Midlife Crisis: The porthole to the second half of life

“Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
and piece together
the past and the future,
Between midnight and dawn,
when the past is all deception,
The future futureless,
before the morning watch
When time stops
and time is never ending”.

T.S. Eliot, ‘The Dry Salvages’.

Let me say one thing first:  If you’re happy in your fishbowl, you do not necessarilyt nave to leave it.  In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  But if you do like to fish, read the Journaling page.

Once upon a time, there was a little fishy who was born and raised in a (name your own fishbowl).  He learned his lessons, and his manners, and did everything the grownups told him to do, for he was a good little fishy and he wanted to remain in the fishbowl–not go to hell.  When he was thus prepared he was ready to step out of his fishbowl castle home.  He went to college, got a job, got married, bought his own castle home, and had kids.  He worked very hard, for he was a (name your brand) fish now.  And (name your brand) fishes’ lives require the exact accoutrements to decorate the house, the wife, and the kids.

Then the day came when being successful didn’t consider into the fact the 1-ton weights on his feet made it difficult to step into the circuit of his normal routine.  He felt stuck in his job, stuck in his marriage, and stuck with responsibility for everybody.  He felt like he was stuck in hell.

“How can this be?  I’ve lived my life so perfectly,” he puzzled.

Here’s the deal:  His entire life has been prearranged by pre- and pro- scriptions.

Anthropologists focus on one particular definition of prescription, in opposition to proscription.   Behaviors pre scribed by a society are expected to be enacted; pro scribed behaviors must be avoided.

He started drinking too much.  He became distant, disinterested, and disintegrated.  He started wailing inside his head while trying desperately to walk the straight and narrow of pre- and pro scriptions with the 1-ton weights on his inebriated feet:  “Who am I?”  “What am I?”  “Where am I going?”

“What is the meaning of life?”  Existential crisis

This is where the story starts getting good.  And no, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to quit your job, get a divorce, or drown the kids.  Anyway, the kids already live in your fishbowl.

"Oh wonderful! You just couldn't  resist it could you?"
The beginning of Individuation

Author: Katherine Brittain

Cultural Anthropologist/Writer

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