Turning 30 was no problem. I hit the mental marks I’d set. I was newly married with a sweet blue-eyed toddler boy, a golden dog and ten acres of land to call home. I didn’t mind turning 30 at all.
At 30, I’d been a stay-at-home mom, concerned with entertaining my young child. I made our bread from scratch every week, watching a show on PBS where a monk showed new types of loaves to try. If my son wanted to spend the day driving his yellow dump truck in “his dust factory,” then I was content to sit next to him with a book. My life at 30 had an easy pace with a natural rhythm.
It was turning 35 that was the problem. Fast forward five years from 30 to 35. At 35, I was back to work as an admin assistant. My son was in elementary school, with expensive childcare before and after school.
I shared an office with a woman who listened to a religious radio station all day. She looked directly at me without smiling as the pastor on the radio blared, “I’m going to talk about the sinners going to hell who are around you right now.” I turned away from her white-hot stare back to my computer that only worked 80 percent of the time. Unfortunately I was held responsible for deadlines 100 percent of the time. I had a volatile relationship with the computer that caused me frequent punishment.
Do you know who leaves the best tips at restaurants? People who have been servers themselves. There are some people who feel that the better title you have, the smarter and better you are. They think that people in low-paid jobs should be lucky to get a paycheck, no matter the abuse. I don’t feel that way. I think anyone who works is worthy, whether your title is janitor, admin assistant or director, you deserve respect. If you’ve ever worked as an admin assistant, you might understand how it feels when someone in power disrespects and condescends to you. Add in a boss who takes credit for your work, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for despair.
I’ve kept a daily journal since I was eight. It became too painful to write the details of my days. My sister suggested I make a cartoon of my days.
The cartoons helped. Who can seem wretched in a doodle? But the cartoons were still too sad to send to my longtime pen pal Shoshannah (who keeps a wonderful blog about her life in San Francisco. I encourage you to check it out: Crosswalk Confidential).
I asked myself, “What am I doing with my life?”
I believe in personal growth. With effort, intention, courage, a little luck and the willingness to change, anyone can improve their lives. I felt miserable at 35. Next week, you’ll find out more about how I survived—and thrived due to—my mid-life crisis.
Lord, bless us with hope
when we face situations that test us.
Ease our heavy hearts.
Loosen our tight places of stress.
Comfort our overactive minds.
Remind us of your constant love
when the hours feel impossible
when we feel brought down so low
we can’t get up.
What was a time in your life when you felt less than successful?