Now that I’m 40+ and have more experience being a mother, wife and professional, I am starting to understand the importance of my own wants, needs and growth. I have plenty of friends that are going through similar transitions and most of us are struggling with how to get what we want from our loved ones, our professions and ourselves. If I think back, I was not thinking about how I might feel when I’m 40 and my kids need me less, when I’m 40 and my career was in mid swing, when I’m 40 and wanting to experience life differently than I had for the last 20 years. This new found growth has caused a good amount of pain for those around me. My husband thinks I’m being selfish, my kids often say that mommy is more focused on herself, and my family often thinks I’m sabotaging my once stable and predictable life that they all admired and tried to emulate. So how do I transition into a new new space that may look differently than it did before? Do I allow the guilt of others prevent me from really feeling happiness?
Many of my friends are dealing with these transitions differently. Some friends chose to suffer in silence, and go through the motions with spouses, friends and family. Not really enjoying any parts of these interactions anymore. And when we get together, we all commiserate on the guilt that we feel for not enjoying the things we once wanted so much. The handsome husband with a god job, the 2 kids that are exceptionally smart and talented, the beautiful home that we cared for many years. Some of these friends have resigned from thinking life can be any different. They believe that this is what it is and people live this way for many many years. Some friends chose to have extramarital affairs, to feel alive and to get those feelings they once had with their own spouse, but that has slowly gone away.
What if we had honest conversations about these transitions in life without judging ourselves? What if our world made it easier for us to make different choices about our happiness that did not include divorce, time sharing our kids or having to down grade our lifestyle? What if transitions were expected and talked about and prepared for, so that when they present themselves we are not so scared and resentful that we make hurtful choices that impact everyone around us? How do we prepare for these life transitions? Who do we talk to about these feelings? How do we take steps to live our best lives in a way that is free of guilt and obligations?
These are all conversations that I am having with myself and many of the people that come into my office for support. Many of the individuals, couples or families that I see, are in fact struggling with transitions in life. We talk openly about how these transitions are impacting us individually and collectively.
Tell me who do you talk to about your transitions?