Two years ago my world changed. I had decided to leave my job of 10 years. I found myself without any energy or motivation, diagnosed with an autoimmune virus that made getting out of bed an enormous challenge. I was angry and lashing out at my husband and my kids. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t see the path ahead or the way out of this moment of turmoil. People around me named it quickly, “Oh, you are just having a mid-life crisis”, and at 41 that seemed like a predictable explanation, but it was not satisfying. If this was a crisis, then what was the right emergency protocol? The definition of crisis is” a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger”, but I’ve always been a woman of action. Sitting and simmering in this intense time of difficulty was not my natural state.
In the past two years I have taken myself on an adventure to peel back the layers of what brought me to that moment: the stressors, the expectations I had developed, my commitment (or lack thereof) to personal wellness, my dispositions around helping others and avoiding conflict at all costs. This work has been challenging, dynamic, eye-opening, and productive.
As I have discovered new tools, cultivated new habits, analyzed my tendencies, and taken risks to emerge from the despair of a year ago, I have also realized that a mid-life crisis isn’t the right phrase to define this moment. Instead, this moment has provided me a chance to catch my breath, be intentional, reflect on what has come before and plan for what lies ahead.
In the theatre world, there is an Act I that introduces characters, the setting, the plot and establishes the story. The plot builds during the first act until a dynamic moment of climax is introduced. Then, the curtain falls and the audience faces the intermission. The intermission is the chance to talk about what has been witnessed, to make predictions about Act II and to refresh oneself for another couple hours of theatre.
So what if this moment wasn’t a crisis, but a person intermission? What if Act I had been establishing myself, my professional, familial, personal plot lines and they all came to a climactic head that had left me wondering what was next? Perhaps instead of an intermission, I needed to dig deep into my own character and plot development, take a moment to refresh myself and ready myself for Act II? What if this moment was not an intermission, but My Innermission?
As the months have passed, I have had conversations with friends and colleagues who have found themselves in a moment of change or dynamic transition. Some of them faced physical challenges, some faced relationship turmoil, some faced professional upheaval, but they all found themselves searching, reflecting, and refueling in different ways, looking for Act II.
Joining me in My Innermission is an opportunity to explore tools, texts, experiences and perspectives to help you move through a dynamic moment of change. It is an invitation to use these resources to find your own way. The blog, podcast, and the personal journals are all available to help you reflect, refuel and imagine what comes next. Welcome to my innermission—a journey between the acts of life.
Innermission Invitation—Each blog post will have an Innermission Invitation to help you on your journey. Today’s invitation is to name your innermission challenge. “I feel (emotion)….. I want to see change in my (aspect of my life) ……….I know that it is a journey, so I need to remember to show myself (attribute that will help you).