It was an average day, a good jog with Sofia in the morning, good work progress, started reading about sleep, two parents teacher conferences hearing praises about my girls (YAY), and affirmation from my big boss (He will always have my back!).
Then when I was working at home to finish a task, my best friend texted me if we could talk. We haven’t talked for months. I said, i’m in the middle of finishing a work task. Anything urgent? She replied: no, we can talk in another time. Then I got back to work. Few minutes later, she texted: I’m going home (in another continent) ALONE, leaving behind husband and two kids.
WHAT? ok. give me five minutes and I call you.
So we talked. My BFF is getting “crazy” to cope with “middle life crisis” triggered by the pandemic. The trip would be a literal escape from her current life.
It was a fun and delirious conversation but after the call, I was shaken by the news.
There is a lot of talk about mental health during the pandemic. Given that I took the opportunity to learn inward, found mindfulness and gratitude, I thought that all that mental health talk applies to few, maybe those affected by the pandemic directly (getting covid, losing loved ones, losing job). But not for those that are less affected.
I was wrong. This is hitting too close to me. My BFF.
I don’t think the pandemic makes people depress about the situation per se, but maybe it’s the confinement in a small place/circle of people that triggers something that has been covered by the fast pace of life, probably accumulated in years/decades.
It made me wonder: is there anything in my life that I’m not happy or satisfied about (subconsciously) that I consciously ignore? Approaching 40 in a month would be literally middle-life. Will I have a middle life crisis too?
Other than wondering my own situation, I started to analyse what triggered hers. We’ve been friend since I was 16 years old. We’ve been through life ups and downs together even when we were continents apart. I have a theory about why this issue happening to her, which worries me even more.
This is something that probably happens to a lot of women. We start life with big plans for self development. Then we got settled with marriage and kids. We give up our identify to be the perfect mom and/or wife thinking that’s all what we need and want. Then when kids get older or doesn’t require 24/7 care, we get a wake up call reminding us who we were and what plans we had for OURSELVES. Middle life crisis!
The shift from an independent person/women to motherhood is hard. We could add a new role to our identity, or we can change our identity. Fortunately I never made the switch. I was “selfish” enough to protect my identity and always aimed to balancing out different roles, or I think so. I love being the mother of my two girls but I could never sign up to this if I need to give up my identity.
I’m still shaken and worry how things will enfold to my BFF.