How to Control a Life Skid (and avoid a crash…)
The mid-life crisis is rife with cliches: the balding man with a faux tan, a red sportscar, and 25-year old girlfriend, for example.
And often our crises feel like head-on collisions, pile-ups on the interstate of life from which we stagger, stunned, wounded, and alone.
I’m here to propose that perhaps it doesn’t have to be so dramatic.
See, I believe that crises, or crashes, occur when we go through life unconsciously. When we put our spirits on automatic pilot, and fail to check in with ourselves on a regular basis to make sure we are truly living the life we want.
Unconscious living can look a million different ways: an unfulfilling marriage, a monotonous job, isolation and loneliness, or too much TV watching. These patterns of behavior creep into our daily lives like fog, until one day we look up and realize we can’t see our hands in front of our faces anymore.
The crash comes when we wake up suddenly and want immediate, dramatic change. If we have lived unconsciously, the change we choose will mirror our past, more immature selves: dump the partner and find a new one just like the old one; engage in extravagant consumerism; develop an addiction.
But if we are conscious, if we fully embrace the idea that we choose the circumstances of our lives, then the crash can be avoided altogether.
I propose learning to create a controlled skid. In motorcycle education classes, riders are taught how to handle it when they feel their bikes begin to slide beneath them. Staying calm, centered, and mindful, riders can turn a potentially fatal situation into a manageable one.
By becoming conscious, by developing awareness and appreciation for our feelings, intuitive urges, and bodily wisdom, we receive plenty of information beforehand about dangers just ahead on the road, and we can plan to handle them, rather than crashing headlong into the guardrail at 90 mph.
I say all of this because I am currently engaged in my own life skid. I have no idea what my life or career will look like in one year. I have no idea how all of this will work out. But I have just enough savings to feel secure financially. I have just enough work to keep some structure in my life. I have an amazing community of supportive people around me. I am in control of the structure of this change, so that life can safely upend me and take me in a new direction.
So what do you know about yourself so you can prepare for your own controlled skid? How can you avoid that crashing feeling we all dread? And what can you do today to prepare your spirit for what is next?