How does one know when precisely when one has slipped into a mid-life crisis?
What differentiates such a thing from the run of the mill personality crisis? Is it the age? Is it the intensity? Is it the feeling that one has spent the last 25+ years of one's life chasing paths that were not necessarily the most desirable ones?
It is hard to question such a thing, of course. Merely to suggest it is to set off warning signals in some, which is perhaps why we do not discuss such a thing in the first place. The question "Are you happy? No, I mean really happy?" inevitably triggers reactions where none may be required.
It is still a question, of course. One I am grappling with now.
Is life terrible? No, far from it. We have a new house. We have good jobs. Na Clann are doing well in school and in their personal lives. We recently got a new-to-us car. I have activities and friends. Certainly I am in no crisis mode.
But is this it?
This is the question I grapple with almost daily now as I rise. Is this it: the morning routine, the commute to the career that was not the aspiration of my life, the commute home, the seeming externalities of family living, the wedging in of things that I enjoy to do, and then to sleep to rise to do it all over again. Is this it?
Where is passion? Where is excitement? Where is that living on the wild edge that pulses the heart and excites the spirit? Where is that anticipation of looking forward to every day as if it were a new present to be unwrapped and enjoyed?
There is a heavy sense of gray about my existence - not the black of depression or the red of anger, but simply the gray of monotony. The pounding realization that fundamentally, tomorrow will be like today which will be like the last series of years.
Where is the relief to this? Not relief in the sense of a lifting depression where my spirits raise but rather in the relief in the sense of a life which offers that excitement, that passion, that "I am alive!" sense that I so much miss now.
I wish I knew. But the world - the real world, at least my real world - beckons with its rounds of mundane tasks needing attention.
And that sense of I should be doing more, I should be living more, I simply should be alive will go back into the small part of my soul where I store such things - the small garden of my life where such things still flourish.