Reinvention calls for letting go of the life that we once had and welcoming ourselves to think in a new perspective, reexamine our lives, ourselves in the light of a new age. It may not be the age that we once had, yet it is the age we have now. And how do we live in the light of this reality, once again? It needs an ongoing renewal of who we are and where we would like to be at this phase of life. A renewal that is taught by the art of resilience, that brings courage and creativity. We stretch, not to endure but to live, in the sense of living and not mere existing.
Navigating the landscape of midlife, are we going through a crisis? The very word--reinvention sounds a new beginning, as we are on a pathway to rediscover ourselves in a new light, begin again with a new vision, say “yes” to an entirely new perspective. It is a truth that lies beneath the struggling thoughts that arise to make a meaning of everything, the life we lived so far, the years we spent, doing what was needed to be done. That was our need then, and what now?
For those with children, it is a concept easily understood, as our parental role changes so dramatically when they grow up and seek out their careers, walking on their pathways to shape their own lives. And with that comes, such a staring void in us, leaving a feeling of emptiness inside. There’s the truth—we are no longer needed by our children in the same way. This calls for a colossal change in our relationship to our kids, and while it changes, it does call for the reinvention of other aspects of our lives.
From where the kids left the homes to seek out the meaning and purpose of their own lives, from that place, that moment, we can search for other facets of life. Life is not a one- track sided beauty. It carries many sides, some of which stand out bare and revealed and some others are hidden, waiting to be explored. So many different transitions come in the mid life phase of our lives. We might be at the pinnacle of our professional lives, or we might find ourselves unemployed. While walking the trails of life, we might meet an old flame, go for a divorce and remarry, recommit heartily to the wedding of our souls, or decide to be celibate.
Around this age, we go through a physical aging. Many are diagnosed with a chronic illness. Life begins to reveal in another light at this mid-age. Many are going through anxiety, stress, hypertension, arthritis. We learn to endure what comes in this midlife phase, struggling with these new symptoms like reading glasses, frequent doctor’s visits. And we learn to live life through a new lens. As despairing as it may sound, these physical symptoms appear with the progression of age. Still, life is a gift and we need to see it. We can still hear the music of life, in another way, with the heart of gold that never truly grows old.
We begin to rediscover ourselves in the light of a new age—the mid-life. While exploring what we have in the mid-life, wouldn’t it be wiser to find joy with what we have, while we have it? As, every moment that comes, eventually passes away. We may feel weighed down and pulled back at times, but to be able to feel the music again needs us to rise above the hopeless feelings, so we can move in the light of hope and new dreams again. Yes, they are not the dreams that we had in the younger phases of life, but that was then, and this is now. The gap between then and now, needs to be acknowledged. All things change, with the passing of time.
At times, the reinvention that is accompanied by a mourning over the past, can give us a closure much needed after the loss, so we can walk again. The much-needed thing of life that calls for the flow—keep flowing. Like the river that begins its youthful stage, flowing down the steep slopes with an abundance of energy, eventually erodes along the process. And a time comes, when it slows down.
For some of us, a phase of depression follows the transitions, and there we feel the void that rises from the losses. We feel so helpless, hopeless and useless. We can seek the support of a mental health professional or family and close friends to build an emotionally supportive circle. So, we can reach out to one another in times of these life emptying losses. This can be seen as a dual path approach. We can begin to mourn or grieve for the life that we once had and will never have again. The years never come back. The times never return. And once we get to grieve together with friends of same age collectively, we can begin to create a new life with a new vision, a new purpose and meaning. That is our restoration, restoring life once again with its music that never truly dies. So, we can see, that there can be a life, beyond the bygone years. What comes must go—is the eternal truth, but what is left behind, still has something to give, something to live for.
While cleaning out our children’s decades old school supplies, or being engrossed in nostalgic feelings, lamenting over the lost times with parents, and siblings, and kids, we can rise from the reminder of what has passed, and we can steer a new direction in this path of life. While cleaning out our parent’s closets, we may have to make room for something new, but we can always tuck in the decade old precious sentimental, in a private place, allowing us to visit them when needed. The art of resilience brings creativity, courage and the ongoing renewal needed to keep the flow, as flow we must like the running brook.
Yet, at the same time, we can sit down with the life we have now and see what it brings to us in this gifted moment. The truth is—aging is a privilege denied to many, every breath is a gift from heaven above.
Jayita Bhattacharjee....born in Calcutta, India and later on education from University of Houston in Economics, she had chosen her career as a trustee and teacher.
Her love for writing on a journey of heart and soul was hidden all within. Her books " The Ecstatic Dance of Soul', " Sacred Sanctuary", are among the many that she has authored.