Project Alicia : Clichéd Midlife Crisis?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Clichéd Midlife Crisis?

I’ve been in hibernation, at least trying.

The problem is I’m not a bear and this is not an acceptable form of existence among humans, so I’m learning.

They want to know what you’ve been up to and why you haven’t been around. Not to mention that life still goes on. Regardless of whether you want to or not, you can’t climb under the covers and sleep for months- like bears or chipmunks. Lunches, field trips, soccer, ice skating, clean socks… none of these just happen on their own. The life of a wife and mother is laden with tasks and obstacles that make hibernation impossible, as hard as you may try.

Hence, the reason I have taken refuge in the cyber world. I can have space and be cerebral and withdrawn and still have amazing connections outside of these 4 walls. It is a match made in heaven, at least for now.

Thanks for bearing with me. I haven’t felt much like myself and have used lots of fillers to mask my inner turmoil. It’s so much easier sometimes to pretend that all is well.

Truth is, it’s not. But for the life of me I can’t figure out what exactly is wrong. I’m just not my old self and not sure when I’m coming back. Or if the old me ever will.

At one point in my life I remember exuding such excitement I could barely contain it. When you’re young and are just starting down that road of life you are filled with such hope and anticipation… college, marriage, first home, the birth of your children, parenthood, job promotions, etc. Sure, there are setbacks, but there is also much to look forward to as you forge your way through your 20s.

Fast forward to late 30s.

I still feel 20, but when I look in the mirror my face doesn’t seem to match how I feel. Who is that person looking back at me? And where have the years gone? What have I done to show for my life?

I’m not sure exactly when it happened- perhaps it was just such a gradual process I didn’t really notice- but one day I realized that things that once brought joy and happiness had lost their allure. I seem to have misplaced my zeal for life.

And now I’m on pause in this strange place trying to figure out who I am and how I got here. Nothing seems to make since. I feel so out of control of my life as I attempt to come to terms with the harsh realities of adulthood. I was under the false assumption that if I followed the rules and did everything I was told that I would have a happily ever after.

Turns out it’s not enough to just be a good person. This has in turn made me question every decision I have made to this point in my life including my religion, as I realize that so many choices I’ve made have been out of obligations and fear. It’s a strange place to be when you become aware that everything that you’ve thought to be true your entire life may in fact not be.

So, I’ve retreated inside myself. I’m tuning out the world and listening to only the voice I hear in my head in an attempt to find myself again, whoever that person is.

It has been a vitally important wakeup call for me. I do not want to live in this state of unhappiness forever. So, I’ve been making tough choices and learning more about me and what exactly makes me tick, trying to reconnect with that lost child within.

And hopefully I will come out of it a better person than I was before.


  1. God bless you as you rediscover the beauty He has made you. I'm smack dab in my mid-30's and I can tell you that I relate, in my own way, to the mirror thing. I feel like I'm still in my early 20's but, alas, when I look in the mirrors I see my mom....when I was a kid. It's taking some time to wrap my head around this aging thing.

    This world is hard. It does seem that the rules of this world can be altered, or deleted, or lost, or not abided by at any time. I'm sorry.

    I'll be thinking of you.


  2. Oh and by the're beautiful.

  3. gosh, i'm in physical pain, and you're in mental turmoil. ha, what a pair we are!! you will start to figure things out bit by bit! i have been going through the same ??'s as you for quite sometime now as you know....i know it has been very tough for me, and i can't imagine being a life long member and dealing with the ??'s we all have at some point. you will make it thru though, take as much time as you need. just remember to stay connected to H. even if your not with any church, and i know you do! i hope the hybernating has helped, sometimes it's necessary, but now start to force yorself to get out have been waiting for spring and summer for 6 months, don't let that pass you by....then, if you feel the need, go back to hybernating come winter! feel better!!, and soon you can get out to your good friends house to help her pack! (got an offer last night, and we counter-offered, so we'll see what happens??....they have til 6pm today to counter or accept!) call if you need anything (unless it's physical work).

