Is it possible to have a mid life crisis at 30?
I don't think that's actually what I'm having... More that I've been gradually accepting that I'm unhappy, exhausted and stressed and I'm not getting a lot of gain from it anymore. I had a talk with my husband last night which unfortunately wasn't as revealing as it should have been, given my borderline zombie state, but it did get me thinking a bit more actively about who I am and what I'm doing at the moment.
On Wednesday night I went to see a ridiculously amazing night of big band jazz music, headlined by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band (if you've been wondering what happened to the big band scene since Benny Goodman died, it's been going just fine and the Big Phat Band is the pinnacle of the scene). A lot of things kind of awakened themselves in me at once, about who I am, who I'm not anymore, what I'm doing, what I could be doing and how I feel about it all. I'm perfectly aware that in this current climate of gloom and doom I am extremely lucky to have a job at all, but I'm becoming increasingly disillusioned with it. My narcolepsy has a lot to do with it. When I'm at school, I practically exist as a single, floating entity. I teach in a separate building to everyone else, like my own ivory tower. I hardly ever interact with any other teachers during school time because if I'm not teaching, I'm staring at a wall or preparing myself for the next onslaught of students and making sure I can progress through the day. Because of where I live, I'm up early and I leave school as soon as I can at the end of the day and by the time I walk home after the train ride I'm shattered. And I'm the only Creative Arts teacher in the school. At first I reveled in that, I loved the creative challenges and being autonomous. But now... It's just lonely and isolating. Watching the gig on Wednesday, seeing the high school band performing, meeting up with old musician friends and talking shop... I can't do that any more. I've gotten so used to talking about music at such a basic level that I had almost forgotten what it was like to listen to and analyse music and then have people around me who could appreciate it at that level as well. I'm even married to a musician and I don't do it!
So now I'm starting to think about the possibilities of change, but it's not as simple as it might be for someone without a socially and physically crippling illness. Full time work is out. Part time work is increasingly rare. Part time work within, say, a 20 minute travel radius is even rarer. A job that caters to my experience and interest... You get the picture. Every time I get to this point of the thought process I just stop thinking because it feels so futile. But then the exhaustion and stress builds up again and the thoughts return. So what can I do to climb over this thought bump?
I sometimes reminisce about my life, say, 10 years ago and think about all the music I was playing, building my reputation and musical skill, making connections, making friends (it's been a long time since I made a new friend and my current friend circle is tiny and far flung... Something else which adds to my feeling of isolation) and I guess... Feeling like I was going somewhere and doing something. I haven't felt like that for a while. In fact, about 90 percent of the time now... I just feel tired. It dominates everything and it's getting worse. And I just don't know how to solve it without either making huge sacrifices or taking potentially harmful risks.
At least this reminds me why I'm forgetful, foggy, absent minded and tired - http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/narcolepsy/living-with-narcolepsy/dailylife
For those who read and occasionally write to me (you're amazing), I'd love to hear your advice and/or experiences. At least this is one avenue where I sometimes feel like I'm contributing positively, in some small way.