the woods

by rantywoman

Midway this way of life we’re bound upon,
I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
Where the right road was wholly lost and gone.

–Dante’s Inferno

During my last few years in L.A., I managed to keep myself distracted with cultural events and various Industry happenings, but a feeling of “lostness” was creeping up on me nonetheless. A lot of that had to do with coming to terms with not having children, but I think I’ve crossed that bridge now. In fact, one of my friends who is a single mother told me that she is beginning to have that same sense of being “lost” because she doesn’t want to make her whole life about her kid and has yet to find other sources of meaning.

Now that I have a break from the busyness of working and am without my L.A. sources of distraction, however, I am intensely feeling that crisis of meaning. I’m trying to be okay with it, trying to accept that I currently have little in the way of a compass, trying to honor this phase without getting too down about it.

I am enjoying my foreign language course but am not passionate about it. I’ve been getting out and about, and people couldn’t be friendlier or more welcoming, but it may be a while before I find my social niche. I’ve come across attractive men but don’t know if any of them hold potential.

In short, my brain is not currently engaged with any particular thing. I am making sure to eat well and get exercise and meditate most days of the week. It’s still uncomfortable, and my sleep is affected, but all I can do is acknowledge that I’m in a liminal space and hopefully won’t be forever.

How many other middle-aged women feel this way? It seems that these are the crisis years. Hopefully my move was a step in the right direction of being less isolated:

Loneliness and depression are also suicide risk factors. “Older women especially in the U.S. are more isolated and separated from daily human contact outside of work and the internet,” says Ellyn Kaschak, Ph.D., emeritus professor of psychology at San Jose State University and the editor of the journal Women & Therapy.