  4. Alicia, I'm sorry you are feeling this way. I wish I had some kind of great words of wisdom to give you, but I don't! Have you heard that song by Lady A, American Honey? That is what I was thinking of as I was reading. I absolutely love that song. Life happens and then it's like one day you wake up and find that you aren't where you thought you were or feeling the way you expected to feel and wonder how it all happened. I wish you luck and will be praying for you even if you are questioning your religion. From what I've see so far you seem like a very beautiful person. I hope you can find that beautiful person within you and love, accept, and embrace her!

  5. Alicia,

    I'm glad you stopped by my blog today because if you hadn't, I probably wouldn't have found this post and read it. I'm in the later 30 something category as well and I can so relate to what you're feeling. I tend to be an internal person as it is, but in order to help myself get out of the dark place I was in, I actually forced myself to get out in the world again and I did it through my church.

    I joined a MOM's group that dealt with discussions about how we view ourselves and others. It dealt with friendships, self esteem, and spirituality. It was an amazing experience. The book that we used was called: MOMS A Personal Journal and it was written by Paula Hagen and Vickie LoPiccolo Jennett. Even if you can't find a group doing this in your area, I think that getting the book and going through it might help you to figure yourself out a bit more.
    I hope I didn't step on any toes mentioning it; if I did just disregard me, but I've been where you are and I understand how hard that feeling is. I'm thinking of you and hope that you are able to reclaim the beautiful person that you know you are! (hugs)

  6. Ugh. I'm sorry you're going through this. What about making a list of doing things that make you happy and doing those? Maybe that will help you snap out of it. I hope you begin to feel better. Have you considered talking to someone? A therapist maybe? Someone professionally trained to listen? Sometimes something just feels amiss and it seems there's nothing you can do to make things right. It totally sucks. This might be a time for brownies. :)

  7. I know we don't know each other, but I do know how you feel. If you ever want to just get your thoughts out there to an uninvolved party, please drop me a line!

  8. Girl, I get it!

    I finally came to terms with that face looking back at me in the mirror when I started erasing my 'fine lines and wrinkles' with Picnik!

  9. Hi Alicia. I have recently tipped over the fourty year mark and I can totally relate to the feelings you are describing. I remember looking in the mirror and wondering how that image could possibly be me. I remember all the wondering about what my life meant and if there shouldn't be more. You're in a tough, searching place right now, but it does get better.

    I admire your courage to speak so honestly. You are not alone and I imagaine many women can benefit from reading your words. You are in my prayers.


  10. alicia, my heart is breaking for you. i feel so strongly that through the power of prayer you will be guided and understand the steps you need to take. i really struggled the last few months and felt such a strength through prayer, family, and my Savior.

    i know that this may be a much deeper pain, but i can relate to not feeling like myself, not wanting to see anyone or go anywhere, and just wanting to feel that peace inside.

    thanks for being real and open. you are beautiful, talented, and strong. my prayers are with you.

  11. Oh, Alicia! I wish I were there to give you a hug. It may seem counter intuitive and I know you've heard it before, but sometimes losing yourself in service to others can help you find yourself. And it seems as if this is your goal right now. Give me a call if you want. I'll e-mail you my number. Love you!

  12. Just found your blog through a belle and a bean and a chicago dog. I don't have words to say, except for that the hard times are there for a purpose. Sounds like you are doing exactly what you need to do. I pray that in the will be a BETTER version of who you "once were"! Isn't that what life is about?

  13. You know I can relate. Especially to the not knowing exactly what is wrong, retreating into cyber world, and wanting to hide. I've been speaking more about depression lately and I feel bad for doing so because I feel like it wears on people so I am kind of trying to reside within within myself.

    I also remember being SO excited about stuff as a kid/teen. Having a friend over, doing something fun made me jump for joy. I can't remember the last time I was excited like that.

    Like you said you could just fake it, but is it genuine? I've been thinking that I shouldn't write any more depressed blogs since I just did two in a row and should just fake it and do a happy blog.But it doesn't feel genuine and therefore I may just take a break til the happiness is real.

    You have support on here, and that's great. You have your work cut out for you just reading comments. I can just relate because turmoil is a good word for what I feel inside right now. And just so you know your face still looks 20.

