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That itchy feeling

I’ve got this really strong itchy feeling again. I wondered if perhaps it was the weather. But then I searched through my blog archives to see the date on the last time I wrote about this and it was May — spring. So, no, I don’t think I can blame the oncoming winter. (Even though I really do want to blame it. Just because I don’t like it.)

Then last night, I happened to read an article on this very subject. Titled ‘When life goes U-shaped,” and published in the October issue of Maclean’s, it cites a study of more than 2 million people in 72 countries that confirmed that it is a common phenomenon to be hit a low-point in middle age.

In fact, the research shows that 40 is prime time for North American women to be sliding right into this slump. And I just turned 39 over the Thanksgiving weekend. Greeeeat.

The “U” refers to the happiness before and after middle-age. Which, sure, is interesting … but I’m middle-aged and I’m not finding it all that comforting to know that eventually I will hit the up-turn. I want to do something now! I’m itchy, darn it all!

In May, these were the things I told you I was doing in a desperate itch-scratching attempt:

  • 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
  • Now, six months later, I have enacted some of the above, but I’m still itchy. In fact, just looking at this list makes me laugh because instead of comtemplating the downtown real estate market, I’m contemplating the exact opposite — a larger home in the burbs. It just goes to show that perhaps this is an itch that cannot be scratched.

    It might just be a feeling I need to live with for a while. I think Finola hit the nail on the head when she commented back in May:

    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.

    And I think it also has to do with having something to look forward to. I always like to have something to look ahead to, and somehow, mortgage payments just aren’t cutting it.

    My solution? I’m going to do a small change. I am going to make time for my friendships. Hanging out with other people my age, going through the same feelings and experiences and being able to laugh about it all really does make me feel so much lighter.

    And on that note, I need to run out — I’ve got a coffee date with a friend.

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    1. As soon as I started reading this post, I remembered back to my comment about it being about mid-life for me. I’m 39 as well and feeling it too.

      I am also trying to find things to help, and it’s funny that I have also focused on building up friendships. How about we go for coffee sometime?

    2. It’s a date! (and maybe even a playdate, too!) I’ll DM you. Thanks for the offer.

    3. Too funny…was just talking about this very thing with my best friend this morning. I turned 40 this summer (she’s 3 years younger, damn her!) but we both feel in a bit of a slump. I believe my comment to her this morning was, “I’m pretty sure I used to be a much more interesting person–one who had lots of things that she could talk about beyond home and family.”

      She responded as any good friend should: “No, no…I don’t think you were ever all that interesting.” And then we laughed and laughed.

      Then we reminded each other that this whole business of having young kids and being in jobs that are in a holding-pattern is a momentary thing. A few years from now we’ll be moving to the next stage.

      At least we all have company, eh? I do love being able to share these experiences with other blogging moms in same situation.

    4. Mary Lynn,

      You are so right! Just reading the comments from my last post and hearing back from you and Finola totally made me feel better. Company is good!

      p.s. I love your friend. We all need girlfriends we can laugh our heads off with! :)

    5. i loved this post, really honest and refreshing. i like that you are coming up with positive solutions to your feelings!! keep the positive flowing and good feelings will come.

    6. As a friend of mine said, if you have too many balls in the air, then it’s time to put a few of them down.

    7. This is exactly how I have been feeling lately, too. I’m happy, but I feel like I want something exciting to happen, some major change or project to take on. I guess I really am having a middle age crisis! Glad to know I’m not the only one :).

    8. Meg – thanks! I hope it works.

      Nat – honestly, I don’t think there are any more balls that I could put down at this point. Life is just life.

      Lynn – yes! Like a big change, or exciting adventure, or even just a darn new hairdo! :)

    9. Well, I’m 27 and I feel the itch too sometimes! I need change, I need something steady, and then I need change again… oh well, makes life complicated but fun.

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