21 September 2009

mid-life crisis... the no picture post~



I think that I have just experienced the first signs of a mid-life crisis... It began subtly, with a simple thought - something along the lines of "#4 is getting older, now what do I want to do with my life?". Sort of a "what do I want to be when I grow up" question. Except that I am already grown up. And then it hit me - where did the time go? How did I get to be "this age" without becoming *something*??? It was at that point that my brain started shooting out random thoughts from out of nowhere...

~so-and-so has a successful photography business and she is exactly the same age as I am (two months younger to be exact - yes, you know who you are!)

~so-and-so has such an incredible sense of style - she seems to really *know* who she is. What I wouldn't give for that. (I feel like I am forever evolving and never really becoming)

~so-and-so really knows how to (insert skill here) - I know I could do that, if I had a moment of free time to try and learn it...

~how did I suddenly enter the second half of my life - the trip down the back of the mountain???

Now don't get me wrong, I also realized that this half will be the half where I have already learned so much, and don't have to make those same mistakes of my youth. Thankfully I am learning more about who I am, what I want, who I want to be. I simply feel like I should already be who I want to be by this age.

Time to run out and buy a sports car? Have an affair with a 20 year old secretary? No, I think not...


But I do think that I need to take the time to really stop and focus on this. If I want to rid myself of these feelings of anxiousness I need to feel proactive. Thus, I really need to start narrowing down on the things that I love, the things that I am good at, and the direction that I want my life to go from here on out. No more wanting to do everything a little and nothing whole heartedly. (I think that was indeed one of my new years resolutions but clearly I haven't followed through as I am still wanting to try every. single. thing I see...)


I am in the midst of attempting to narrow down my style, to define who I am, as a woman, as a photographer, as a mom, as a wife, as a friend. There are so many things to consider...


I find that our home is one place where I really want to find some focus. What is my design style? How do I want my home to look? To feel? What do I want it to say about me, about our family? What do I want my family to feel when we are at home? Do I want to feel inspired? Relaxed? Nurtured? Comforted? What do I want our guests to feel when they walk through the door?


When it comes to my photography, I am trying to work on a web site. With that comes so very many decisions! What do I want in a logo? What font says *me*? What colors make it feel timeless and classic? What images will give people a sense of who I am?


Then there is the photography itself. I was talking to a friend recently who does portraits. It is something she is really good at and thus, it is also her business. I don't know what I want to do - which for me boils down to a big lack of confidence that I can really do anything really well. Don't get me wrong - I like my photos. However, I would like to eventually do something that would actually provide some income, and taking photos of things I find pretty is probably not going to be all that lucrative. So where to go from here...


And then there is cooking - something that I adore doing. I could spend all day looking through cook books. I look forward to taking cooking classes this autumn. I love my kitchen - it is my very favorite room in the house! I have such fun coming up with new recipes. But alas, I also know I don't necessarily want to cook for others. So what to do, what to do...


I feel quite confident that I am not alone in these thoughts. I also know, from experience, that the best people to ask for advice from is you - friends who have either been there, are there now, or are simply full of wisdom. I admire so many of you for your sense of style and grace, your eye for beauty, your sense of humor, your love of life. I am open to your thoughts, wise words, and advice.


Please know that I am not in a state of depression over this. I have a fabulous sense of humor about it, I am very clear that I have an incredible life with the best family a girl could ask for. I simply think that, with my children growing, there is a sense of wanting something of my own, something that I can say I did, or that I do, and the issue seems to be narrowing down what that might be...

Happy Tuesday my friends~
xx

27 comments:

Christine--RHP said...

I too, experience the same things that you're talking about--I'm 41. I struggle with all the things I had thought I would have accomplished by this point in my life and career, how goals that were once so important have slipped away, and I wonder where I'd be had I followed thru with those goals. And I have more than a few regrets about choices I've made....
I think often women bloom later into their full solid reality of their core being--I see so many women coming into their own after 50 and I have to wonder if there isn't something inherently 'right' about that. We spend our younger years following pursuits which end up teaching us 'who' we truly are at the core, (not so much how we'd like to appear on the surface) and when we reach midlife we take that solid self knowledge and do something authentic with it....be it in community, career, family, creative pursuits etc.
I don't know, just a few of my thoughts on a very thoughtful post.

Jackie said...

