Not Knowing How You Feel

Today I talked with several women about growing older and how–at least in our stages of life–our days feel like an emotional upheaval. During certain times of life ranging from adolescence to any kind of transition, I’ve often taken great comfort in knowing exactly how I feel and why. I take comfort in being predictably happy or at least knowing why I’m not. But these days? I don’t know anything. It’s not just me; my teens don’t know how they feel or why. My friends don’t often know why they feel certain ways. Certain years just feel unstable and like an estrangement from self. My aging friends at work say it’s a New Normal of growing older.

Our emotions and thoughts that once kept us tethered tightly to purpose now fail us. Our steady sense of knowing with certainty what we’re doing and why fades. It’s not bad. It’s just growing up. I tell my teens and I tell myself.

The Italian Mama says to “sit tight” through emotional transitions. It will get better. It’s like the ebb and flow I thought about yesterday. In the meantime, though, I trust in God, not my emotions or even my ability to think clearly as I age. I’m not the same as I was at 20, 30, or 40. A new me emerges during each decade. A new you emerges. We wait. We trust. And we realize that our emotions will change and we won’t often feel like ourselves. But one day, we will.

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