A Mountain Range of Me.
What if I have become all that I am meant to be? When this question wormed into my subconscious, I pretended not to notice. I put a little more effort into my omelet. I have countless strategies to stop the tape from looping in my head.
I’m just trying to stay out in front of the question.
Am I having a midlife crisis?
I always thought those were reserved for unfulfilled, uninspired people, who sit themselves down in a moment of reckoning and wonder "what went wrong?" and "what has it all been for?"
But that’s not me. I feel content, accomplished having recently reached one of my big goals, but now what was once enticing is now just "meh."
No one talked to me about what happens after. They talked about setting goals that match my vision and my values, achieving them with grit and courage but not about what to do once you stand on your proverbial peak.
The moment after "ta-da!"
I have a sneaky suspicion that in becoming what I was striving for, I have unwittingly written the climax to my story.
I want different things. I know it is time to leave this mountain.
Ugh, slight heart spasm.
I have a lot staked in the identity and the accolades that have made up this trajectory. Leaving this mountain, seeking something new, means leaving behind proof of my hard-earned progress. It means leaving behind the "me" that everyone knows in a willingness to quest and acquaint myself with an as-of-yet unimagined Tania.
But just as I summon up all my courage, and entertain the possibility of a new peak, I feel the sucker-punch. It’s not leaving my identity that’s scary, it’s leaving my significance.
What if who I become is less glorious than who I was?
What if I am never that vibrant again? That in love…that successful…that sure in my step…that visionary…that free…that upwardly-mobile...that skinny? Certainly going down the other side of the peak into the messy middle of transition feels a whole lot like being "lesser than."
My left eye has a tick.
All I need to do is to put my feet back firmly on the path and boldly ask the question.
Who do I want to be now?
Being glorious is intrinsic to each of us, not a function of our performance.
It is the result of being; an expression not an achievement.
I have many Re-Imagined Selves – each one a delightful expression of who I needed to be in that moment. Different, but equally authentic, equally glorious, equally significant.
And with that I realize that it is the metaphor that is all wrong. It was never about standing at the peak of A mountain. It is about traveling the whole mountain range of me.
Now that vision brings me to life again.
As I descend, I look back; I loved being that woman, she was the best of who I was. But if I look ahead, the best of who I can be NOW still awaits.
These unprecedented times also mean an unprecedented me so I turn my gaze to a vision of what I might create, as this woman in this time, I see new horizons that tempt me. I will trust those past selves and the wisdom that they bring, but I will not hold myself to their calling.
I can see now the point is not to live at the peak of the mountain but rather to be journeying between them.
Given the glory that I have been, who will I dare to be now?
This is not over, this part, perhaps the best part, has just begun.
Tania Carriere, as founder and Artistic Director of Advivum Journeys, integrates psychology, executive coaching, leadership development and theatre in her transformational retreats. www.advivumjourneys.ca