Saturday, May 03, 2008

So THIS is a midlife crisis!

I've tried to sit down several times this week to write a blog entry, but I can't seem to focus. Thoughts keep whirling through my mind. I try to pin one down long enough to get a handle on it,'s gone! I have a lot on my mind right now. Now if you're a reader from my previous 360 blog, you know that I am (1) a worrier and (2) a bit on the morose side. So maybe this is just my typical morose worrying at play. But I'm thinking that this is my midlife crisis.

About 6 weeks ago or so, I fell down in the hallway at home and landed HARD on my knees. Since the surface is vinyl on top of concrete, there was nothing to cushion the fall. Since then I've had a lot of pain in my left knee, not so much when I'm walking, but when it's in one position for a period of time. I can't bear to flex it to sit cross legged on the floor. And that's a problem, since most of my therapy work is done on the floor. Meanwhile, that ongoing problem with mobility that I've had for several years has come back with a vengeance. The muscle cramping in my legs decreased when I stopped taking a medication that I'd been on for years (and I have a lot of anger that no doctor ever made the connection between this medication and many problems I had which were side effects of the medicine, including the muscle cramps, the high blood sugar, high triglycerides, and severe anxiety). But although the cramping has decreased, when I walk or stand for an extended period of time, my legs go numb and there is a tightness in my hips like spasticity. It was so bad when we went to the Main Street festival, that I thought I wasn't going to get back to my car!

Anyway, I don't want to bore you with my medical problems. My point is that I am beginning to get quite worried about how I will manage to keep doing this type of work until I'm 67 or 70. It simply has never hit me so realistically that it might not be possible to perform the physical demands of the job at some point...working on the floor, lifting kids, carrying equipment from house to house, etc. And if at some point I can't do the work, what will I do?

I'm also facing another aspect of the midlife crisis...having to consider that there are some things I've always wanted to do in my life that I might not be able to do. Living abroad, moving to the country, travelling, making a mark on the world...when I finally have the time, will I have the energy? And there are all the other limitations...the necessity of living someplace where Gabriel's and Marcus' needs can be met, the considerations of medical insurance and medical care, staying near my mother to help her as long as she's alive.

And right now I'm part of that sandwich generation...helping my mother and my disabled kids. I feel a lot of stress due to the fact that I want to do more to make Marcus' and Gabriel's lives fuller, and I feel like I'm not doing enough. I probably ought to do more to help my mother, but sometimes I have to admit it's a struggle because of the conflicting emotions I feel. It's difficult to watch a parent grow old and become less and less like a parent, to watch them become more and more self-centered as their world shrinks. I miss having a parent who acknowledges my birthday or cares if I don't feel well.

So I struggle. I know I have to do more than whine about all of this. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that nothing gets done, because I don't know where to start. I think it's time to sit down and make some very methodical plans, to start charting a deliberate course, one step at a time. I feel like I've been drifting too long...


Thom said...

Never underestimate the power of whining… it’s a great release.

When I say “I feel your pain” it is more than a metaphor. Ever since my cardio physical therapy, I have experienced terrible pain in my right shoulder to the point where reaching, lifting, and even sleeping can be difficult. Thanks for the physical therapy guys… David, who has arthritis in his back and knees, now has a job as a bank teller – standing all day. Neither of us is in a position where we can just stop working and we will probably have to work far longer than we ever planned.

Speaking of plans and charting a course… funny things happen on the way to a goal. Don’t be surprised if where you wind up was not on your course. That’s not necessarily a bad thing… as you know, I thought I moved to Maine to open a B&B – where I wound up was divorced, coming out, meeting someone, and moving to Florida (a place I thought that nobody lived there on purpose). That’s the condensed version, but while my life may be less glamorous and less financially stable, it is far richer than ever.

I have found that these times of crises are usually a precursor to a breakthrough. It sounds like you are on the threshold and ready to take that next step…

Galen said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Thom.