A Personal Message…
I’ve never liked the term “mid-life.” Adding “crisis” to it makes it even worse.
As if aging isn’t bad enough, it’s one of those phrases that almost always evokes a negative reaction. It says you’ve reached the half-way point of your life, a time to reflect on the past, evaluate the present, and make decisions about the future.
For most people though, few decisions of significant consequence are ever really made during this time, and life continues on its routine path. Life goes on.
For me, I’ve been struck by the number of conversations I’ve had with friends near my age (44, for you curious types) in recent months about where we are and where we’re going. We wrestle with the reality that our youth is long-since past and our future uncertain. But on the bright side, we’re now in a protected class and AARP is just around the corner. How depressing is that? I digress.
The economy usually dominates these discussions, as nearly all of us have either been laid off, down-sized, not received a raise, or knows someone who has. But in these tenuous times with one out of ten Americans unemployed, most are reluctant to change careers or start a business.
Combined with the reality that we’ll likely need to work another 20 years or so, it would definitely be easier to continue on the same path of dissatisfaction and likely burn-out, than to risk such a major change.
At one point or another, regardless of one’s age, most of us have been faced with having to make decisions in life about our career…whether to remain in a current job, to move on to something new or related, or to try something totally different.
People who find themselves in this dilemma, particularly those of middle-age, are torn between stability and personal commitment to their current job and a desire to make a change in their lives that they believe will provide greater fulfillment and satisfaction.
When faced with periods of similar uncertainty in the past, my resolve has been quick to respond and I’ve been able to transition to the next chapter with relative ease, and I dare say, success.
This time, however, has been different. This is mid-life. There’s been a lot of grey and little black or white that would normally have resulted in quick, confident decisions and decisive action. During this past winter, the streets were filled with snow and my head was filled with questions.
So I started talking about it to my partner, my parents, one or two close friends, and yes, a therapist. While I didn’t realize it then, I now know it was all in an effort to come to terms with the fact that my “mid-life crisis” wasn’t really a crisis at all. Instead, it was simply a time for decision making, a time for change.
In August, I would have completed 12 years in the mortgage industry. It was a rewarding and gratifying career which, upon much hard work and dedication, I’m proud to say afforded Eric and I a comfortable life.
But what few people know here is that prior to moving to Rehoboth in 2006, while operating an independent mortgage brokerage in New Hope, Pennsylvania, I also held real estate licenses in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I did so for five years before making the move but opted not to pursue the same in Delaware, and instead chose to focus all of my work into my mortgage business.
And I was blessed to have worked with my dear friend, and manager, Kimberly Grim, initially with GMAC, and most recently with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. In all honesty, it was a much harder decision to leave her employ than it was to decide what I was going to do next.
I’ve always loved real estate and thrive on direct interaction with customers. I especially enjoy going beyond traditional expectations and providing a level of service that separates me from the pack. Most rewarding though is assisting buyers and sellers in a process known for its inherent level of stress.
Presently, I’m in the process of completing my Delaware licensing requirements and I expect to be working in a local office within the next few weeks. I look forward to what the future holds and continuing to work and live in this special community.
I will also be continuing to write for Letters, as my work with CAMP and the Board of Directors has quickly become one of my most passionate pastimes.
I’d like to leave you with this quote. David Featherman, former President of the Social Science Research Council, dedicated his career to studying behaviors of middle-aged adults. In a classic article from 1993 he wrote, “Wisdom doesn’t happen at the age of six or eighteen. It may take a long time for all of its components to be in place. The timing of its emergence means that in maturity we get a new start—a new way of understanding life that’s more apt to benefit others.”
Somehow, I can relate. And it certainly is affirming.
Perhaps some of you can also relate to my story. If so, I hope there’s a bit of comfort knowing that this process, phase, period, transition, whatever you want to call it, is but only that. It is not permanent and it has an end. More importantly, it means brighter days are ahead.
Chris is a regular contributor to Letters and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.