I mentioned that I’d started cleaning out my spare room, and immediately got distracted by a shiny bag of fabric scraps. This will surprise no one, least of all my parents. They used to tell me to clean my room and come back an hour later, only to find that I was deep in a book that I had found in a pile, twenty seconds after they had left the room. Some things are hardwired, and my ability to distract myself from cleaning is unparalleled.
The scrap bag (and then some) was turned into 324 (!) 3”squares, and I tried to sew them together as randomly as possible. I slapped together bunnies and princesses, stripes and polka dots, with fairly wild abandon. There’s a whale in there somewhere, and more purple than I realized. It was a bit of a mess, frankly, but it provided a good way of keeping my hands busy while trying to sort out some complicated work-related issues in my head. I also heard from an old friend, who is dealing with some pretty big challenges himself. I don’t pretend to comprehend what he’s going through, but I do empathize. As a woman who has struggled with her weight most of her adult life, I’m quite familiar with feeling like the inside of me doesn’t match the outside. That much, at least, I understand.
Once I sewed the patchwork together, I sat at my kitchen table to tie the quilt and pondered some more. It’s so fascinating to me that so many of us hit our forties and suddenly wonder, what the hell have I done with my life? Suddenly the lives we have composed for ourselves just don’t work anymore. We start asking ourselves: Who *am* I, anyway? And how do I make sure the next 40 years of my life are better than the first 40? It occurred to me that, just like my patchwork, we’re uncomposing the pieces of our lives and trying to make something new. (Technically, the right word might be decompose, but that has too many negative connotations.) I guess this is what they mean by a mid-life crisis, but I’m not sure crisis is the right word. It’s more of a gift, really – the chance to be who we really are, to love the people we want to love, to do the work we were meant to do all along, and to live on our own terms and not someone else’s. Even if it all turns out really messy in the end, how could this be anything less than a gift?