Julie from our book, "Zombie Housewives of the 1980s"
Some might call it middle-aged crazy, others might refer to it as "hasty decisions that came out-of-the-blue," but simmering inside of us all is another parallel ghost life in which we were spontaneously brave enough to take the harder path to the greater thing.
Some categories that might dog you in the background, even if you don't try to look at them straight on -
For a clue as to what might be needing change, my first suggestion is to consider that place you go to in your mind often.
It may be the past, something unresolved or a time that was magical and empowering. Perhaps you imagine locations you wanted to visit or a climate you'd rather live in. Maybe you daydream about being with someone who holds your hand and can't get enough kissing. Maybe you think to yourself about a dream you had to build a cabin or fish in Wyoming. It could be you just fantasize about beaches and warm sands. Or you might just eye people with slender physiques and want your youthful body back.
Here's some signs that the unfulfilled that haunts you might not be as big an impossibility as you think. You could be more ready than you know...
You have been watching YouTube videos of people living the life you want
It may start as simple as wanting to live "vicariously" by watching someone plant a food forest or renovate a `69 Camaro, but then it becomes another parallel life of what it could have been if you had been brave enough...
Like Walter Mitty, you escape to this world in your mind (a sort of phantom-life syndrome) -
Unhappy a long time in my marriage, I became a hoarder of romance novels. I had so many that I had to keep returning to secondhand store to get rid of some, as I had no room. I checked them out at the library in maximum limit capacity.
I read them every day, imagining a man kissing me and thinking I'm his world. It seemed like there was something inherently about me that didn't inspire that, but apparently some women had that ingredient. I daydreamed about faceless heroes, compliments, kisses...
And, when I reached max capacity of that escape and firmly decided to leave the marriage, I bagged the books up and stacked them near the door for the secondhand truck to pick up.
In fact, it was the giving away of the bodice-ripping romance that keyed my ex to realize I was ready to leave.
In my mind, I wasn't going to escape to them, I was going to live them!
There comes a time in absorbing a culture and lifestyle that you fantasize, you feel good when you're observing it or daydreaming about it, but eventually resentment rises up and you get angry you don't have it and then you're mad at yourself. You go over the excuses you've given for not having what your heart desires.
"I need to live near the kids and grandkids"
"I've never had my own business, always been an employee"
"I don't have the time"
"I don't have the money"
"I'd probably fail at it"
"Others would think I'm insane or selfish"
"I'm too old, (fat, poor, inexperienced, lazy)" Fill in the word
That pivotal moment you get resentful has you realizing you could obtain that place/thing you desire. In fact, you know it's really a battle inside yourself to be brave enough to claim it.
It might mean a move. It might mean ending a relationship. It might mean discipline and very hard work. But, you look at the clock of your life and realize you're at 7:00 or 9:30, maybe 10:45, but there is still time to jump ship and change course!
You are daydreaming about your childhood, maybe playing the music, remembering the excited energy of summer break or first love.
You might be stuck in this cycle of recalling the past fondly, playing the music, feeling that youthful excitement and hope about the future. Perhaps you go on Facebook and look up childhood chums or "the one that got away."
Have you driven by the old homestead? Perhaps you joined a group on Facebook for your high school. Daydreams might be filled with a lost love. Summertime makes you craving otter pops, smell of chlorine, and a crispy tan.
You watch the youth running with energy, dreaming big, the whole life and possibilities ahead of them and you want some of that promising pie.
You simmer with anger and resentment about your life.
You had a taste of the dream and now you want the whole enchilada!
Perhaps you bought a motorcycle, got a new drastic hairstyle, traveled somewhere new, or started a conversation with someone from your past. The hope was to "shake things up," but it started a cascading effect in your mind and soul that you don't want to be a poser, you want to be the whole experience!
These sorts of "testing the waters" moments can feel so good and so right, as if you refound yourself, your TRUE self. This is the zone most people refer to as "middle-aged crazies."
It's not about reliving the past, it's really about living what you never dared to dream for your life. You begin to realize the clock is counting down and you better attain those things you wanted while you can enjoy them still.
NOTE: Although I offer personal dialogue on an intuitive level and as someone who is experienced and expert at recovering from panic disorder in my 20s, I am not a licensed counselor.
What I've discussed in this post are universal signs and symptoms of an internal battle.
If these issues are dogging you, it might be time to get an objective opinion of what is going on, whether you take the psychic/intuitive path, a person in your life you trust, or a psychotherapist, or minister.
SOME MOVIES TO INSPIRE THIS TRANSITION
A 14-year-old Dutch girls fights the courts to be able to sail around the world alone. She wins. And those two years have her facing her mind and the elements to victory.
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"
A timid man in a routine and safe life daydreams about being something courageous and experienced, worldly and strong. When his life situation pushes him out of his comfort zone he must quite daydreaming and live it.
"Under the Tuscan Sun"
When a writer finds out her husband is cheating and divorce ensues, an escape trip to Tuscany has her impulsively deciding to buy a villa and stay. With renovations in a strange country and utter physical and emotional exhaustion, she somehow builds the dream she always wanted.
"Field of Dreams"
A farmer driven by a voice in his head decides to build a professional baseball field in his cornfield with the belief that dreams can come true.
"Eat, Pray, Love"
Following a divorce, a woman struggles with what she wants, who she is, so she goes on a long trek to find herself.
An unhappy British wife defies her husband and goes with a gal pal to Greece on vacation. Then, she decides that's the life she wanted all along and so she stays.
A harried businessman who wants to be a writer finds out he inherited his uncle's sailboat. He takes the family on a trek to sail it with a bumbling captain back to Florida from the Caribbean. But, the journey has the whole family changing their plans to go back to civilization.
"The Other Woman"
A meek and mousy housewife finds out her husband is cheating on her and also cheating in his business. She joins up with the mistress and they join the next mistress on a trek to get revenge, only to find what they were all looking for.
Following her mother's death and a traumatic childhood, a young woman falls into drug use and dazed living to numb it it up. When things hit rock bottom, she decides to do something extreme to bring her back to the girl her mom thought she could be. She treks a long lonely hiking path from Southern California to the Cascades of Washington. On the way, she works out her demons.
Indiana Jones Fedora