Originally posted February 24, 2015
Welcome to my
When I turned 40, my life was pretty awesome. I was singing full time and making a good living. I was touring and recording and working with some of the best jazz musicians, not only in Chicago, but from coast to coast. I was even setting up my first tour in Japan. I was married, had a dog, owned a home, and had wonderful family and friends. But as my birthday approached, I was not embracing it. I didn’t want a party, (and I LOVE celebrating my birthday) I just wanted it to quietly pass.
I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I should have been happy and fulfilled. I should have been embracing all that I was grateful for in my life. I should have wanted to celebrate. Yep, I was should-ing all over myself!! (Say that out-loud quickly and insert giggle here!)
Some friends put together a last minute gathering, which was so kind of them. But as I looked around, it was a random group that made me feel even less connected. What was wrong with me? I was a happy person, but something was missing and I couldn’t figure it out. I wasn’t unhappy or sad, but I was not fully content. I just chalked it up to the fact that I was having a mid-life crisis. This feeling went on for several years. I don’t think anyone noticed (if they did, no one ever said anything!) and I never talked about it because I wasn’t even sure how to articulate it.
In 2008, I took a risk (because it was so far out of my comfort zone) and began working as a teaching artist for Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. I couldn’t believe how much I loved it. I loved working with the students and I truly believed in the mission of the organization. The following year I took a staff position. I felt a purpose I hadn’t felt in a really long time. I loved everything about the job and the people with whom I worked. It was like the Universe wrote a job description of everything I loved to do and just handed it to me on a platter. I was overflowing with gratitude. I would even find myself just smiling for no reason when I was doing simple tasks like doing the dishes.
I was fully engaged at work but not so much at home. I was dealing with some stressors: a couple of rental properties in the city that were sucking my time, energy and money; struggling a bit financially after the crash; and my husbands drinking was pretty prevalent. None of these things were out of control or too terrible. You know, it’s just life stuff. Yet, I still felt like there was a part of me that I was losing and/or missing.
I was unclear what this even meant. I was unclear on what I wanted. But I knew I wanted more. And that just made me feel guilty for wanting more when I was already blessed with so much. Not everything can be perfect, right? Who was I to want more?
I was faced with some choices. They were the same choices I had been facing for years, but I finally realized it was time to stop making choices out of fear. It would only be then, that I would get different results.
So, in 2010, my husband and I chose to end our 17 year marriage. And even though I was incredibly fearful of what would happen to me, what would happen to him, what would people think, how could I support myself on a non-profit salary, etc., this was the first time in a long time that I was extremely hopeful. I was choosing change. (YIKES! Change…who wants that? I did!)
It was through my year-long coaching certification process at iPEC (the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching) that I began to truly understand more of myself and uncover not only what I wanted, but who I wanted to be.
If you’ve read this far, you may be wondering why the heck I’m even sharing all of this personal information with you! It’s because I don’t believe I was having a mid-life crisis. I believe I was having a mid-life awakening. And, I believe many of us are having them!! But we judge it and ourselves and don’t know how to navigate through it alone. We just wait and hope something magically changes. I easily spent a decade with these feelings of unfulfillment and guilt, if only in one area of my life. But this energy was holding me back from my full potential.
It is now exactly 10 years later since that fated 40th party. Yep, his past Sunday, I turned 50 years old! This is the first time I am sharing my real age! (I spent the better part of 8 years at 39!) And ya know what, I feel great about it! Because now I am very clear about who I am, who I choose to be, and what I want out of my life.
If you find yourself asking any of the following questions…
Is this all there is?
Is this what I want to be doing?
What is my greater purpose?
Why am I not content with my life/work?
Why am I not happier and more engaged in my life?
Why am I not more inspired at work?
How did I get here?
Who do I think I am to want more?
Why do I feel like I’m struggling?
Why am I not having more fun?
What do I want to be when I grow up?
Alone (even with people around you)
Unsure of what to do
Worried about what others will think
Guilty for wanting more out of life
Wanting to make some sort of change (big or small)
know that you are not alone!! Know that it’s perfectly normal to be having those thoughts and feelings at any age. And know that you can choose to hop on the path to your mid-life awakening at any time. It can be scary, and it is wonderful. But you don’t have to navigate it alone! Contact me, contact another coach, contact a therapist, but contact someone! Let us help you uncover what it is you want right now…big or small. Don’t wait until it feels unmanageable or you become miserable. Because quite frankly, WHAT are you waiting for?
Although I’m still on my own awakening journey, I can tell you with 100% certainty, this path is sunnier, easier and way more fun to be on! Join me, won’t you?
Here’s to your blissful awakening at any age!!
Lesley Picchietti, CPC, ACC, ELI-MP
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