Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 for 21: A mid-life crisis?

It has been suggested that my obsession with saving children with special needs from terrible places is a mid-life crisis.

What is a mid-life crisis?  It is a transitional age.  "Terrible Twos" is a transitional age between infancy and childhood.  It is characterized by tantrums, as the toddler's abilities lag behind his/her imagination.  Puberty is a transitional age between childhood and adolescence, marked by moodiness and rebelliousness, as maturity comes unevenly, and the youth is caught in an uneasy flux.  Yet another transition marks early adulthood, as independence from one's parents is finally established.

 A mid-life crisis is another such transition.  It is a time when an adult comes to grips with being "old".  Usually this process takes a few years, during which said adult resists it, clinging onto the trappings of youth in some fashion or another. As with other transitional ages, we are expected to "grow out of it".

Am I having a mid-life crisis?

There is a small grain of truth in it.  One butterfly-wing that fluttered me in this direction was the decision that, at my age, I do not wish to bear any more children (barring birth-control failure, acts of G*d, etc....).  Just too hard on my body, too risky, etc.  Then I realized that I kept telling people that I love mommy-ing so much, that if I was 10 years younger, I'd keep going.   So in part, yes, I am aware of aging, and that awareness is probably contributing to a sense of urgency about this cause.

The cause itself, however, is not at all indicative of a mid-life crisis.  It is the same idealism I have transferred from one cause to another since my teens.

25 years ago, I went to college hoping to study biochemistry, become a research scientist, and discover wonderful cures to things like cancer.  Didn't pan out.  I wasn't that good at my biochemistry classes, and the lab work was tedious and didn't seem very inspiring.  The big project of the day was mapping the human genome.  Really important and impressive as a whole, yes, but ultimately a tedious process of filling and centrifuging thousands of test-tubes, and then entering reams of data.  Yawn.  I do not want to devote my life to being a cog in a machine.  At least, that's how it looked to me as I walked away from that.

20 years ago, I was working at a career that I found fun and challenging, but not particularly inspiring.  I channeled my idealism into political activity.  I ran for local office, and decided that I hated selling myself for votes.  I have since continued to participate in political causes I support, but this would not be the motivating force in my life, either.

10 years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom with 3 young children, and I loved teaching them and watching them grow, so I went back to school and got a Master's degree in Education.  I had visions of being a female version of Jaime Escalante ("Stand and Deliver"), inspiring girls to pursue math.  Once again, that didn't quite work out.  I love teaching, but classroom management and faculty politics.... not so much.  I now tutor privately, which is great, but I'm not going to have the kind of dramatic effect on kids' lives that I want to.  I have several former students who turned from timid C-students to confident A-students.  But in the grand scheme of things, this is not the stuff of legacies.  I thought about maybe one day becoming a rabbi.

Now I am once again a stay-at-home mom.  I am actively home-schooling my youngest 2, while helping the others with homework and puberty (see above).  I am still tutoring.  I am still politically involved.  I am blogging. And I still want to make my mark on the world.  I don't intend to ever grow out of that!

No, I'm not having a mid-life crisis.  I am too busy for it!

Speaking of busy, this Sunday my family is participating in the Down Syndrome Buddy Walk.  Will you sponsor us?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Jewish Bloggers
Powered By Ringsurf