I’m having some time off work. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but it’s an interesting concept, and one that I haven’t quite gotten my head around yet. In my case, ‘time off’ may mean a lot of things – from ‘time out from the rat race because I’m having a nervous breakdown’, or simply ‘time off because I can.’ I’m probably somewhere in between the two. I may have had a nervous breakdown if I’d continued to overwork an overtired nervous system, and I can almost certainly have a couple of months off at least, because the financial burden has been diminished somewhat recently. An enviable position? I guess so, but quite frankly, I’m not a millionaire, I’m just trying to get my priorities right for once.
Back in the old days, when I had nerves of steel, stockpiles of energy, and a big guilt complex about not contributing my share to the household funds – I would work, study and leap tall buildings on command. I would put up with other people’s complexities and hidden agendas, along with my own stereotypically steeped attitude towards the many, and my immediate environment. You can only get by for so long in this type of self-imposed martyrdome, before you have to take a look at what is really going on beneath the surface, which all too frequently, is never what it seems.
I am a consequence of many things. My upbringing and my family values, my environment, my education, my culture and my friendships. I have formed a resilient belief system and a half-decent map of the world that has seen me through all the life experiences that I have had, and will have in the future. Some of it is flexible, some of it isn’t – and I can safely assume that my map and beliefs aren’t an exact replica of anyone else’s. Ironically, and systematically over time, however, I have still tried to fit myself into a groove of society, to be accepted and to enhance my peception of my self worth.
For me, at this point, it has become a valueless exercise in practice to continue on. I am unable to perform to my ‘utmost best’ on demand at any time, without questioning why I would want to do this for somebody else’s benefit. There has to be some instrinsic value for myself, something that is not specifically tangible or intangilble, and not necessarily a monetary gain – but a gain nonetheless – of self and purpose in life.
Life is always one big question mark – where am I going, what am I doing, when will I get there, and how? And the big one…what does it all mean? For me, right now, the ‘meaning of it all’ can take away all the value of any other question I may ask…or add to them tenfold, if I can work out how to live my life in such a way as to derive the most benefit.
A mid-life crisis? Maybe. But I would prefer to think of it as a place that I have come to from everything that has been before. I am a part of all my experiences, and I am grateful for a life that has created the insight to preceed change. For once, I am happy to be just me.