I have occasionally met people in this life who seem to be truly accepting of every part of themselves. They accept themselves so deeply that whatever their “conditions” of life are, they don’t let it faze them. They accept life on life’s terms so gracefully that they can move through life with far more peace. As I am about to turn 50, I feel like the mid-life crisis I’m having is all about a recovering addict’s last stand of truly letting go of control and finally accepting life on life’s terms.
Why I say this is because something so simple and unaffecting to another continues to affect me greatly. Take for example me coming home late one evening recently, after having left earlier in the day to my extremely well-groomed yard and swept-clean driveway, only to see a gazillion whirlybirds from all the maple trees surrounding my home covering it all. Immediately, my OCD kicks in. My mind quickly races ahead to all the work that will be required to clean it up, including whether my partner will even help me with any of it. I spin out of control in the process and feel a total lack of control. Instead, my lack of acceptance becomes quite apparent and creates the exact opposite of peace within me. I then enter my home feeling charged, where having acceptance of life on life’s terms would have another individual entering their home without having given any of those whirlybirds even the slightest bit of negative thought.
The idea I’m turning 50 in a few weeks has really shed light on a part of my recovery from addiction. I still worry far too much in life because of my lack of acceptance with living life on life’s terms, and I lose an insatiable amount of peace in life because of it. I don’t want to spend what life I have left beyond 50 being like this. Yet, I haven’t been successful moving beyond it either. Maybe that’s because I frequently find myself thinking more about what it really means to accept life on life’s terms than just doing it? Instead of just doing it, I mind screw myself by constantly asking questions like, “Does me accepting this mean it’s always going to be this way?” or “Will me accepting this lead to feeling some sense of loss somehow?” or “Is me accepting this simply giving up in life?”
Being raised in the dysfunctional addicted family I was created this pattern that became the exact opposite of accepting life on life’s terms. And becoming the addict I became in life for as long as I was only made that worse. I spent decades not accepting life on life’s terms and instead striving for this, and striving for that, fighting for this, and fighting for that, believing I deserved this, and believing that I deserved that, all for what? It’s done nothing for me in life but stress me out immensely, which in turn has only stressed out everyone that has grown close to me. It’s affected my partner deeply at times, and my closest of friends as well. All because I never truly learned how to just accept life on life’s terms.
Turning 50, what I desire the most for the rest of what life I have ahead is to learn how to fully accept life on life’s terms. I want to be able to look at things like whirlybirds falling everywhere in my yard and driveway and not be bothered by them at all, instead having a sense of peace surrounding it, a peace that can only come from having acceptance.
Acceptance is such the foreign thing for many-an-addict, especially for those who come from addict-based families, as addicts in general tend to try to control everything rather than accept them as is. Finding recovery from addiction is about a lot of things, but one very important one is learning how to accept life on life’s terms, instead of always trying to control life. I’ve been in recovery long enough now to realize it’s the one area I could still use improvement in. I really just want to let go of whatever control I think I still need and instead leave it in God’s hands.
So, I pray God helps me find this as I turn 50. I pray God helps me move beyond this mid-life crisis, a crisis of my own making, one that’s very much due to my lack of acceptance of life on life’s terms, and directly based upon me not feeling in control. Because letting go of that control and accepting life on life’s terms will actually allow me to see something like whirlybirds falling from the sky as a gift of creation and a beauty of nature, and not solely as another angst in life…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson