Is This Is A Midlife Crisis?
I wrote the following late one night when I was feeling vulnerable. For the most part, I don’t let the opinions of random strangers bother me. If someone I don’t know says that I’m horrible at something, 99 times out of 100 I’ll shrug it off and won’t give their opinion a second thought.
Unfortunately, the night I wrote the post below, my defenses were weakened from various different changes happening. This let the online comment sneak past. Someone (who knew me from only a single post online) had questioned my skill as a web developer and I let this sow doubt as to my skill and my future.
I’m not feeling this doubt at the moment, but didn’t want to just junk the post. After all, I’ve felt this before and will likely feel this again at some point. Here’s a glimpse into how I felt when the world seemed to be crumbling around me.
When men reach a certain age, they tend to go through a phenomenon known as a midlife crisis. The stereotypical midlife crisis involves a man buying an expensive and highly impractical sports car (usually red) and having an affair with a woman half his age.
Of course, I’m nothing like a stereotypical man. Sports cars strike me as highly impractical and a waste of money. As for affairs, saying I have zero interest in one somehow doesn’t encapsulate how repulsive the idea sounds to me. I’d never do something that would hurt my wife and kids like that.
I’ve always pictured that my midlife crisis would involve some tech purchase. Something that I might not need, but whose cool factor would be too good to pass up. Maybe a drone that takes HD videos or a home automation system.
Recently, though, I’ve been feeling off. Elements in my life seem to be changing and I don’t deal with change well. I said this before in my friendship post, but now I’m wondering if this goes beyond not having any friends. I’m second guessing my career, my place in the web development community, who my online tribe is, everything.
I tend to like anchors in my life. I like to have a plan for meals during the day. It helps me cope with the chaos that the rest of the day presents. If I’m at a party, having one person I know that I can stick near aids me in dealing with the loud noise and dozens of conversations surrounding me that threaten to overwhelm me.
I feel like bits of the world around me are falling away – pieces that I’ve used to define myself. All of this is feeding my self-doubt and Imposter Syndrome. It’s making me question other pieces of myself.
There are times when I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore. I feel like the TechyDad of a few years ago was not only a completely different person, but that I don’t even know who the person I am now IS.
And there you have it. Like I said above, I’m not feeling this way at the moment, but all the seeds of this still remain inside of me. I still feel doubt when evaluating my skills. I still feel like the world is changing rapidly around me and though I’m keeping pace at the moment, I feel like one slip will leave me hopelessly behind. I feel like my anchors – the pieces of my life that I count upon to stay constant in an ever changing world – are less sure than they used to be.
I’m not sure whether this is an oncoming midlife crisis or just my Imposter Syndrome finding new ways to mess with me. Either way, I feel like I have some rough waters ahead to navigate.
NOTE: The image above is based off of Road Sign Border by Arvin61r58 which is available via OpenClipArt.org.