Midlife Wonderings

They say we never forget to ride a bike. You’d think the same would be true of knowing how to be in this world. But if this past year has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes we can forget how to be ourselves. You can live 40 years thinking that you knew yourself, and then wake up one day no longer recognizing your reflection.

Maybe it’s not the same as forgetting how to ride a bike. Maybe it’s more like waking up one day to find that the bike in your garage isn’t a bike anymore but a unicycle. And you don’t know how to ride a unicycle. But I guess you’re stuck with it, so you need to learn. And as you do, you find yourself falling and feeling like a fool. You thought you knew how to ride, but suddenly, you have to learn all over again.

These times when we look in the mirror and realize that we don’t recognize ourselves anymore are a struggle, at least for me. Stories are so important as they give our lives meaning. I have personally found great comfort in examining my life and seeing the story unfold, finding meaning in both the joy and the sorrow.

But suddenly, new and old pieces that didn’t seem to fit anymore came into view. I began to see myself more fully again, some things I liked and others I didn’t. And I found the story crumbling in my hands, pieces falling at my feet.

Now, I’m faced with a new question. Does meaning come from putting the pieces together into a story, much like a puzzle? Or is it found in allowing those stories to fall apart, trusting that there is something truer underneath?

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