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Mid Life Crisis - finding meaning and purpose again

My life was pretty well mapped out by me from a young age – I thought.

I wanted to be a farmer like my Dad. This involved a goal and a plan to get there. It appeared that this is what happens in life. You decide who you want to be, what you want to have and what you want to do in life and head in that general direction.

Sitting around doing nothing was seen to be socially unacceptable and expectations of being someone, standing out and achieving highly was an expectation in my world.

I worked hard as a youngster, striving for the big goal of farm ownership. Knowing it was a big goal but all that it would mean for me to achieve it was worth the intense focus.

Getting there wasn’t easy. Money to borrow, qualifications to get (being a woman) and money to save. Huge discipline was required. Save a match, buy a farm was the mantra I repeated to myself and going without for decades in order to have the freedom of farm ownership would be worth it I told myself.

I built an identity around myself. I let everybody know what I was about and the path I was on. I was happy being different to my peers. I felt superior being in control of my life.

Marriage and children happened in amongst this goal, and everyone came along for the ride. They had little choice. I was on a mission and if you were on board, all was great.

I didn’t factor the birth of a disabled child in my life plan. This slowed the goal and once the baby making machine was unleashed it seemed I couldn’t turn it off. 5 children in 4 years put serious pressure on the farm ownership goal and still I pushed on. Juggling children with marriage with running a consultancy business and running a farm.

I didn’t factor in post natal depression after the birth of our twins and having to forego some of my identity as a farm consultant in order to maintain some sanity was really hard.

My husband and I found a new way for us to move forward together towards our partially completed goal and job-shared the children and the farm as we closed in on our now joint life focus, farm ownership and building a new house. All would be amazing and worth it when…

And then it happened. It finally came together. The achievement of the total goal. I had arrived.

So why did I feel so deflated??

I remember waking up the morning after we moved into our new house, Age 43. Life goals achieved and wondering – Now What ? I had NO IDEA!! I had never thought beyond the goal.

Children soon to be leaving home. I came to realise that maybe I didn’t want to be farming anymore. Whaaaaaaaat? I sat on that! What would people think??

I asked my friends what should I do. I asked my kids what should I do. I asked my husband what should I do. They only knew me as the driven farmer. I only knew me as the driven farmer.

Over the next few painful years I searched for What next. Who am I and why am I here? Surely this is not it? Why is everyone else so successful, so together?

I searched and searched thinking there must be something wrong with me. Trying to find something where I could be valued and earn money to contribute (even though that wasn’t necessary)

I undertook a coaching course and discovered my Core Values over a period of 6 months – revisiting, reviewing. Now I understood what’s important to me emotionally on a deep level. The feelings that have always motivated me to act. That was useful to start.

I realized that Ive always been curious and asking questions was a natural behaviour. Coaching fitted this strength perfectly, knowing that independence and self drive are part of the coaching ethos. Being coached by someone else was valuable in helping me see my own blind spots. A coach asked the questions I didn’t know to ask of myself or was too scared to ask.

From this coaching experience, it became obvious that I wanted to know more about what made me tick and so over the next couple of years I became an NLP Practitioner and got a bigger insight into human behaviour. I realised that we are emotional beings and Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioner was a natural extension to explore. Emotions were an area I had stayed well away from. I had learned in my 40 years emotions were supposed to be suppressed and ignored and kept under raps. So much I had stored up and carried around, that needed letting out so I could move forward.

And still I knew there was more to know about myself, about life.

I was starting to find my place. My purpose. My value.

My life journey has led me to this current moment that allows me to help others’ short cut the pain of being stuck in mid-life. I know I am exactly where I am meant to be.

I love sitting with another fellow human being knowing that they have everything they need inside them to live a quality life moment to moment. No matter what life throws up in the moment, they too will be OK.

I love that the pain in mid life woke me up to what life is really about.

The possibilities are endless. Life is always a blank canvas, where anything can happen. The past does not define the future. I see that now.

When you view life as a destination to get to, the joy in arriving is short lived.

When you view life moment to present moment as if you are on a train, getting off at all the stations and riding with the curtains and windows open, that is what makes life fulfilling.

Jenny Malcolm

Mind & Body Well Being Coach


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