How did I get here?
How old am I? Holy cow, how did that happen?
This is it. This is my life and it's flying by! Many of my choices have already been made. I don't have all those options any more. But this isn't what I wanted!!!
Whether this moment first hits us in our 30s, 40s, 50s or older, it can bring on anything from a mild sense of sadness to an overwhelming wave of panic. We see the reality of our time being finite, and our life being off track somehow, or maybe not quite measuring up to what we wanted. It can be the seed of a midlife crisis (or worse), or a sense of melancholy that always seems to follow us, robbing even happy times of some joy.
Maybe we've never found our mojo, our purpose, the thing we were 'meant' to be doing. So it feels like we've wasted a chunk of our lives. It's time we don't get back. We can feel listless, sad, alone.
Perhaps we've spent a long time pleasing others, forgetting to include our selves in the list of people who deserve care, attention and help. So now we feel angry at them, seeing it as their fault that we are here rather than where we wanted to be.
Or maybe our first protectors pinned our worthiness on living the way they wanted us to - having a certain career, a certain type of partner, a certain level of achievement, having children, or a particular sexual orientation. Or maybe there was nothing we could do at all to gain their approval, no matter what choices we made. And now we're not sure that our choices were right.
These moments are in fact priceless gifts. They offer us the opportunity to step out of the current that's sweeping us along, and start the second chapter of our lives. The one where we correct course. That might involve changing our circumstances, or it might not. It will definitely involve changing the way we experience them. It's the chapter where we learn to stop torturing ourselves with anger or sadness, accept our story to date with understanding and equanimity, and write the next bit to be rich and fulfilling.
One caveat: there is no pre-set story line. There are some essential features and design principles, but the author is you.