The Midlife Correction

The Midlife Crisis Correction

All being well,
somewhere in the middle of life,
you will wake up aged
from a deep, dreamless sleep,
to go back on promises
and put right your life.
On this day
you will pack your bags,
leave your house,
leave your relationship,
leave the life you have set up,
ditch your tribe to find another.

Perhaps you will even
walk out of your inhuman job
to find the work
you were born to do,
find the courage and bravery
you have craved for years.
In the middle of the mess,
a deeper life will call
through the labyrinth of dreams,
using its searchlight within,
to help revise your soul story
and wild reveries.

As you drive towards the stars,
on the second half
of your divine journey
you meet the goddess within,
who will help you soothe
the storming ego.
In this re-wilding
of your soul,
you will know that
you have as much life ahead
as you have lived so far,
all being well.

 

Copyright © Deborah Gregory 2018

20 thoughts on “The Midlife Correction

  1. Thank you, Deborah. I’ve loved reading this over and over. I’m well beyond midlife, but the corrections don’t end. Sometimes they’re imposed as with my husband’s death. Sometimes chosen as when my career ended because I no longer cared about supporting other people’s health as I struggled to support my own. At midlife when I became a nutritionist, I knew this was the work I was born to do. Until it wasn’t. Sometimes the transitions are so subtle and quiet it takes time to figure out the shift. Sometimes they’re like volcanoes.

    As I ponder your poem, I realize surrendering to the path I’m on (or surrendering to anything) can also be a correction since I often imagine there is something better somewhere else or somewhere within me. A few days ago I returned from a two-week visit with friends in the Arizona desert. I imagined my body would feel better in that climate (it didn’t), I imagined I might want to move there (I don’t). I loved spending time with my friends and visiting that dry foreign-feeling world, but I missed the quiet introversion of my life and the melting of snow and damp greening mosses of early spring. The Goddess and Life are here in this yin, shaded world. At least until the next volcano explodes.

    1. Thank you so much Elaine for your generous and deeply reflective comment. What joy and sorrow it is to recognise that corrections don’t end at midlife! For much courage, insight and endurance is needed whilst journeying. You teach me well, for I know the best we can ever do in distressing times is ‘lean (a little closer) into love.’ Twenty years ago, aged 34 years, I first began training to become a psychotherapist, the work I feel I was born to do … the ripple effect of that in my personal life was subtle yet volcanic too (I like that!). And so, the second half of my life began, however your words, “Until it wasn’t,” makes so much sense too!

      Surrendering to forgiveness, responsibility and accountability, together with encouraging my ego to self-destruct (a work in progress I hope!) have all been life-changing on my path so far. I agree, much needed corrections to old, even childish attitudes which are finally helping me to ‘grow up’ a little more. It was wonderful to hear that you had taken a holiday, I enjoyed seeing your beautiful photos on FB (I’m not on there but my partner is!) and understand the joy of returning home to all that you love and missed whilst you were away. I don’t feel that way when I return home, usually I yearn to go back to my own version of “Arcadia” a green, lush, pastoral, mountainous land. Warm and wild blessings, Deborah.

      1. I began studying Jung and doing inner work when I was 22. I was too young to know what a steep path would lie ahead, not just for me but for all of us. Our teacher warned us as he taught us meditation, Jung, and various philosophies, but we were too young to believe him. We figured we’d clear out the complexes and get this Enlightenment thing all sorted out in short order. Older now with much less confidence in sorting it all out, but I love the journey as much as ever.

        1. Your teacher’s warning was spot on! I remember a similar warning being given as I studied to become a psychotherapist. One of the first (amongst many) things we were told was that most relationships wouldn’t survive the rigorous training. And so it was with my training class, with only one person four years later still in their marriage … well, that’s what I thought until many years later I bumped into this person and they too, four years post qualification, were now divorced. A steep path indeed!

          Hmm, it’s only here in midlife that I’m truly beginning to even grasp the truth and immense depth of the late Ursula Le Guin’s words … “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

  2. This is a wonderful uplifting poem Deborah, such wise and true words indeed and ones that bring hope to those going through their own tumultuous changes…as well as sound advice to listen to your dreams!!

    The start of my journey began for me between 30 and 37 when I turned my back on the inhuman and soul destroying world I worked in. Slowly over the following years I learned what I didn’t want in relationships, homes and work – often the hard way – and followed a winding path towards a place that I feel is more me with much more meaning and truth in my life than I have ever had. I haven’t fully arrived yet, there is much more inner and outer work to do including continuing my study of dreams but I really am feeling that “deeper call” amid the forces of change that are at work. Ha-ha…never could that saying “it’s the journey that matters” be truer than when we reach the point of mid-life correction!!

    Thank you for posting this reminder to everyone on their path that all change can be liberating!!

    1. Thank you so much Sophia for gifting me such inspiring, wise words! It’s funny when I reached fifty years old, I thought, oh my “mid-life crisis” is going to kick in soon but it never happened. Why? Because it had already happened and I didn’t even realise it! Only later I read that Jung sensed these enormous life changes often took place in our thirties, only for some reason, I had got the number fifty in my head. Ha-ha! Much corrected now!

