What is it about my birthday this year that has me doing all of this contemplation? I don’t remember going through this when I turned 30, or 40, or 45…but man, looking 48 in the face and all of a sudden I’m questioning almost every aspect of my existence.
The things I used to use to “define” myself – my abilities, my likes, my dislikes, hobbies, and what not all seem to have changed. And without my noticing. I still love to go dancing, but I find that I have very little desire to do it in the dance clubs I frequented just a few months ago. I’m also running out of friends to go with who are enthusiastic about the activity so when I do manage to get them out, their lack of ‘joy’ drags the excitement from me as well. So what happens? I don’t go out, or when I do, I’m left feeling frustrated and somewhat depressed.
I used to use liquor to self-medicate my way through the various mental maladies I believe I have (Depression, Social Anxiety, and ADHD, to name them). Mind you, I’ve never been formally diagnosed – I’ve always just dealt with the nervousness, jitters, fear, depression, and inability to maintain focus in most situations by either drinking or writing the symptoms away. Well, in the last two years, I’ve noticed that liquor triggers migraines. Dark, white, 20 proof or 100, doesn’t matter. I will have a migraine. In some cases, the pain starts almost as soon as the last sip has been consumed. Surprisingly enough, I’ve found that I can handle one to two glasses of a certain Port wine, of a certain vintage, by a certain winery, but outside of that, I’m screwed. So, there goes being able to numb up the crazy long enough to do some of the other activities I used to enjoy. I’m still writing, but even there, I’m noticing my drive to publish what I write is all but gone. If the process of publishing posts to the blog involved anything more than a mouse click, I doubt I’d be blogging. Another major self-defining activity bites the dust.
Even my social circle has dwindled over the years as my friends and I have aged in different directions. While they saw the need to “act” their age, I tended to continue acting how I felt – midnight movies, playing on playground equipment (yeah, I still enjoy climbing on jungle gyms in the park, those big enough to support me that is), roller skating, bike riding, walking through the mall for no apparent reason other than to people watch; I’ve had to enjoy those things solo for a few years now while my peers opted to, instead, watch television (with emphasis on catching the news and the latest episode of whatever hit show is on), and then make sure they’re in bed by 10 pm. I don’t watch the news, the stock market, or anything else that brings me nothing but doom and gloom. In fact, I haven’t had any form of TV in my house for going on two years now. I can still hang for a late night or two, even during the week, and while I may take a nap here and there, they haven’t yet become a must have. I tend to look on the bright side, have an almost childish reaction to things that bring me joy, and would rather be running around an amusement park than sitting at a dinner party discussing politics, mortgages, or the latest episode of whatever hit show was on during the week. Consequently, I’m the “Rose Nylund” of my social circle. Makes for some not so comedic encounters, let me tell you. I’ll be all geeked up to go / do / see / wear / only to be stopped cold with a “Really? You’re wearing that / Going there / Doing what / You mean you don’t watch…? Girl, at our age, you might want to…” Doesn’t help that biology is also giving me the “I think it’s time you grew up a bit” as well. What with the minor changes one’s body goes through as one ‘ages’ physically and emotionally.
I’ve done some “growing-up” here and there. I have. I’ve gotten a handle on my spending finally; kicked my debt in the ass…I’m learning how to live and be healthier but all of a sudden, I don’t know “who” I am anymore. I don’t know if I like something now because I used to or because I genuinely still enjoy it and just need the ‘right’ people to enjoy it with. And sometimes, I catch myself preferring a nice quiet evening in rather than rushing out to happy hour / a dance club / see the latest super hero movie at midnight. SEE!!! That, right there…I used to be first to suggest such boisterous behavior. To instead, actually ENJOY being at home on a Friday night?!
How did I get to that point? When did that happen and why, when I do decide to stay home, does it feel as I’m betraying who I used to be? ARRRRGH.
I’ve spent all my life to date just transitioning as I went along. Changing personalities to suit my needs and my environment without a moment’s hesitation. Now, here I am – at a time in my life when I should be or rather, when I THINK I should be settled solidly into BEING who I am, and I’m suddenly acutely aware that I have no idea who I want to be.