Grain Silos by Sharon Popek

Midlife Angst: Part 1

I’m a 40+, closer to the just under 50 group actually and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I see young people, in their 20s and 30s, who know exactly what they want to do with their lives. They have a plan and they are following it. It can be depressing and frustrating for me to see people so put together when I feel like so lost and unsure. I know there are jokes about midlife crises for men and women. And there is teen angst. But right now, this feels like midlife angst.

Grain Silos by Sharon Popek
Grain Silos somewhere in Illinois

When I first started my “dream job”, over 6 years ago, there was a young co-worker who got a job offer from a different company. I could not understand why she would want to leave such a great place. She seemed happy and on a great career path there. But she explained that she had a specific plan. She had always planned to leave and go to this next level, it was just happening earlier than she expected. I understood it. But I didn’t “get” it. Because I never had a plan.

Train Station by Sharon Popek
Train Station

Well, that’s not true. In college, I had a plan. I would go to graduate school, get my masters and then become a tenured professor at a small private college. Lots of people are laughing at me right now. Go easy on me, at the time, it was not as pipe dreamy as it is now. Also, it was in Fine Arts, so no need for a PhD. However, I did not get into grad school. This left me dangling in the wind and maybe a little scared. But I was young and thought I’d just get a decent job and try for grad school the next year. That did not happen.

Roots in Bottles by Sharon Popek
Roots in bottles

I never tried again for grad school. Once I started working full-time, I got used to having things, like regular food and clothes and a bank account. Going back to school was not in the cards for me. Do I regret that now? Sometimes, but I am definitely NOT going back to school at this point in my life. So, it doesn’t matter, does it?

They say to keep blogs short and sweet, so I will make this midlife angst business a series for you to read over time. The images in this installment were all taken either in college or just after (over 25 years ago). 

To be continued…

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5 thoughts on “Midlife Angst: Part 1”

  1. Sharon, college when I did it was a plan that fulfilled my family’s dreams for me, but looking back was a blessing in disguise. My teaching years weren’t always easy but ultimately rewarding, especially now when I’m connected to many of my former students who are much older than I was on the Very First Day of School behind the desk instead of in front of it. If I had to start college today, I would have no plan, and if not for family expectations would have had a different plan that likely would have been much less practical and satisfying. I look forward to the next installments of your blog, and always enjoy your photos.

    1. Thank you! It’s always been easy for me to just go with the flow. But right now, I feel I need to push back a little more.

  2. Interesting how older images can evoke such powerful and sometimes differing from the time feelings! Esp like your last image. The tonal differences and movements of masses and lines is powerful yet at rest.

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