Friday, July 10, 2009

Charlie says...

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In the last post, my blogging pal, Charlie, left a comment saying, “...I'm thinking that your mid-life crisis is just about over.

Now there was a comment that got me thinking.

Mid-life crisis over? Surely not? I’ve been in some kind of existential crisis virtually my entire life; I just happen to be at the right age for it to be called mid-life. The only way it was going to pass was when it became an old-age crisis.

And yet… and yet…

There’s no doubt I’m feeling considerably better about myself these days. Of course the CFS is still a pain in the butt and shit still happens, but it’s just a part of life, rather than the defining part of life.

What caused the shift from posts like this or this, was never going to be one thing, but a combination.

To begin with, there’s no doubt sunshine helps: I’ve waited 3 years for summer and damn, it’s good.

The anti-depressants have helped somewhat too. The sudden and horrific mood drops I was getting a couple of years back were more crippling than the CFS. I’m now weaned down to only 1/3 of what I was on, but these were never a cure, only a way of giving me enough space to find ways to survive.

One of the major strands has been the sudden understanding, and gradual acceptance of a way of viewing the world that makes sense of it, as briefly mentioned here, here and here. In essence, the world we experience depends on the way we are filtering it: change our filter and we change our experience. First of all, however, we have to realise we are always filtering the world and never see it “as it is”, and secondly, virtually all our filters are created either knowingly or unknowingly by other people – but we don’t realise.

Understanding this has allowed me to begin to create my own filter. It’s not an overnight thing and requires constant building and maintenance, but the result is I am freer to truly become the person I want to be.

A combination of this kind of thinking with having little enough energy just to live my life, means I’ve managed to let go of the messiah complex that’s been there since childhood. Part of me always felt I was supposed to be out there saving mankind, while not having a clue where to begin, but just felt really guilty and bad for not doing it. The weight of responsibility of the world was on my shoulders. Now I am able to accept it’s not actually up to me. Barack Obama is here instead (and boy, do I feel sorry for the poor bastard).

The final strand, which has been drawn from all these others, is setting up in business as a photographer.

By building it around the patterns of my Fatigue, allowing myself to be creative (both with the camera and the computer) and indulging my love of interacting with people, I have managed to retake control of my life and shape it in a direction I can really enjoy.

Previous businesses I’ve built have primarily been about making money in order to enjoy life. Of course if you’re not making money, you can’t then enjoy anything. And if you are making money, you don’t know how long it’s going to last so you still don’t enjoy anything.

This way, however, they enjoyment is in what I do and any money is a side effect.

So is Charlie right? Is my mid-life crisis just about over?

Maybe it is.

At least until the sun stops shining anyway...
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22 comments:

Jimmy Bastard said...

" In essence..."

Probably the wisest and most articulate explanation I have read this year.

I defy anyone to argue your wisdom on this subject.

PI said...

Whether it is or whether it isn't I'm proud of you.xox

savannah said...

you've got it, sugar. the pages you read are the ones you write yourself, so, it's your movie, darlin! xoxoxo

hope said...

Never under estimate the power of making other people happy...that's a gift that doesn't come with a salary but it does make you feel good.

And I LOVE the photos!

starrlife said...

How wonderful to read... It is quite an achievement! Transformational process- you are becoming the master! I bow....

mapstew said...

Isn't it just great to get paid for doing something you love to do anyway?!

I've been lucky like that for a while now.

Here's to you. (Raises glass in air.)

Kim Ayres said...

Jimmy - anyone can argue my wisdom, indeed I love a good debate about the meaning of life :)

Pat - aw, thanks Pat ((hugs))

Savannah - we can only write them once we realise we can. Most of the time we live the lives others write for us and never realise it can be different

Hope - I've come to learn that making people happy isn't about solving their problems, it's about validating who they are. And I'm glad you like the photos :)

Starrlife - I'm no master, just lucky enough to stumble across a system that works for me.

