Midlife Crisising Quotes

5 years ago, the quote that finally got both of my feet up and into a therapist’s office was,

How am I complicit in creating the things I say I don’t want?

I can thank Jerry Colonna for it. Pretty sure credit belongs to Pema Chodron, but throw a rock and you’ll hit something similar.

I had to learn to understand the range of responsibility. Put it on a continuum if you like. Either way, with one question, the identity knot I was tied up in started to loosen.

For the first time, I started to realize that if it wasn’t all me, then it wasn’t all not me either. And not in an accusatory-victimized way, but in an “I’m OK if I want to be OK” way. Plus, since the quote is rooted in creating, it invited new ways to do things. I was ready for new things. To be responsible for creating GOOD new things.

Like a relationship with a good therapist, who could help me see it that way. And that’s what I found. That’s how the unstucking began.

A few other favorites from the middle-most parts of that journey:

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

Via The Gospel According to Thomas (yes, I was the obnoxious 90s kid who if you were going to make go to church, was going to be well-researched and in possession of a copy of The Gnostic Gospels. Refinding these quotes has been fun too. Just saying).

You can tuck a lot of your best bits away. You can tell yourself it’s in service to others – or all sorts of other things too. But if you just bottle it up, and bottle it up, and bottle it up, you might not explode, but you will break. It’s never pretty either. Best to call it forth. Pop your own cork. Let it bleed.

Who am I apart from my history and the roles I have played?

From James Hollis and probably Carl Jung (neither of which I would “get” until much more recently). This is another dimension to both prior quotes. It reminds me how the hat you’re wearing isn’t your head. Your job is not your identity, your history doesn’t include every detail let alone every potentiality at each point in time, and you have to take that space. Definition comes from contrast, and if you don’t choose to look for it, you won’t see it.

You’ll note these are questions, not answers. They landed me in therapy because when there aren’t any good answers, you start grasping for anything. Better to be survivalist grasping than surreptitiously gasping.

I had been doing a lot of the former up to that point. It’s one thing to write a quote in your notes. It’s a whole other to think about it, reflect, and choose action.

Choose. It’s always a choice. Always.

I’m sharing this today because, five years post making the call, I’m glad I finally got the help. If you need help, please do the same. Whatever your past or path or story is – life’s too short not to create something beautiful.

One more quote, also from Jung:

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.

Don’t overlook those last 5 words. You will call it that until you choose to call it something else. And if that takes calling a therapist, it’s worth it.

OK – last one, I promise, then I’ll shut up:

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.

That’s Tim Robbins. From a whole book about choice, Still Life With Woodpecker. You can swap childhood out for any other life phase. It’s as Viktor Frankl as it gets. Meaning is emergent.

It’s been 5 years since December 13, 2018, when I wrote some names down and made some calls.

Thanks for reading. Words can’t express what that means. But the act of writing gets us closer.

ps. if you see my past self, let him know there’s a wonderful wife, an adorably stubborn dog, and a bunch of writing his future self is waiting for him to go get after