Up Shit Creek

I’ve been asked a few times what midlife feels like and it’s very difficult to answer other than by using metaphors and one that for me explains it a little better than others is that of the river. When we are young we are not even really aware of being in the river of life, we tend to drift with the current and not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Then we get a job, get married, have kids and all of the time we gather baggage to ourselves. We spend a lot of time and effort on trying to be a good provider and at some point we get dragged into the deeper water and the stronger current. Often our efforts are put into just keeping on course and we neglect the necessity to visit the river bank or explore the quiet waters. So we neglect some parts of our life and concentrate on others that weigh us down.

At some stage we enter midlife and begin to realise that there are a lot more important things than keeping the rudder pointed in the right direction and maybe we need to head into the backwashes and take the time to sort through the baggage, lighten the load and put aside some of the things that have been weighing us down. Pick the things we wish to keep and discard the rubbish.

So in midlife we start to re-assess what the important things are. Sometimes that means we hurt other people. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we regard them as rubbish, simply that maybe our journey needs to proceed separately for a time. And only time will tell whether those journeys will ever come together again.

So sometimes we do find ourselves up shit creek without a paddle the midlife challenge is to navigate ourselves back to the point where we are no longer treading water or stuck in an eddy, or even rushing headlong uncontrolled to the waterfall, but to that point where we are able to travel forward with as much control over ourselves as is possible to have.

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