Recollections From My (Third) Midlife Crisis

Even as a child, I have always been a pensive and imaginative individual. Things were never just “things” to me. Rocks, people’s faces, random objects on the ground, the texture of my mother’s hands, memorabilia in my father’s garage, discarded objects, and types of trees were (a few) things of utmost importance, warranting my undivided attention in order to figure “them” out. In class, I would make movies that played behind my eyes and unfolded with the stories I thought ought to happen. And, everything always seemed to make more sense in my head.

In many ways, I am still that girl. Except, instead of being lost within my constant imagination, I am often lost within my constant ruminations over life itself. Who am I? How do I ensure my chances of survival? How do I get from A to Z? What truly matters?

Starting at age eight and ending at age nineteen, I was a soccer player. I played in college for one year while studying film production. In my head, I was going to at least play semi-professional soccer and end up being a successful filmmaker. I lived toward this potential with all my heart, until I couldn’t play soccer anymore due to health issues. Hence, my first midlife crisis ensued. Who was I if I didn’t have soccer? Next, I plunged into my dream to be a filmmaker and learned I had a passion for photography as well. I enrolled in a community college with this plan fixated in horizon. Alas, my second midlife crisis arrived. With age and being in college for so many years, I learned I had more potential than just being a filmmaker and photographer (but, I’ll also admit I didn’t trust in that dream alone to provide me with a means to make a healthy living). So, I changed my major to Communications/Media Studies and my career path centered toward teaching. While I found a life plan that made me feel secure, something palpable in me was missing.

Here, my friends, is where we enter my third midlife crisis. I am at UC Berkeley pursuing a major and career path that should, at any rate, provide a means for me to survive. Yet, through my capabilities to fulfill several roles--being a good student, writer, and problem solver, to name a few--I find myself wanting to be nothing but an artist. I want to spend my future writing, creating films, and capturing how I see the world in a way that means something. It as though I have worked so hard on “correcting” my life, in that I have supplied it with every possible means to ensure not only survival, but also a sense of accomplishment my pre-Cal soccer days provided, I have completely abandoned my passions. And, as a result, I have lost the child in me.

No, I am not going to dropout of college. In fact, I may very well stick to my career plans that have strayed far from my initial dreams. Except, I won’t limit myself to one path, one way of being. I realized what is more important is my ability to adapt and not my ability to be concrete. Why can’t I be a filmmaker, a photographer, a writer, a teacher, and an activist? Who says I can’t be all these things?

While I am confident a fourth midlife crisis will materialize by next weekend, I want to extend forth some encouragement. You are more than what fits into a single category. You are more than an index description, a dictionary definition, or a one-sentence caption. I know the world likes to mold us into boxes and squares. I know there are hierarchies in what major you study, what career you are working toward, and what internship position you’ve managed to land this summer. But, I promise that who you are and what you love--in all its changing forms and imperfections--is absolutely and completely warranted.