it was no wonder that two pregnancies and some extra kilograms heavily affected my self-esteem. I gradually started avoiding looking at myself in the mirror. The reflection I saw was getting further and further from what I desired to appear.
Looking back, I can say that it all probably started with overanalysing my transition from 20s to 30s and the fact that it coincided with the changes motherhood brought into my life didn’t help at all. Due to many reasons I kept refusing to face my issues. I wasn’t able to admit to myself that I was in a crisis. This kept dragging on and growing for the past one and a half years, and I needed to reach the bottom of my mental well to be able to look up and start moving towards the healthy me again.
Please let me know if you’d like to read about why and how I got myself out of that self-destruction mode. This whole concept is my attempt to open up to you so I highly appreciate your feedback on this topic. I am willing to write up my story if it resonates with someone. I will be happy to receive your questions (in a respectful manner, please) or personal stories you would like me to share with my readers. If appropriate, I’ll raise your topic in one of my following posts and answer them as honestly as I can.