“Midlife is not a crisis. Midlife is an unravelling”.
When Brene Brown used those words in her brilliant 2018 blog on the myth of the midlife crisis, they spoke to me in a powerful, personal way. Midlife IS an unravelling. Brene’s words are powerful and true, and there’s no point in me rehashing their truth here – you can read them for yourself:
I was thirty-five years old when I felt my life start to pop open at the seams, gently to nudge against the stitches that had always comfortingly held it together, to leak out in gaps around its outward respectability and to spill and spoil. I became someone I didn’t recognise.
Five years later, in the impossible, nigh-housebound, panicky Covid-19 apocalyptic year of 2020, I turned forty. And I was far enough away from what I had begun to see as “an unravelling” to want to write about it.
Because I now think the unravelling is something that as a woman I will always have to live with, to be conscious of alongside all the other things I have to be conscious of, to be aware of as a hitherto unrecognised lurking undercurrent below any true joy. I know that I can let myself down and that feelings are not always to be trusted.
Words are how I make sense of anything, they’ve always played that role for me, so I’m confident that if I can line them up as accurately as possible, they’ll do it again.