Amen! I could have written the exact same post! I know how lucky I am to have my family, my home, the choice to be a stay at home mom and all that, but what's my purpose? What do I want to be and to do? I lack the confidence to feel like I do anything well enough to make a living at it, I care entirely too much about what other people think, but I'm working on it, like you and I'm hoping that the future holds some really incredible opportunities and ideas and plans!! Thanks for so eloquently putting this into words!!

Amy said...

As I read your post, I was struck by your thoughtful words. I have moments just like you where I wonder the same things. I like that you are taking time to think about yourself...looking inward can give you the best answers. But, all in time, they will be revealed!

blondiensc said...

Oh Kimberly...as I read your post, here is what i was thinking...but kimberly you are a great photographer, and your sense of style is amazing...and well I would love your kitchen too if it was mine and I would love to know how to cook as well as you....I think as we get older we realize what we are good at...and stop trying to do the things we are not good at. I decided a few years ago to persue what made me happy. What I really wanted to learn about...and I decided to not compare myself, and to not try to do the things I am just not good at...I realized in the end, I wasn't worrying so much about not being good at this or that...but the things I really put my energy into was fulfilling enough..I hope that makes sense. I think you just need to go for the photography business...whole heartedly...perhaps it is not portraits that you feel compelled to take, perhaps it is more of a back up photographer who takes the shots the lead photographer didn't see...the small details which you are sooo good at...
Sorry, rambling...just know you are not alone, yet so talented and loved!

Gigi said...

I love this post. I turn 42 in a couple of weeks, and I ask so many of the same questions. Friends always tell me how wonderful my life seems, and I know I have many, many blessings and that I have a rich personal and community life, but I still sometimes feel like I haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I used to be a professional chef, and it was really, really hard on my body, plus, it didn't leave me time for my other passion: writing. So, I went to grad school and got a degree in writing. I've been writing, publishing, and teaching writing for many years now, and I love that, but I still have other dreams. I guess I could best describe the place where I'm at right now as "restless".

I was giving a talk recently during which I described myself as middle aged. People in the audience laughed and insisted that I'm not middle aged. Well, maybe I don't feel it or even look it (most days), but the numbers don't lie. I want the second half of my life to be on my own terms. Wish I knew exactly what they were!!!

Thanks for this thoughtful post! xoxo Gigi

Philigry said...

you have accompolished so much. you have raised four beautiful children, you love your domestic life, and you are a great artist and crafter. I think that is a whole lot of something.
i too do a little of a lot. i am interested in so many things and i want to do it all. i think that is okay. some of us just operate that way.
i think the new website sounds great! you have many true talents.

Maisy said...

it's funny....when i was reading this post i was thinking that i could totally use your words and insert your name. you are such an incredible woman. with that being said...since you are a woman you will never want to stop striving to be a better you...that's just how us women are wired.
i love this post. i adore the honesty. it is oh so refreshing.
keep searching girl. remember...it only gets better!
xoxo

Rebecca said...

Isn't it amazing that we are spread throughout this land, feeling the same things and thinking the same thoughts...I try and navigate through the same emotions and struggle with confidence in choices...I have choosen to stay at home with my children and raise them as best as I know how...I believe this to be the most important work and contribution of my life...however, I cannot help but wonder what else is out there that I could focus energy on...for now, I strive to run a household full of love and creativity and confident children who will be ready for the world we are leaving them.

have a wonderul day.
rebecca

mimi charmante said...

What an incredibly wise group of women you are! Your words lift me and give me such a sense of confidence that we can all be who we dream of if we so choose~
Thank you ladies - it means more than you know that you share your wisdom with me!
xx

Jenn@Spejory said...

Comparison is poison.

That said, I fully understand how you feel. I will be 40 in 7 weeks. You are so unique--I haven't been reading your blog terribly long but you are so talented! I hope you are able to channel those feelings of restlessness into something that makes your heart sing. I fully believe that a woman's creative potential and confidence begin to soar when she passes a certain time of life. We finally lose our insecurities and become comfortable in our own skin. Limitless horizons are before you, my friend, and I look forward to seeing what you discover.

A.Love said...

I'm 27 and I think everything you just said every day.
I, however, am struggling with the sense of humor part. I'm actually in a very deep battle over it all right now--but I'm fighting.
Amazing how other people can see in us what we don't right? Like, I look at your gifts that you share with cooking and your photography and your etsy and I only WISH I could be as bold as you, as talented as you, as proficient as you. I want what you do!
I loved your post.
I thank you for exposing your heart. I admire that!

