Do you ever sit back and have the opportunity to reflect and capture your thoughts on life? To be honest it’s not something that I have ever really done with the busyness of life owning my time. Maybe it’s something I haven’t wanted to do, but as I approach 40 I have caught myself being more contemplative on the question of what has my life become and where is the real meaning?
If I delve a little deeper and be honest, what I am really seeing is that I don’t like everything I see in myself and how my life has turned out as a human and I am also contemplating where is the real meaning and purpose of my life?
Looking back on my life, I don’t know if I like what I see
Looking back on our own lives is normally done with a fairly superficial vent. So for me I had a supportive family when I was growing up, enjoyed school and college, made the college basketball team, have been happily married for close to 10 years, including bringing up 2 children. I have a job that allows the family to live a comfortable life in Chicago and to be able to do the things we want to do. So on the veneer life seems good and we are happy.
However for all this, when I sit back and reflect on life it can also at times feel incredibly empty. I have started thinking more deeply about why is there so much despair, hatred, greed, wars and loneliness on this planet. On top of this I have also started to see the selfishness and divisiveness in my own self, and don’t particularly like what I see and am unable to reconcile this with how I have perceived I have lived my life.
So these thoughts on life are about exactly that, thoughts on life! And these emotions run deeper than questioning my happiness in marriage or the family I have.
Does everybody have a mid-life crisis?
I have also noticed a lot of colleagues and friends that reach this middle age, have a “mid-life crisis” or a “crisis of meaning”. Some of us, after years of living in our own preoccupation of making money and supporting our family start becoming philanthropic and decide to “put something back into society”, it makes us feel better in ourselves, some become “born again”and find religion, some of us join causes and movement such as environmentalism to try and “save the planet”, and again I suggest make ourselves feel better. Maybe I am facing a similar crossroads.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with any of this; it’s just what we do. If I try to put my finger on it there seems to be a common theme of us having an element of despair about who we have become as individuals, and trying to compensate for this or alleviate our guilt and take up “feel good” or “born again” causes, and an emptiness in our own lives where we begin searching for something more in our lives, searching for meaning and purpose, as though we are left at 40 with a massive void to fill. We are left trying to reconnect with some realness, purpose and understanding to it all.
So the question of how do I find peace in my inner self from all of these thoughts on life I am having remain unanswered for now! I don’t know, maybe it’s just a part of approaching 40, or maybe there’s more to it than that and it cuts into the very issue of our own human condition as individuals and as humans.
I have always been thoughtful about, and interested in the meaning of life but suddenly in the last few months before I turn 40 these thoughts are seemingly coming to a ‘pitch’ inside myself.