"During our 50s or 60s, most of us experience an extended and fraught period of change, choices and false starts." - Suzanne Braun Levine, "7 Signs You're Entering Your Second Adolescence," in NextAvenue, December 5, 2016. Here is the article.
It is post-college-graduation redux.
After getting our BA, friends and I were dropping like flies. That is, we were having mini or complete emotional meltdowns. The centre could not hold.
Then, as if we were lego blocks, the pieces got configured in a new way.
One college classmate uprooted from North to South to train to become a nurse. That was after a long stay in a psychiatric hospital.
Another joined radical politics, found a husband there, and felt happiness for the first time in her life.
I discovered that I had a nose for the marketable manuscript and become a published writer.
The same type of upheaval took me over in my late 50s. I didn't want to work any more. In fact, I didn't want to be me any longer. Piece by piece I changed that. In the process, I lost my business, my nest egg and my mind. But all's well that ends well.
The clinical depression I struggled with since age 11 vanished.
I had the courage to leave behind the ghosts on the East Coast and pitch my tent in the desert in the Southwest.
Sure, I have to make a living but that's it: making a living. Conventional success is no longer the priority.
My blogging has gotten me global prominence. This post on my award-winning syndicated legal blog has gone viral.
I also observe 180s in those I hung with in the 1960s and early 1970s.
They have become capable of joy.
They have replaced fear with figuring out ways of coping. That includes the probability that we could die at any time.
And, they have purged their memory banks of flashbacks of trauma.
Best of all, they and I can stand toe-to-toe with the world.
I have a hunch this new sense of self will hold up. At least, until old old age.