Rise again. I had been at the beach the other day, watching the sunrise, and I thought to myself, it’s so interesting how we can keep ourselves busy all the time. It wasn’t too long ago that a friend of mine had said to me that she used to feel bad I didn’t take enough vacations. And then, she didn’t feel anything. She figured that was my choice and it was my decision to stop it. The thing was, at the time I got a little annoyed at her because I didn’t really need her to tell me that she felt bad or that I needed to take more vacation. Frankly, at the time I couldn’t take a vacation. I couldn’t slow down enough to face my own thoughts. I couldn’t sit in silence long enough to hear the rhetoric that was going on inside of my head. Mostly because the rhetoric was still all jumbled.
It didn’t make any sense. And I didn’t know how to decipher the language, but it also didn’t feel good to try because whatever it was trying to say, I knew that it wasn’t bringing me any peace. And I think if you’ve been there in that spot of trauma, in that spot of loss and grief, in that spot of shame, or just in that spot of struggle in general, I think it’s the same. I think that we can sit here and want to ignore what it is we’re thinking through, and sometimes you need to. Sometimes you need to give yourself that break, but not the break from life that keeps us busy. The break from the mind, the thoughts in our head that keep us crazy.
But I sat there and watched that sunrise. And I thought to myself, it’s been a long time getting here, to this space of being able to slow down, to this space of wanting to slow down, to process the thoughts that were in my head, to this space of understanding the dialect, to the space of learning this language and being able to get it out in a way that I can reflect back on and help me when I get here again in the future. But sometimes we keep ourselves busy because we don’t know what else to do…and we don’t know what that might look like to others if we allow ourselves to slow down. It’s the transformation that’s hard because you don’t know that you’re transforming. At first, it feels like you’re simply breaking down, and nobody wants to break down.
I remember my therapist called it a midlife crisis. Really? Midlife crisis? I remember hearing about midlife crisis my whole life. It sounded terrifying. I thought for sure I would never face a midlife crisis. I didn’t know that I was capable of ever doing so. Midlife crisis sounded like something that happened when you cheat on your partner or you go off the deep end and you just kind of go crazy or you end up in some mental institute or you leave your family or something. But a midlife crisis because you’re trying to figure your stuff out, because you’re asking questions that you never dared ask before, because you’re finally trying to process all of what’s happened so that you can heal? I didn’t understand how that could be a midlife crisis. But when you put it that way, yeah, I suppose I don’t want to lean into it. In fact, I probably want to run really far away, as do, I think, most of us, because what we don’t know is not a crisis and it’s not midlife and you’re not breaking down. You’re transforming.
But when we stop ourselves too soon and we get too afraid of that process and we don’t trust ourselves in it fully, we don’t ever allow it to happen. And so I think people get to a certain point in life and they stop growing because that next level is scary. And because we as society have dubbed it something bad, you’re losing control, you’re out of your mind, you’re going crazy, you’re in a crisis, a crisis that you created for yourself, a crisis that if you just chose to, you can step away from. The problem is you don’t ever step forward. You step back into comfort. You step back into the knowing. You step back into the what has always been, except you realize that you are no longer what has always been, but you don’t yet know who you are becoming until you step forward into the uncertainty, into the unknown, into the transformation.
And to do that, you need to step into the silence away from the noise, away from the critics, and away from even those who deem to be your biggest supporters because they themselves don’t know what it’s like to have been through a transformation…because if they had, they would recognize the signs and they wouldn’t tell you that you’re in the middle of a midlife crisis. They would allow you to welcome it and they would tell you that you’re in the middle of a transformation, that you’re going from success to significance, that it’s this legacy and purpose that we talk about. But you have to go through tough things to get there. You have to go through the struggle to understand the parts of you that were put here to leave a mark. Because there can’t be any purpose of significant impact if you can’t lead people through their deepest internal wars. Because it will never be about what anyone else thinks of your struggle. It will never be about what anyone else thinks of you stepping back, even though it feels like in that moment those fears will kill you. It will always be at the end of the night, the voice inside your head and whether or not you’re allowing yourself to continue on the path that aligns with your soul and whether or not you give yourself permission to lean into it and become the person you were meant to be.
Because once you know, you can’t possibly un-know. Once you step into that knowing place, once you step into that faith, once you have had that conversation, once you have seen that image, you cannot go back to that moment before seeing it, before hearing it, before knowing it, as much as you may want to, as comfortable as that may seem. That place of comfort is simply a place of depression now, because who you are has been elevated and who you need to be to stay in that place of comfort needs to shrink back to who you were before your becoming and there’s nothing more soul-crushing than the idea of just that.
Step forward, brave warrior. You are not here to please society. You are here to please a God who created you so that you can live your eternal life in that purpose and your legacy here.
Don’t let those who refuse to or have not yet been given the message keep you from receiving yours. Always keep your head to the skies and your heart to that small voice of whisper. Drown out the others because even the sun must set in order for it to rise again…and when it does, oh how beautiful it is.