Sometimes things happen that I don't want to write down here—either things that are personal but don't belong to me (i.e., family matters) or things that are personal in a particularly personal way. Not things that are "TMI personal," because I blab about those all the time, but things that I'm afraid will float away if I open my arms too wide and let in too much air.
For example: last Monday was the 10-year reunion concert of The Light in the Piazza at Lincoln Center, performed by the original cast. It's been 10 years since I sat in the Vivian Beaumont and heard those voices singing that score, and at the end I closed my eyes for a couple of seconds, during "Fable," and let myself believe I was back there again, still living in Chicago, still excited about my future in New York, still hopeful, still hoping. I walked alone through the plaza afterwards and all I could think about was how tightly I wanted to hold it all in. Not to go backwards, exactly, just to remember that feeling of anticipating my own future.
I've thought a lot lately about what that time meant to me, because I remember 2006 as a very sweet and sort of golden year. I had so much to look forward to! I had something tangible to work toward yet no idea of what I would actually find once I got there. Everything was possible. And I think most of the malaise and general discontent I've felt over the past couple of years isn't so much a midlife crisis as realizing that I've lost that sense of anticipation, of having something new to plan for and be excited about. I suspect that is in fact the dictionary definition of midlife crisis, but whatever. Just because it's a cliché doesn't make it untrue. I also realized that as with most things in life the only person who's going to save me from it is me.
And I decided that's fine. Everything is fine! I'm happy to live here again in a way that I haven't been in a really long time! Instead of buying myself a little red Corvette I bought a bike helmet. Instead of moving to London or Paris or Seattle I'm taking a cooking class and picking up my camera again. I'm resetting my expectations and reminding myself that everything I need right now is here, right outside my doorstep. What I look forward to doesn't have a date attached to it, or any kind of timeline or even an end goal, and it's not some perfect vision of some perfect future, it's just... future. I'll try to keep my arms open, but who knows. That can be so exhausting.