Three years ago, finding myself approaching the big 4-0, I decided to simultaneously embark on a volunteer training program and go back to school (D'oh!). This was in addition to working as a freelance court reporter and being mom to my then-7-year-old son and wife to my husband (both very polite cavemen). Some of those closest to me questioned my wisdom/sanity (and so did I). My plan was to get a degree in social work. Now, here I am three years later, still volunteering, but to my surprise I've found that instead of social work, my focus has become writing, children's stories specifically, for a website that my husband and I started a few months back.
I guess it goes to show that you never quite know where life is going to take you, and I think it also illustrates the gender differences when it comes to midlife crises. Doesn't conventional wisdom say that the man dumps his wife and acquires a young girlfriend and a red sportscar? OK, that's a stereotype, I know. My husband did nothing of the sort. His midlife crisis seemed to involve more napping and an increased sex drive (although not necessarily in that order). Mid-life crises for women? We go back to school, change careers, start businesses. For those super-achievers, we might even run for President .
So for those of you younger than I, take heart, and don't look at it as a midlife crisis. Look at it as a unique possibility for self-improvement and greater enlightenment. Okay, that's what those of us over 40 say to make ourselves feel better.
All kidding aside, I'm enjoying my 40s. I no longer strive for perfection (well, not that I ever really did), and I'm more relaxed about many things. I don't see issues in as dogmatic a fashion as I did when younger (when I knew everything), but am looking for small ways to make a difference in the world around me, and that's something we can all do.