The Draw of Change at Midlife

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My initial transition weekend with old friends from college… My Redneck Immersion Experience

A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she thinks she is ready to move home. Another friend called me yesterday because she was feeling this deep urge for a change. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was or what she needed to change, but the things that had “done it for her” in the past just weren’t “doing it for her” anymore. For her, change is percolating. Before I moved home last year, I had several friends announce that they were packing up their businesses, quitting their jobs or retiring and moving home. All of these women were around my age – give or take 10 years. I have a couple of friends who have change percolating in their minds. Many are getting houses ready to sell, looking for jobs, trying out new hobbies or going back to school. Yes, even in their fifties and sixties, people are going back to school.

Change was percolating for me for awhile before I decided to move home. I had heard from my friends that they were moving home. I would toss the idea around in my mind, but it just seemed too enormous a task, and I wasn’t sure I’d want to do it anyway. I’m not afraid of change. I’ve been one of those people who make changes when the opportunity arises. I wasn’t always that way. Sometimes it’s been in hindsight that I realized I’d been needing a change for a long time. During my first marriage, I re-arranged the furniture all the time. My husband got so irritated when he’d come home, and the furniture had been moved …. again. It wasn’t until much later in life that I recognized that re-arranging small things in my life incessantly is an indicator of a bigger change that I’m avoiding.

Old Friends

When I did my taxes this month, I had to go over all of the financial events of my life last year on paper. I laughed before I cried about all the stuff I’d done last year. No wonder I was broke by the end of the year. I re-financed my house in Memphis only to sell it 3 months later. I bought a new car. I got a new job. I relocated to Louisiana. The re-financing and the new car were signs to me that I was hankering for something. I also had begun to  attach more to friends from home and those who lived in other cities. I was becoming bored with Corporate America and the work I was doing. I was disenchanted. I was getting tired of being a single home-owner and all of the work that entails. Then, a series of events occurred that got me excited about life again, and I ended up in Baton Rouge. It was all a blur.

My childhood friend, Bobbi Jo, asked me if I am still glad I moved home. “I have good days and bad days,” I answered honestly. I’d love to know if other people who move home experience the same things I have. There is this sense in moving home that you know a lot of people, and, yes, you do know a lot of pe0ple. You just don’t KNOW a lot of people. It’s an illusion. I’ve changed. They’ve changed. We’ve all spent 40 or 50 years in a different environment, and we are products of our environment. There are people I thought I’d mesh with that I’ve found we have nothing in common. Others … strangers as kids… seem to be kindred spirits. It’s taken a bit of experimentation to sort it all out.

New Friends

I googled “moving home” on the internet, and there doesn’t seem to be much written about it. Maybe it’s too broad a term, and I just can’t find the info. But, Thomas Wolfe wrote the book You Can’t Go Home Again. Many people quoted that to me before I moved as a bit of a warning. As a writer, he wrote about his experiences, and he pissed off all of the people who could see themselves in his work. I actually don’t think I’ve read the book, but I should. I’d like to get another’s insights on this journey home.

There is a lot written on midlife crisis. In a sense, this blog, Midlife Moments, was an attempt for me to document my midlife journey. And, in many ways, the writing itself has molded my choices. If I hadn’t been writing, and I hadn’t been reflecting on my feelings when I visited home, I don’t know that I would have recognized … or acted on … the draw. The writing tuned my mind in to what was good. It brought me into connection with others who had grown up here. Their memories in turn sparked my memories. When they would tell a story that I didn’t remember at all, it was as if they were reaching into my brain and opening a compartment that had long been closed. Once it opened, more memories would surface as if they were attached to a strand that was pulling them out one by one. The strand eventually brought me here. I believe it was a journey that was meant to happen.

The Move

I am lucky it was fairly easy to come home. Lots of people feel the need for change at midlife, and it’s not so easy. They may realize they need a different career, want children, have lost their sense of self or have a desire to leave a legacy that doesn’t fit in their current life. Most people want to ignore the gentle draw or try to shove it under the rug in the hopes that they will get over it. It takes a lot of work to change and sometimes it affects other people. Some close down never to open up again. Others explode in an angry desperate rage dissolving every choice they’ve made in their life.

When the urge to change…. maybe the need for change … starts percolating, it can’t be denied. It’s a cry from your soul that says it needs to grow. It’s actually a sign that you are maturing. We only grow through change. It’s when we get out of our comfort zone… move to a new place … start a new career … go back to school … adopt a child … learn a new hobby or skill … walk a new spiritual path…. battle a health issue …..it’s when we get out of our comfort zone that we grow. Some think that we are in this life to endure it and get through it. My personal belief is that this is a spiritual journey designed to mature my soul. I hope I change again … and again … and again before I’m done.

3 thoughts on “The Draw of Change at Midlife

  1. Great post. I’ve never really thought about moving home. Long ago I got over the fantasy that all of my old friends back home were still hanging out and having fun. They are not.
    I’ve thought about what my life would be like if I had stayed in my howm town. I’d probably own my old family home, what would I hve done with it? Would I have been able to change a thing? To sleep in my parents bedroom?
    I am seriously considering a career change. I’m turning 50 this year and I’m tired of working for someone else. I’ve been working on ideas for about 10 months now. I think I’m close to something pretty cool that will allow me to move on from my current job.
    Not exactly moving home, but definatley change in middle life.

      • I’ll post something on my blog. It will probably be a few weeks or a month. I need to have all of the details nailed down before I go public with this.
        I am so excited about it, I can barely stay at my desk at work and do this drudgery!

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