This I Believe

Janice - Fayetteville, Arkansas
Entered on December 12, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe midlife has given me the chance for rebirth, although perhaps rebirth is not quite the right word. Instead, I mean that midlife really is the first time I will be born as “Me.”

At this time in my life I no longer have the primary roles of daughter, mother or employee. And although I am married, in this autumn season of my life, at times I can even see the long-term value of considering “Me” in my role as wife.

How did I come to feeling the “birth of me?” Now that my children are grown and I no longer have the necessity to work full-time, I have more time to ponder such things. I’ve realized that as I’ve gotten older, time seems to shrink, and the downhill side of life goes by so much faster. I think about the limit to the length of my life. It is not a sad or dark thought, instead motivating and invigorating. The realization has made me a little less patient about “putting up with” what used to be necessary to conform to my previous primary roles, and at the same time it has made me hasten to think about where I want to go with my life and about how to get there passionately.

It has not been an overnight change, and it was not a switch that flipped when I turned 40 or even 45. The transition of doing what was expected of me, or of being who others want me to be, to that of simply being “Me” has been a gradual process. But the seed has been planted and I am growing like an embryo inside the shell that has formed around me over the years. I do understand that to some extent this shell has protected me – my embryo was not yet ready for birth. But each day I chip away at this shell because I have

grown enough to feel confined by its protection. One day soon, I will break free and I will feel a new energy as the breath of fresh, sweet air fills my lungs.