      I agree, leaving a soul-destroying job is pure liberation! Bloody shame that it takes most of us many years to reach that life-affirming decision. Still, rather get out in your thirties than your fifties or sixties, or never at all. Yes, the hard way, is there any other way?! And the fact that our journeys are far from over (nodding here!) and perhaps never will be. The Midlife “Correction” certainly puts another spin on the whole Midlife “Crisis” and so the “leaving” (however defined) begins. In soul, Deborah.

  3. Hello dear Deborah,

    This is such a wonderful poem, and so true. For me the leaving began at 37 and totally took place in my inner life—except for a few original choices here and there that induced change in my outer world. This went on for about 12 years. During that time I tolerated the agonizing tension of entertaining new questions, new thoughts, new urges, new emotions and new changes. For every original choice I made, another link of the chain that held the real me imprisoned dropped away.

    During that time my salvation was reading psychology, writing poetry, and self-reflection. Then I discovered Jung and dreamwork. That’s when I realized I was standing on holy ground. Since then, more original choices have caused more links to fall away. These days the sacred ground beneath my feet is scattered with discarded links and eggshells. I’ve never felt so light and am counting on this to continue for as long as I’m on this earth!

    Your poetry inspires. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    With love and blessings, Jeanie

    1. Thank you so much Jeanie for the gift of your beautiful words and deep karmic wisdom. Original choices, I like that, the slow, arduous, unhurried liberation of Self, so true! My own life changed forever in my thirties too, and yet only now in hindsight do I realise it was only the very beginning of a life-long journey that I would find myself on. I left my marriage, my job, my home, in fact “everything” that was once known and held dear by me and then by forty, I repeated the whole leaving experience all over again. It was beyond exhausting!

      “Standing on holy ground” wow, that’s so poetic and deeply profound and again so true! I would love (like many I’m sure) to read your spiritual poetry. I’m really hoping that you’ll include a verse or three in your new book? (I’m beyond excitement waiting!) What a bright, vivid picture you paint in words with discarded links and eggshells fallen about you! Oh how the radiance of your soul dazzles this poet! You, Elaine and Susan are my inspiration and spurs, I love keeping company with such wise, beautiful warrior women! In soul, Deborah.

  4. Deborah, I agree happiness is definitely an inside job. Whether ones midlife correction brings us divorce, a job change or moving house, it’s never too late for that new start. At 43 I know I’ve become bolder in my life. I want to feel vibrant and vital, and in order for this to happen, I know that I need to change a few things. Wish me luck. All the best, Anna.

    1. Thank you so much Anna for your wonderful comment. Please know I’m casting healing (Reiki) waves of positive energy your way! I love that happiness is “an inside job” makes so much sense. I agree, it’s never too late to turn it all around! Feeling vital and vibrant sounds important to you, alongside the knowledge and responsibility you’re taking for your own life. I met Jung when I was 44 years old, life has never been the same since! In soul, Deborah.

      1. Thank you for the reiki. I suffer from fibromyalgia, a long term condition that causes pain all over the body, thus lacking vitality and vibrancy.

            1. You’re more than welcome. I wasn’t sure it was your thing really, however, by looking down other lens we surely widen our vision.

  5. Hooray Deborah! It isn’t a mid-life crisis, it’s a mid-life correction!! Brilliant poem. Making those necessary corrections can be so hard though. I hope I’m going to have a positive one and the best in life is yet to come. Love the old Chevy, buying a new car (or vintage one!!) is such a classic midlife thing. Love to you both, HF.

    1. Thank you so much Henry for your wonderful comment. Yes, correction not crisis! I know what you mean about “cars” as when googling “midlife crisis” I came across lots of racy, sport cars images. The photo above was taken at a vintage car rally we attended.

      Ha-ha! Makes me think to watch “Thelma and Louise” real soon! My favourite line: “I don’t remember ever feelin’ this awake,” says Thelma as they drive through the desert in the middle of the night, leaving their old lives behind. “Everything looks different. You know what I mean … Everything looks new.”

      Great to see your muse came a-knocking, loving your latest poem! Warm and wild blessings, Deborah.

  6. This is beautiful dear Poet – we have to leave that which does not serve us, nor anyone else – while knowing that the past has served us in some way, if only and mostly, to bring us where we are this day. We can revise, or revive our soul stories.

    Today, in SA, is Human Rights Day a public holiday. Which makes me think that it is our right yet one with enormous responsibility, to find out what we are, and to where we are heading … With love, Susan from the South ..

    1. Thank you so much Susan for your most generous and wise reply! I can relate deeply, as I feel I began leaving, “that which did not serve me” when I was happily reawakened to Jung (for the second time in my life!) more than a decade ago. I love your vision of the past and how its glorious stepping-stones bring us to where we are today.

      Once, leaving a failed marriage, job or bad situation felt impossible (especially for women) but thankfully things are changing. Yay! Enjoy, and celebrate Human Rights Day! I agree, indeed it is our birth right to find out who, what and where we are heading in life … Love and light always, Deborah.

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