Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What lies ahead

I don't think I've ever done this on my blog -- use an article I read to illustrate a point -- but I swear to god this one, by Douglas LaBier, "Our so-called Mid-life; why happiness and depression both appear to increase", could've started off "Dear Ivey."

Let me back up, we've been mostly coming through our little storm but not without repercussions. For me, there are several biggies:
  • Loss of trust that Vince means what he's telling me; after all, he told me he was "fine" and wanted a more "progressive life" before.
  • The retreat into "inauthentic Ivey;" one of the great joys I had leading into this mess was the feeling that I was finally being "me," -- integrated, whole. The other night we had a dinner party and I felt "her" return; the fake front that masks the real me. I was, of course, the hostess with the most-ess! Charming, witty, a great cook. But before this reset, I had come to see my Ivey persona as more like a hidden super-hero. Suddenly, that part of me was gone and my "shameful inner voice," was lurking behind my eyes; the person who NO ONE can ever see, that I must hide and repress, because if they do people, important people, won't like or love me. I've come to believe that difference was a major part of the isolation I've always felt in groups of people.
  • The idea that possibilities for experiences THAT HARM NO ONE were actually possible, and not fantasy or wishful thinking or delusions. That suddenly the doors of life had been thrown wide and that my Beloved and I were going to embrace them together.
  • I'm struggling with the idea that it may be that I have to come to terms and simply accept that my life (our life) is forever to be defined by limits, obstacles, fears, frustrations, distance. Just as I struggle to accept/fight the idea that I will always be over-weight; surrender is so much easier than being at constant war with your inner self.
  • Maybe all the last 2 - 3 years really has been is nothing more than a mid-life crisis. I mean, really. A tattoo? Isn't the idea of swinging just another version of yearning for sexual variety? I haven't bought the little red sports car but my minivan is red and does have a sunroof.

These are just a few of the biggies that have been plaguing my brain off and on. I vacillate between security in my love for Vince and fear that I'm truly not lovable if I pursue my desire for a fuller, richer life. I'm mourning for what feels like the short life of the slowly awakening inner me.

And then the article shows up today on Huffington Post and in addition to other very on-point paragraphs, this one lept off the page:

"I suggest thinking of so-called midlife as a positive transition zone into
full adulthood. A period for creative solutions and better trade-offs regarding
your current commitments. [] And a time for restructuring your choices,
values and goals; making them support an integrated, healthy and authentic life,
through which you can continue to grow and develop in all realms of your life.
That's positive aging."

That's it right there folks -- an authentic life. Up to this point, I've had a good life; one that I enjoy and am proud of, one that I want to continue with my Beloved Vince, one that we've worked fucking hard to achieve. I don't want to jettison all that we've built, the best of who we are. But what I've done hasn't always been authentic, and it sure as hell hasn't been my best. I want to grow. I want to help others (especially Vince, if that's what he wants) live the fullest, richest, most experiential life possible in this short time we have on earth. I don't know if there's an afterlife, but I know for sure there is this life.

The article's last lines also hit me between the eyes:

"The upshot here is that most people are capable of self-directing their
lives during the adult years. What you experience isn't some inexorable process
that simply happens to you. It's the product of how you manage the changes
within your mind/body/spirit; how you deal with the new possibilities that lie

"And keep in mind what the novelist George Eliot wrote, 'It is never too
late to be what you might have become.'"

The best years, if we can manage it, lie ahead.


  1. Isn't it great when articles hit home like that?

    Love this quote, "It is never too
    late to be what you might have become."

  2. I have a quote on my wall "I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul" it always helps me get through

  3. It's treacherous water you sail in but there be treasure awaiting ye on the other side.

    Whoops, sorry. So excited for talk like a pirate day. :-p

    Anyways. I've said in various places online and will likely continue to cause people don't believe me, that's there's no such thing as a 'true' you and a 'false' you. There's just a 'you'. Maybe different people see different things or maybe different aspects of you are more prevalent at certain times. But they're all you. 100%. So the goal isn't to become the TRUE you, the goal is to be happier with the you that is. Whether that's a change in mindset or a change in behavior the actions you take might be the same regardless of your view on this. But it's healthier, I think, to accept that you're not chaining the REAL you down.

    Personally, I like you. Warts and all. And I got no doubt you'll figure something out and I'll like that 'you' too.

  4. I saw that article too, and thought it was a great discussion. I've been reading (like everyone else on the planet) Eat, Pray, Love, and loved the chapter where she talked about how you always resemble yourself. I don't remember the exact wording, but it made me sit up and take notice. I read the message as. 'stop trying to be something other than what you are.'

    Great post. I really relate to what you're saying.

  5. This was a great post. You be who you are and hopefully you and Vince can work towards that together so you can each be your authentic selves happily together.

  6. Wow, on some level in a different situation, I get this. Its a constant battle between the internal "real" me (or what I think is the "real" me) and the me that the public sees. The socially acceptable, church going, dutiful mother, desk jobber vs the spitfire sex kitten who longs to hop a plane around the world and fuck a frenchman or ten, be an absent minded writer/traveler/freespirit. And for me, I don't know if the two mes will ever be able to reconcile. Because, what if, my husband doesn't love the real me, my parents disown the real me, my friends freak out from the real me, etc? Its a risk. One that I have to figure out if I'm going to take or not.

    All that to say, the authentic you is insightful and amazing and I hope you guys continue to work through all of this.