Stages of Life
If you look up what is adulthood online, sometimes you get multiple stages of life.
I am in the middle adulthood stage of life according to the age demographics of 45 to 65.
At this point in my life, I am supposed to be settled, in mid-career, raising a family, and looking towards a retirement. I should be “creating an effective and independent life” according to the Introduction to Psychology textbook chapter I found online.
The only problem with that is, I have been this independent individual since the age of twelve, and I set my purpose at an early age. I completed these goals by the age of forty-two. I got married, had kids, became educated, and retired from a 20-year military career.
I am an outlier on that stage of life expectation graph.
That is the problem, who am I now? What is my purpose? Where do I go from here and for the next 50 years?
Do I find someone and get married again? Do I start a business? Do I go back to school and get more education under my belt? Do I become politically active? Do I just dive headfirst into an artistic and creative life? Do I become a writer? All these little bubble thoughts that float through my mind daily.
There are too many questions and little answers. The biggest obstacle now is all in my head. The major depressive disorder and anxiety are causing the edges to be fuzzy and not clear. I do not have a concise and clear path to follow. I often feel like I am wandering aimlessly and taking wrong turns everywhere.
5 years ago, I turned to social media as a creative outlet, to search for inspiration. I found innovative ideas that I wanted to explore along with the hobbies that I already had. The downside of this exploration was navigating through the good, bad, and ugly of developing online friendships and relationships.
I still struggle with this, and it is frustrating. I am not used to having to wait for a response back from others and it is anxiety producing. It becomes quite aggravating to me.
In my 20-year career in the military, I was always the go to, and charge headfirst into things person. People came to me for answers and when I asked a question, there was always a quick turnaround with a response.
It was the same way when I worked in the civilian world after retirement from 2013 to 2020. Talking, texting, and chatting with individuals online does not pan out the same way. It could take days for them to answer back, and it just makes the anxiety increase.
It got so bad, that I just had to take a complete break from talking to others online for a year.
That twinge of loneliness started rearing its ugly head and I opened myself back up to chatting again. The anxiety is still there, so much so, that I contemplated just ending the conversations all together. It has only been a little over a week of chatting, so far.
My incredibly wise son saw my anxiety and reminded me that this is how talking to people online will always be. They are not my former coworkers or military people, they are living their lives, there could be connection issues, or phone issues. He also reminded me that others live and work in other time zones around the world. Just because I am awake does not mean they are too.
I know this, but it does not take away that anxiety and the “feeling” of being ignored. I keep telling myself that I am not being ignored, it takes time for them to respond.
I also must remember that these anxious feelings are also carryovers from dealing with and having trauma filled relationships my whole adult life. It is still a part of the ongoing therapy that I go to on a weekly basis. It is getting better but is a slow process.
The trauma I lived through, and this form of communication are just not mixing well. I know that I personally desire face to face conversations with people. Being aware of the other person’s body language and facial cues are important to how I feel and react in return. Staring at a blank screen with unanswered messages is just not the same.
This reality in this stage of life was not mentioned in any of the articles I read, it should have been.
I now understand the frustrations of my parents as it relates to dealing with their phones and technology. They are baby boomers who grew up on paper forms, face to face meetings, and talking on the phone.
I go to their house every few months to help them fix their computers and phones because it is not “working” correctly. It has been more user error than equipment failure.
They are slowly getting the hang of it. I was impressed that my stepdad remembered how to turn on the Bluetooth and pair it with their car so he could listen to his Pandora playlist. I thought that was good for a 74-year-old baby boomer.
After the feelings of anxiousness wore down and lessened, I decided to keep trying this. I know that if it does not work out then I can always log off and walk away from it. It has been a positive experience so far and I am enjoying the conversations.
The one person I am talking to, I started having a conversation with over two years ago. Then the pandemic started, and he stopped communicating. I went on and forgot about it. I really enjoyed talking to him. Then over a week ago, I got a message from him on Instagram. It was such a surprise, and I was happy to talk to him again. It has been nice.
Communication. It is the most important task in our daily life.
If we cannot convey how we feel, what we are thinking, or what we want to do, then how does the others in our life even begin to know anything about us?
When I first started talking about my trauma, over eight years ago, I was not open about the events that happened.
After the first year, it got easier. Then I started this blog, and the words began to flow.
This safe space, for the last six and a half years, has given me the opportunity to not only to begin healing myself, but it has given others a view into a life that may be like their own.
Throughout this journey, the words of encouragement and comments about our lives has been refreshing. This community, that I have become a part of, has helped in this healing process.
I have had a lengthy list of life experiences. It has not been a perfect life and sometimes it was downright miserable or tragic. I would not change any of it because it made the person that I am right now.
This person who is open, willing to learn, able to accept failure, and determined to keep going.
Thank you so much for stopping by.
Have a wonderful week!
Stay positive, motivated, and keep moving forward.
Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always.