  14. I just ofund your blog and I enjoy it so much. Im praying for you! Bless you!

  15. I'm so sorry to read this, Alicia! I hope you figure things out soon, and begin to feel better. It sounds like you had a revelation, and know what you need to do to better yourself moving forward. Best wishes, and keep typing away.

  16. I can't thank you all enough for the support and kind remarks. As I've read through the comments I've had to fight back tears... it feels so good to know that I am not alone and that there is hope ahead. It is always a scary thing to open yourself up and be so vulnerable. And just so you newcomers know, my blog is not always so melancholy.

    Rachel: I know what you mean when you say you see your mom looking back at you. :)

    Lisa: Hang in there and let me know what day you are packing.

    The Sharps: Totally looking up that American Honey song now.

    Julie M: I don't know of a group around here like that, but I'll look into it. I'm always looking for books so I'll add that to my list.

    Melissa: I'm already on the bucket list thing. I must admit that I have endulged in much chocolate as of late and that I was just eyeing a brownie in the mall yesterday. Maybe a whole pan would be better.

    Mrs.Jen B: Thank you for the offer. I might just take you up on that sometime.

    Christine: Yeah, the wrinkles blow. Googling picnik now. And feel free to pass other tips along... we could all benefit.

    Angie: Your heartfelt words will be treasured.

    Alison: I'm sorry to hear of your struggles, but appreciate the reminders.

    The Skinners: Great idea. I lost your last email and can't remember when you needed sitters in St George.

    Julie: I do hope that there is a purpose for all this and that it isn't all for not.

    Anna Lisa: Sorry to hear that you are still struggling with depression. I'm always willing to listen.

    Photo Freak: Thanks for the prayers. My blog is not always such a downer.

    bbcd mama: Appreciate the encouragement. I actually have found that getting it on virtual paper is slightly therapeutic.

  17. Alicia, I know what you're going through...I think it is a slow progression to make it to that state of "Who are you? and Why am I doing this?" and such. I recently found I'm in that spot (granted I'm not in my 30s yet) but I found myself there nonetheless. My advice, is to go back to the basics---the things you KNOW...and start there. Otherwise, you second guess everything, and it becomes such a headache. But just remember: You are beautiful and you are very loved! :) And I'm sure many of us can relate with the hibernation....I sure can. :)

  18. You're a great person. You have a beautiful glow about you and a smile that lights up a room. You take great care of your kids, and support your hubby, and you're a great friend. I wish I could snap my fingers for you and find the answer you're looking for. All I can do is be here to talk, listen, laugh, eat, and "escape"! Call me anytime you're in need of any of those things. I know one day you will love yourself as much as those who know you love you.

  19. Alicia,

    Your are such a strong woman. You hold so many quilities that I admire. You have overcome so much already in your 30+ years of life. I know you will overcome this also.

    Have you ever heard the song by Micheal McClean "I've got to find out who I am?" It talks of a person going through the same types of questions you are going through now. It is what I thought of as I read this post.

    I also thought of a post that you wrote about your mom, maybe last year. She had been visiting and you woke up and found her reading in her scriptures. I can't find that post, but I remember feeling strong feelings as I read it, and now I think that maybe it would be a good thing to go back and read. Also to go along with that I thought of a talk from Pres Eyring that Mauro had on in his truck a few weeks ago. It is was from the 10/07 General Conference.

    Pres Eyring challenged us to find a way to be able to recognize God's hand in our lives every day. The way that he did that was by witing in his journal. I think that as you go back and read the things that you have written in your life you will start to recognize God's hand in you life and that he loves you and that you are his precious daughter.

    Here is a link that Also might be helpful:

    Love and think of you often.

  20. So enjoyed this post...been there at different times, and working through some disappointments now...well said. I think it is part of growing, just like when our children can no longer wear their shoes or jeans. We adjust and go forward with new insight. Our families are better for our time of silence and reflection. Enjoy the journey...from a mom of six who is getting so close to 50!!!
    PS - if you are new to blogging...then girl, I want to be like you when I grow up, I still can't figure this out!!! LOL

  21. Love this post. I've reached my 30s now and I'm finding it's the time to finally be me instead of figuring out who me is... but being me is sometimes as tough of a journey as discovering who I am. But it's a great journey... one I'm enjoying thankfully