I'm in my young forties (that sounds so much better than referring to myself as in my early forties). In no way do I consider this mid-life; in fact, I'm often a bit surprised that I'm already here, an adult, and actually responsible for raising other people. No, this isn't mid-life, but that doesn't stop me from wondering sometimes if I'm suffering from what has been embraced as a midlife crisis – a review of my life so far and all of the anxiety that goes with it. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that I've done that...or perhaps do it on a daily basis. Sure, there may be snippets in my life when I feel completely in control, but those moments are fleeting. Usually, I wonder if I'm losing my mind (and if other people can tell). Some of the things that fly through my mind on a regular basis:
Women my age have their acts together way more than I do.
[After watching a Real Housewives episode] No, I'm good.
I'm in my forties; I need to lose the ponytail.
But, it's so hot during baseball games. Ponytail stays. Note to self – try to look more mature when wearing ponytail.
If I walk into one more bathroom and see little boy pee remnants, I'll lose my mind.
I should just tell them to pee outside. The neighbors won't mind.
I'm not successful.
I've accomplished so much.
Wait, what's success?
[Little boy walks into office “just because” to give me a hug]. I'm so successful.
I don't feel my age. [Then panicked because I have to actually think for a moment about how old I'm going to be on my next birthday. Then even more panicked because I'm concerned I'm showing signs of dementia.]
I need to give up carbs. Order the salad.
[Waitress arrives] I'll have the adult mac n' cheese, please.
Stop watching HGTV. It only makes you want to change everything in your house.
Watch Hoarders instead. It makes you feel on top of things.
What time's Fixer Upper on?
Stay off social media. It sucks too much of your time and nothing good comes of it.
Oh, look! I got tagged in something.
I feel like I look good today!
I'm bloated and look horrible today. [Guaranteed to run into five people I know in the grocery store].
I should drink less coffee. Green tea is better for me.
Green tea isn't the same. Give me a latte.
My kids play way too many electronics. They need to get outside and be creative.
My kids were outside being creative and painted the driveway.
My kids need to stay inside.
So, what of all these thoughts circulating through my mind? I've come to this startling conclusion – whatevs and no worries (a deep and articulate conclusion, I know). In my twenties I was certain that I knew it all, but that came with so many mistakes that accompany false and naive self-assurance. I wasn't yet equipped to mentally or emotionally handle all that life threw at me so I analyzed life's little hiccups and challenges by compartmentalizing them according to whatever movie theme, book plot, or dramatic saga that I could best relate to. I was living externally – trying desperately to measure up to some objective definition of what life was supposed to look like (as if there is any such thing).
I now realize that I actually know very little, but am so much more confident – and in a good way – because I get it. Life is about being the best version of myself that I can be, which means letting go of comparisons, preconceived notions about what life is supposed to look like, and enjoying every precious little moment because I've known too many people who didn't have the luxury of growing old. So, when I know that I should order a salad, but order the mac n' cheese instead, I'm not too hard on myself. I've come to realize that my moments of midlife crisis really aren't anything more than an active mind processing the many facets and hilly ride of life. And, what that life looks like and how I feel about it isn't up to fate, or other people, or society's expectations – it's up to me and me alone, and that's not really not a crisis at all.
Tiffany wears many hats, but prefers the comfy one from her alma mater that
she wears cheering her boys on from the stands. Her resume may read lawyer,
author, and freelance writer, but she thinks a description of life juggler,
worry wart, and latte-lover might provide a more accurate picture of her
daily life. A scribe at-heart, Tiffany loves writing stories that speak to
readers' hearts and enjoys tackling the subjects that invite conversation
and debate. With articles featured in 435 Magazine, NORTH, and M Magazine,
Tiffany served as Editor-in-Chief of NORTH Magazine after leaving private
practice in 2015. She has been a contributing writer with the Kansas City
Moms Blog and has appeared on Fox 4's Morning Show, The Now KC, and Better
KC to discuss her blog posts and magazine articles. Her first novel, Six
Weeks in Petrograd, was published in 2013 and she is currently working with
her agent to sell two manuscripts that she's convinced would make fantastic
films starring Ben Affleck. You can find Tiffany sitting on the second
floor of her favorite coffee shop in Parkville, strolling English Landing
Park with her husband and two boys, or trying not to be "that mom" at her
sons' baseball games. www.TiffanyKilloren.com