Archive | August, 2008

A mid-life crisis and I’m not even halfway there!

18 Aug

I’d describe life as a collection unintentional slip-ups and blurry-eyed, topsy-turvey expeditions mixed in with temporary moments of convoluted clarity. Every once in a while clarity will present itself but for the most part it’s a journey through life’s foggy maze (think “The Shining”) with the hope of not getting lost halfway through the darn thing.

So why am I pondering life and all of its jacked up possibilities?

Lately I’ve been feeling (and please forgive this OVER USED cliche) like a bird in a cage. No, I’m not talking about the 1996 movie “The Birdcage” featuring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane (wasn’t it nice seeing Robin in all his unwaxed, furry glory), rather I’m referring to the strange feeling that I’ve reached a stopping point in my own topsy-turvey journey. Why is this happening? And why now? Is it possible that in today’s fastforward world the new mid-life crisis begins at 30-something? Was I soooo busy trying to get somewhere that I forgot where I was headed to begin with?

So back to my cliche… it’s a strange thing feeling trapped when you don’t really have anything holding you down. A little about my current situation – I’m single, no kiddos, financially independent, have worked on some really exciting projects, won awards, traveled, buy what I want to buy, do what I want to do… etc. etc. But even though I’ve lived a comfortable life, I feel like I’ve reached the end of this journey.

So how did I get here? After much pondering, I realized that 18 years ago I made the choice to live a comfortable life with a predictable future at the expense of having my freedom, creativity and adventure tamed and caged up. Okay… so maybe I’m over exaggerating a little but I’ll never forget an art professor’s response to telling him my level-headed career choice, “BAD IDEA, DON’T DO IT… YOU’LL NEVER PAINT AND BE BORED OUT OF YOUR MIND.”  Ergh, there’s a reason why they say you should always listen to your elders…

I should have taken out the school loans and gone to art school in New York or Chicago right out of high school, I should have studied fine art instead of graphic design, and I should have been far more adventurous and less timid in love! (Ah… love is always a bitch, huh?) I’ve always felt a bit out of place in my life, like I got off at the wrong stop and never bothered to get back on the bus. It’s always felt that way, with work, where I live, my profession, and at times even the people around me… a lot of it has never felt right.

I am sure my experience is not uncommon, just look at the pharmaceutical industry… Could this be one of the reasons why so many people end up convincing themselves they’re going crazy? And the exact reason why doctors overprescribe psych-meds? Unfortunately the depression stemming from the unescapeable predictablity of daily life has become the cause of a major medical condition (and record profits for the drug manufacturers).

So what am I going to do to prevent my own downward spiral into madness??? Lately I’ve been thinking about jumping the professional ship and hopping back onto the educational bandwagon toward graduate school (or dare I say cooking school). Or perhaps drop the whole design thing and start a business doing something completely different. Once again I am confronted with choices… continue down the same path or branch out somewhere completely different? Perhaps in my mid-30’s it’s time to take the heroic leap into the unknow. Is financial security worth the cost of total and complete mind-numbing boredom and predictablity? Not, it is not. Let’s hope it’s true when folks say, if you stay true to your heart and follow your passion everything will fall into place. And if they’re wrong, what’s the worst that can happen ? I’ll realize I had it right the first go around and be happy with being successfully bored… until my 3/4 life-crisis rolls around. 🙂