Our current culture tends to be very youth centric. Billions are spent every year in the effort to stave off the winds of time.
Personally, I don’t get it. While I often hear people wax on wishing they could be young again, there is not enough money in this world to make me want to go back. My own adolescence and young adulthood was tumultuous. Sure I had good times, and I value every lesson learnt and experience gained, in that it prepared me for the next stage in life. What I remember most of those times however, is the overwhelming angst. Having worked with youth for so long, I also don’t envy the challenges they face now, trying to transition from childhood to adult. At least when I was young and foolish there was no internet.
As a child, I could not wait to be grown. My childhood circumstances led me to feel like I lived at the sufferance of others. You feel your loneliness so much more when surrounded by others.
As such I could not wait to embrace the mantle of Mother, and to be in the position to give what I so desperately wanted. I acted the Mother for a long time, but finally grew into her at about 30.
By that time I had thoroughly, if unintentionally, enjoyed Maidenhood. In a desire to break free of mindsets that threatened to strangle me, I threw myself into finding my own truths. While some may consider this time as misspent, I know it resulted in me unloading a lot of baggage that I did not know I had accumulated. As such, by 30, I was confident in myself as a woman and a person of colour.
Divine Discontent heralded the coming of this seismic shift in my life; everything just did not seem right anymore. By 25 I was tired of the club scene, tired of transient friendships, tired of moving all the time, tired of being everything for everybody and having nothing left for me. Things that held value for me started to seem frivolous and my soul started to cry out for more. Moreover, I started to recognise the need to make new choices to ensure I didn’t keep repeating old lessons.
The shift happened one step at a time, but before I could start moving, I was caught between inertia and false starts. I grew up at a time where the message started to be, “you can do anything.” Problem was, no one taught me how to figure out what I wanted to do, much less on how to build a life. Then a new program found me, one that not only taught how to choose, find and keep a job, but also included a comprehensive life-skills program and regular counselling.
This resulted in building a life plan. Turns out that a plan is just an excuse to get on the road; the variables are such that you never know what can happen. I quickly understood that while I might have a life plan, I needed to be open to other possibilities. By doing so, I have been to places I never dreamed about as a child and accomplished things that I did not think myself capable of as a teen. I also discovered a depth of self that I would have missed otherwise.
So now I am on the other side, my clock is slowing and I can feel the mantle of Mother giving way to that of the Crone. If I had any doubt of this, the Divine Discontent I am beginning to encounter would be a dead giveaway.
Now don’t get it twisted, I do not fear croning. Sure I could do without the aches and pains that remind me I am no spring chicken. At first, I even resented the slowing of my ability to go from stop to go, but even that I have come to appreciate, because I now understand that much of the urgency that drove me before was manufactured.
I am also having experiences that make it harder to transition. Why is it that all the products I love are being discontinued? (My generation, the Baby Busts, are so few in numbers, we have been overshadowed and discounted all of our lives) Where once the more rough and rowdy gave me a wide berth, now they size me up. While I don’t mind the “Ma’am”, I do mind the dismissive tone. While I like to move around incognito I don’t like being treated like I am invisible. Yet, I do not attribute this to aging, but to the disrespect some seem to have for those who are older.
Truth be told, I feel like I have thoroughly enjoyed my Motherhood, and am ready for life’s next stage. What is really bothering me, is that for the first time in a long time I am unsure of myself and my future. I feel like a great chapter in my life is coming to a close with no teaser of the next plot point.
My rational mind and personal history tell me this is a good thing; that a seismic shift is coming. Given all that I have been through, and that I believe everything we go through is to prepare us for the next peak, I want be hopeful about what is to come. I have always stepped out of the wings of faith, and usually fly rather than plummet.
Base instinct and the control freak in me however, is having a mini melt down. It is hard to allow myself to be lost at this stage of my life. This added to the rough ride that was last year, has me feeling a little raw and vulnerable.