Jacqueline said...

I think that I am loads older than any of you. What's right for one isn't neccessary right for another. I was a stay at home Mum. I was lucky that I didn't need to go out to work.I loved being home with my children and I feel that I fulfilled the job of being a mother. Then, we get to the point that you are at now, when your children are no longer dependent on you and in a few years will all be off hand. Personally, I didn't need to be fulfilled, career wise but others do. I have filled my days with decorating, cooking, meeting friends and helping others. That is enough for me. But for you, it could be a different story. I'm not right or wrong. You're not right or wrong. You just need to work out exactly, what will fulfill your dreams and future? You have been a great mother, terific wife. You grow your own vegetables and cook beautiful meals. Mission accomplished in those areas. Then, it will be your time and only you will know what will fulfill your dreams. But, you will know when the time comes and I think that it will all evolve for you. Good luck on your forward journey. Well, I think that is the longest comment that I have ever written !!!! XXXX

Drawn to The Sea said...

Dear Miss Mimi,

I think it's important to be proud of your wonderful accomplishments, especially your family & home.

I think you have all the answers, it's just a matter of trusting in yourself & listening to your heart.

I think you'll find inspiration at every turn, to help you refine your path.

And I predict you'll enjoy the journey immensely.

Wonderful day,
~Julia

Mammogram Mommy said...

It's funny you should be writing about this now. I'm contemplating going back to school next year (Interior Design). My plan is to take the courses I really wanted to take when I first went to college, but thought frivilous at the time. I am not sure where it will take me, if I'll complete my goal or even if it will lead me to a career. I'm doing it because I love it and, thankfully, I'm in a position to do it slowly. Your youngest is 9 years younger than my mine, I have one child nearly out of the house, I'm 4 years older than you and I don't consider myself to be at mid-life yet. There's plenty left to do and see. I'm confident the fog will clear and you'll see the path you truly wish to take. Whatever it is I have no doubt you will be successful. It's been my experience that when someone really wants something, they will go after it. For now, recognize that you are still young, healthy and vibrant. You can do anything. That's what we tell our kids. xoxo

cottagesweet said...

You'll be surprised what you can discover on the way down the back of the mountain. I started my journey there not so long ago and found life to be quite interesting.

Wendy @ The Shabby Nest said...

Been reading your blog for quite a while, but don't know if I've ever commented before. But I had to comment when I read this post!
I'll be honest with you. I am in the midst of the exact same situation. But, I've been here for a couple of years and I still am not sure what direction everything will really go. I am getting close. I know where my passion is...my problem is where do I go from here? How do I make it happen? I'm more than half-way through my 30's and I guess I thought I'd be more settled. Have everything pinned down before I hit 40. So although I have no wisdom to offer...I just want you to know that I share your desire to define who I am.

And, just for the record, I think you are insanely talented. And if you want to pursue it all...then you should!

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

So, maybe I'm a young'un here. (33?) And maybe I still have just too many little-people-hanging-on-me years ahead of me, but I'm of the frame of mind that the secret to happiness is contentedness. I think that just accepting where our life has taken us - and viewing all of it as an immense blessing - is the root of finding joy on a (nearly) daily basis. When we have that nugget of joy and contentment in our hearts, we are able to see and appreciate the beauty that is around us, every single day. And when we see all of that beauty, it inspires us. And when we are inspired, well, we do something about it, whether it's cooking up a pot of stew, pulling out the sewing machine, lugging the tripod outside or whatever the case may be. We also tend to the needs of others - because we want to.

I don't think I'll ever really feel like I've "arrived". I think I'll always be a little impressed with myself for where I am, and a tinge wistful about where I might have been. But I'm really hoping that I'll be wearing a strand of joy and contentment around my neck. Some days you'll see loads of it, under my v-neck tee; and other days it might be hiding under a turtle neck. But always, it will be there.

I loved reading your thoughts and pondering them myself. Thank you for sharing with us.

Lori said...

What an honest, soul baring post Kim. You know that I adore you and think that you are a super woman for all that you do and what you accomplish on a daily basis. I can understand where you are coming from ~ I had my career first and then waited too long for my happily ever after. Now that I know that children will ever be in our future, I think that I should do something else ~ but I have no idea what. I think if you look into your heart, you will find what you are looking for. You are a true artist ~ I would buy one of your pretty things!

Hugs & Love. xo

LuLu said...

