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On feeling itchy

Mosquito BiteOn Friday night, I went to a neighbour’s vernissage. (I like using this word “vernissage” because it makes me seem all cultured-up, doesn’t it? Okay maybe not. But I still like it! I used it with my brother on the weekend, but he didn’t seem half as impressed as I was. “Verni-what? What word are you using?”)

Um. Where was I? Ah yes, I was at a vernissage. Which is the opening of an art exhibit and it’s the fun part because the artist is there and you get to drink champagne and munch on yummy tidbits and stare at beautiful things on the walls. So, I’m standing there in a beautiful home, sipping bubbly and life is grand — except that I am itchy. Every single mosquito that has managed to make it indoors is giddily swarming around me. I’m not joking. People were actaully commenting on it. And it’s not that I actually mind the swarming part, it’s the itch of course.

This situation seemed to sum up how I’ve been feeling lately. Everything is so good — family, home, work. But, for some reason, I feel itchy. And when I look around, no one else around seems to be itching. Just me.

In trying to describe this in conversations to friends, I have wondered out loud if this is what a “mid-life crisis” feels like. But no one answers my question because they get so distracted by the term “mid-life” and feel this insane urge to convince me that I have not, in fact, hit the middle of my life. Which I think is really silly. Because, really? How old does the average person live? I think it is so delusional when people insist that “mid-life” is 50. I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan to live to 100.

In case this notion of “mid-life” disturbs you as well, I’ll use the term “itchy” instead.

I seem to have an itch I can’t scratch. And why can’t I scratch it? Because I just don’t know what it is! Where it’s coming from, or why.

Here are ways that I have been trying to locate the itch:

  • I have been scouring the real esate market. Perhaps I need to live closer to “the action” — closer to the city centre.
  • I’ve considered giving up the home office life and working for someone else (other than my clients!). Maybe I need back into the daily action of office life?
  • I’ve bought myself an entirely new spring wardrobe thinking that I just needed “a little lift.” At least the salespeople’s commission cheques won’t be itchy!
  • I’ve even bought myself a new MAC lipstick.

And still?


So, what IS this feeling … spring fever? Mid-life crisis? Or is it a real, concrete need for change?

Tell me, do you ever feel like this? What do you do to scratch an itch? Should I just leave good enough alone or jump headfirst into a life change?

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  1. Ha! I thought this post was leading towards a discussion of lice.

    I think it has to do with the weather. I get itchy too, but tend to take on smaller projects closer to home. I’m in the middle of a biggie right now (the Know More Do More stuff) as well as a photo-a-day. They’re not exactly a *move,* or a new wardrobe (although I need one of those too) but they keep my busy and happy.

    There’s also a little trip to NYC coming up in the summer. Something to set my sights on definitely helps. :)

  2. I hear you on this. But this happens to me about once a year. Here’s what I’m doing to control the itch, though I wouldn’t take this as advice as I am far from an expert in controlling long-term itch:

    1) I quit my job and bought a book of 1500 baking recipes… and plan to try them out.
    2) I’m planning a party.
    3) I’m trying to plan a few mini family getaways for the summer.
    4) I’m trying to get involved in some new volunteer work.
    5) And of course this new stay-at-home thing will require a new wardrobe… all on a one income family budget.

  3. I think it’s pretty common, Julie. I feel it too, and I always wonder if it’s a mid-life thing. I have a tendency to “lose myself” a bit being so busy and raising three small kids – it makes me feel the need for change in a big way. Until I realize that I am happy exactly the way things are right now.

    A new wardrobe??? You go girl!! That should set your itch straight in no time :)

  4. I have been feeling the same way for a while now and I don’t know how to get out of it. I have already changed jobs, started a blog, decided to run a half-marathon, joined a book club etc, but I still feel the same way.

    I do tend to think it’s a mid-life thing for me. I think these years of two parents working, bringing up kids, carrying mortgages and car payments, and having most spare moments filled with chores and tasks take a toll. For me I think I just need to ride out a couple of more years, and maybe I will feel more myself again.

    I hope you figure it out better than I have.

  5. I’m seriously itchy as well, but I’m pretty sure I know where it’s coming from – a variety of sources actually. And I know the only way out of it is a BIG project of some sort. I need a big project. Anyone??

  6. Thanks for all your comments! Although I am still itchy, for some reason it does feel somewhat soothing to know I am not the only one who gets this way :)

  7. You are not alone. I get that itchy feeling too, sometimes it means I need to purge and clean the house, sometimes I need a vacation and sometimes I just don’t know what I need. But, I get through it and carry on. It happens though when you figure it out the itch will be gone.

  8. I know this is a loaded question, but I’m throwing it out there. Does your ‘itchiness’ have anything to do with your level of happiness? I’m only asking because whenever I’ve felt that itch, it’s been because something wasn’t quite right in my life…most of the time it was work or relationship related.

  9. I don’t know about “itchy” per se, but I have noticed over the last four years that I get to feeling kind of funky in May. Call it out of sorts, or the blues, or maybe even a little depressed? I dunno, but for all the beauty in the world in May, something about the season throws me off kilter. Weird, eh? So maybe it’s not a time of life thing but a time of year thing? What makes me most crazy is the feeling of something bugging me, something not right, the need for a way to make myself feel better — and no idea what that elusive “something” might be.

  10. Wow Finola, you typed the words right off my keyboard!

    Feeling exactly the same way and going through the same thing…..I keep telling myself these are the golden years, enjoy the kids, enjoy the chaos, but instead I try to scratch the itch….changing houses, changing careers (trying to find out what I was meant to do and make it happen – at 39!!), taking correspondence courses while on mat leave, trying at all costs to avoid the return to the cubicle in a few months…picture the cat whose limbs are flailing all over trying not to be forced into the carrying case taking him to the vet!

    I came across this quote not too long ago: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” I say go ahead and scratch…with 40 looming I have come to realize that if I don’t start doing something right now to find my happiness, to find what makes me tick, in another 40 it will be too late and I’ll ask why I didn’t start 40 years earlier.

  11. I know that feeling…I think it has a lot to do with the upcoming 4-0 birthday. A feeling like you are ready for something new, need something different to happen, something exciting. I’m just not too sure what that is, and with little kids, you don’t have the flexibility to just take off and follow your heart’s desire.

    I find I need to have something that is for me… some project that I think showcases what I can do and lets me learn something. But there’s still something hovering… the need for something big. We’ll see where it takes me.

    In other news, got your note about BOLO, you’re on the list!

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