Mapstew - I once read a great statement by Steve Biddulph which said, find out what it is you love doing, then become good enough at doing it so you can make money. Then you'll always be happy, and might even be happpy and rich. Cheers!

Eryl Shields said...

I'm pondering and will come back later, X

Mary Witzl said...

I hope your midlife crisis is over, Kim -- I'm rooting for you. I've suffered from that messiah complex myself for a good long time. Let's send Obama some of the positive energy we have left over, shall we? He needs it badly.

Doing what you love doing and getting paid for it is surely one of the most satisfying things in the world. Hope you get to do a lot more of it!

Eryl Shields said...

You are the second person this week who has shown me how finding something to do that you are good at and love doing, and are in a position to do regularly, can be transformative.

Perhaps a mid-life crisis is just reaching a stage where you feel time to find that something is running out, or has, maybe, even run out. If so, then it sounds like yours is indeed over.

Kanani said...

Oh, I think there's always some kind of thing to get through, whether it's "midlife" crisis or not. And sometimes it's needed so that we make and accept changes.

I'm glad you've adjusted your filter, and I'm happy you're starting your way doing something you really enjoy (and show natural talent in).

hope said...

When you get a chance please stop by my blog and pick up your well deserved award. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Eryl - I think that sense of time running out is, or can be, a major component. So the older we get, the more we realise we don't have time to just wait for things to happen. If there are things we really want to do, we have to do something about it

Mary - now you're back for the summer, I'll have to find my way over and take some more photos of you and the family :)

Kanani - its true there is always shit to deal with. What creates the crisis is our ability, or not, to be able to deal with it. And when we struggle to make sense of our lives, our ability to cope with things is drastically reduced.

Hope - I'll be over soon to take a look :)

hope said...

Give the man a cigar for the correct "what do we share" answer. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Well it was either that or you were also the only one in your family who didn't squeeze the toothpaste in the middle :)

hope said...

Oh good grief...me too! :)

Have a good weekend!

Gil said...

As a new student acupuncturist and a new "Blogger" blogger who has discovered your site, I am truly appreciative of and interested in your attitude. I have had some of the experiences you have, including being on three very strong antidepressants/antianxiety drugs at once, and it has been a relief to understand the symptoms those were meant to treat could also be seen as signposts to a richer life experience. It seems you are also of that attitude. This excites me.

Kim Ayres said...

Gil - thank you for taking the time to visit and comment - I wish you every success on your journey :)

Jennifer said...

I have never tried this before, I'm not certain if you welcome comment on older posts...forgive my infancy, but your freedom from $ & the messiah syndrome resonated within me. I have struggled with both of these things and they have crippled me in the past. In truth there is so much to glean from here that I cannot articulate it. I just want to say a SINCERE Thank-you.

Kim Ayres said...

Jennifer - yes you can comment on past posts, and yes I do receive them. And I sometimes respond to them too :)

If anything I say resonates with you, then I'm pleased.

Mimi and Tilly said...

Hi Kim, have been having a peruse through your blog. I'm avoiding tidying my "being creative" space (things got away from me a little bit)... This post resonated with me. I have M.E./C.F.S., am no longer gainfully employed as a teacher/lecturer due to the illness. I am now "working" hard between the imposed "narcolepsy/insomnia" merry-go-round to change my life into the life I dream about! I'm definately getting there, but sometimes the road feels long... I started my blog as a means to commit to exploring being creative, as I have a deep sense that that's the direction for me to be headed in. Your thoughts about the filters we see the world through struck a chord. I know it will probably be fairly controversial to say this, but having M.E. has given me the opportunity to look at the filters I use, and to start to change myself into the person I am rather than the person I was told I was. Sending smiles, and glad you shared your thoughts on this.

Kim Ayres said...

Mimi & Tilly - for the most part we continue on whatever road we are on until something forces us to change direction. If there is no pressing reason to change, most of us won't. ME/CFS is a force strong enough to stop us carrying on in the direction we were, and so we have to start seriously reflecting where we can go from here. I hope you find a direction that is meaningful to you :)