Sunday, October 4

Mid-Life Change Requires a New Coat of Arms

Life is fairly predictable.

When we first become adults, we think we are quite special and quite unique.  We hear the clichés about life and think:  That's not going to be me/usWe are tremendously different.

As young adults, my husband and I were crazy with love.  (I have a box full of thirty-year-old poems and love notes to prove it)  We never thought we would do anything typical or cliché.  I would certainly never experience menopausal madness and cruelty.  He would certainly never experience a mid-life crisis and start acting like a twenty year old when he is fifty years old.  The kids were absolutely never going to grow up.  I'd be waking up for midnight feedings forever.  And of course, they would never move away or marry, they would be mine forever.....

Then, life happened.  Fast.  We put a slightly unique spin on our lives, but otherwise, typical.  Sure enough, the empty nest came.  I wandered the empty house in a stupor, tears on my face, screams rolling from my throat; my husband, oblivious.  Menopause arrived and my hormones took the wheel.  I became so incredibly angry.  Then my husband realized he was fifty.  Fifty!  For crying out loud!! And what had he done with his life?!  He'd been in a cubicle like an animal at the zoo.  He'd been driving mini vans and trying to placate an angry, plump, gray-haired woman.  So he found some single friends living the high life and he left.

Again I stumbled through an empty house in an angry stupor.

Six months later, I came up for air.  The kids were nearby.  The grandkids were playing at my feet.  I was OK, but my "family" had changed.  Now it was just me.  As I reflected on my new family of one, I decided I needed a new coat of arms.

Designing a coat of arms forced me to examine the new me.  What symbols represent my new "family" -- me?  No last name, just a first name, just…… me. 

I studied the parts of a coat of arms and the symbolism.  I studied myself.  I studied various styles for a coat of arms and chose what I like.

Making choices was something I learned to do after everyone left me.  Prior to that, I made choices based on who was living with me, what did they want.  Now I had to make my own choices and that was a skill I had to learn.  I spent nine months learning who I am and how to represent that visually.  Tomorrow I will share what I have learned and how it is embodied in this coat of arms.

Making a coat of arms taught me to make choices.
Making a coat of arms taught me who I am.

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