Is Midlife the "Black Hole" of Life Stages?
I was listening to an astronomer the other day who lamented that the universe had entered a boring middle age. He believed the early history of the universe was like a cosmic 4th of July fireworks display, with galaxies colliding and merging and stars being born.
Today, most of that celestial activity has been a little more dormant, or as he put it, "I wish we had more black holes in our lives."
While I clearly didn't understand most of what he was talking about, the concept of black holes hit home. In fact, I'm willing to bet there are many people who might describe midlife as a "black hole," a mysterious and unknown space where gravity sucks you into what feels like a ridiculously small space (ironically infinite). Of course, I couldn't let this imagery go, so I did what any longevity astronomer would do: I did a Google Search to find a description of how a human might interact with a black hole. Here is what I found:
"If you leaped heroically into a stellar-mass black hole,
your body would be subjected to a process called 'spaghettification' (no, really, it is).
The black hole's gravity force would compress you from top to toe
while stretching you at the same time…thus, spaghetti."
I don't know what you'll do with that information, but I thought you should have it. :) For me, the black hole of midlife could be whatever you make it—a good or a bad thing. On the surface, your black hole could be a complete "spaghettification" of your life, a dark and heavy time where you cease to be who you were and know not yet who you are. However, with a mindset shift, it could also be a beautiful experience. We can let the gravity of midlife pull us in, and it can become a time when we are allowed to discard what no longer serves us so that we can create the life we want out of infinite possibilities.
So, the next time you think you're in a crisis, you might reconsider it as a "Midlife Spaghettification." If the first half of your life was about accumulating, and the second half of your life was about editing, maybe this next stage (our black hole) can be a magical time when we can distill our life down to what is truly essential.
After that, let the cosmic fireworks begin.