It happened like clockwork. I turned 40, and several things hit me at once…

First of all, I needed reading glasses. Then there were the overnight new gray hairs. But there was also a new sense of creative energy brewing. There was a strong desire for the first time in my life to get a tattoo. In a highly visible place.

That was almost two years ago, and restless feelings, a sense that my awareness of time has shifted, and a deepening connection to who I used to be and who I truly am has continued to grow. And while I have observed these changes, at times joking about my impending “mid-life crisis”, I have come to understand that these feelings are here to teach me. To show me something. Possibly to guide me somewhere.

Far too often, we assume that the status quo is just fine. We don’t want to rock the boat, or make waves. It can be scary to have an awakening of sorts. To find new outlets of creativity or a new calling can seem daunting and overwhelming. Or maybe we just don’t allow ourselves the time to explore these possibilities to begin with, shoving them under the rug where we pile up all things that don’t require our immediate attention.

But maybe a mid-life crisis is just what we need. Maybe we need to have little crises all along the way, not just at mid-life. Maybe if we don’t have them, we are asleep. On autopilot. Numb to the possibilities of how life could be richer, deeper, more enchanting.

I am still undecided about that tattoo. I need the glasses more and more each day. ¬†And the gray hairs? Well, those aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But I no longer joke, fear, or judge the mid-life crisis. I welcome it. Because I don’t want to be asleep. However many days are left on my calendar I want to be awake. Present. And feel alive.


woman at the beach

Gina Graham is a photographer, writer, and imperfect human who hopes to make each day count. For more about photography services, or to sign up for the blog, visit