I turned 40 just a couple of weeks ago and have spent the last couple of months thinking of where I want to go from here. my youngest is 4 so i, too, am able to be a bit more flexible. I've loved being a stay home home and so happy i can continue being one, but now I'm letting my passions drive me more.... setting aside for me time... and i have no idea where it will take me... for me i like it to unfold as I go.
It's so nice to know we are not alone and i too loved reading the comments the other wise gals left... we can all learn from each other.
xo,
LuLu

MODERN Prairie Girl said...

Hello, my sweet two-month younger new pal...OKAY...BREATHE DEEPLY and take some compliments for one moment.
The talents you possess are unbelievably abundant. After stumbling upon your incredibly fabulous little frenchie blogland here, I have soaked every bit of your white-washed neutral-design beauty in to my own head. Your blog is such a great reflection of how graceful and warm you are in person (with that little bit of red spark that ignites the artist). You have so many creative endeavors going, but you manage a busy family like a pro and you are still coming up with ideas for your artistic future. The photography thing will come...rest in the FUN of it for now (counting your lucky stars that you're not being peed on by a client...teehee..just today in fact!). Know when to delegate---the website should be taken on by someone b/c although you are SuperWoman, web design just may put you over the edge :) Keep making beautiful things and making connections with women who are inspiring and are inspired by YOU. It will all come together and you will wonder why you even worried about it. Mimi/Kim (just like Madonna)
big hugs!
Lara

Jen R. said...

Great post!!!!At 37 I am feeling every inch of my age and hating it. I am in the same state of where do i go from here..Where is my life going and what am I doing? . I think Botox may be the next answer...

Cathi said...

I think I am one of the older women here, just turned 52 and I have to tell you all, I am loving the age I am. I have never felt more confident in myself and the choices I make and I have FINALLY discovered what my passion is...it took this long, but I have found it...I started a non profit organization that benefits senior citizens in assisted living homes...it's a small organization right now, but I did it and am really proud of myself for doing so....a little background about me - the only thing I wanted to be was a stay at home mom, however that was not in the card for me and I always have worked and I enjoy working - but I always had jobs not a career as I told my bosses that my kids were my career...but now my kids are older, one is married, one just started college and although I am still mom - it truly is my time to blossom and it's a wonderful feeling. As a woman getting older, I can't stress enough to live each moment with joy, as life is just so short and flies by. Also, keep your body and mind in good shape and eat well...I wish that I had the wisdom I have now, when I was younger, but this is what the journey is all about - learning...you sound like a wonderful person and I know you will make all the right decisions for yourself! Give yourself a hug and know everything will turn out wonderful for you!

Leen said...

I can SO relate to many of your feelings here.

You are more fabulous & truly inspiring to others than you know :)

Jill said...

I am right there with you sister!

Amber Rose said...

WOW! Look at the length of all the comments!! It is a subject MANY can relate with!! I have mid-life crisis' all the time..like at least 6 a year and you think I'm joking..I'm not, just ask my poor dear husband, he's the one who has to pay the price:) Remember Julia Child did not start cooking until she was 40ish..keep dreaming lady, your time will come:)

shabbyscraps said...

Ok, as I read you post and all these comments here, I am implored to tell you all that YOU define life and success, IT doesn't define YOU. As you have heard before I am sure, success is measured in many different ways. Just make sure you are doing what makes you happy, and not what you think people expect you to do, or need to be in order to feel successful. Miss Kim, I have gotten the pleasure of talking to you over the past months, and although I do not pretend to know you intimately, I think you are very successful in so many ways, and I am in awe at your talents in so many avenues. I just want you to know that there are a lot of people out there that see you as truly successful!!!
However, if you still have some burning desires unfulfilled, then I say GO FOR IT!! Seize the day, and make your heart happy.
xoxo, Tiffany
xoxo, Tiffany

youcanhaveitall.wordpress.com said...

I was thrilled to find your blog. I am 41 and my passion and purpose in life is to help women move through their mid life crisis's quickly and smoothly. Your blog post so eloquently expressed what women go through. I also enjoyed all the comments. You are not alone I hear a similar story almost daily. We don't respond like men to a mid life crisis's, we don't buy cars or trade in our husbands. We start new businesses, we volunteer, we start non-profits, we explore who we are and what we want to become. It is a stressful and very beautiful time for women because we find that we are powerful and we can create our lives.
Thanks for the great blog entry,

Greta