Mid-life crisis—ever feel like you’re having one? Even if you’re only 25? Don’t panic. It’s normal. Sometimes we feel like we have them every other year.
And it might actually be something called “phase of life,” and sometimes we need a little help in negotiating through one phase to get to the next.
Where we get tripped up is trying to apply where we were five years ago to what we’re feeling now, without realizing that we’ve moved past that phase and onto a new one.
When you turn a certain age, there are equivalent psycho-emotional (as well as physical and spiritual) changes that occur for you that no one really talks about. You think you’re going crazy, but it’s simply life.
Sometimes it’s hard. You want to feel the way you felt when you were 30, but you’re not 30 anymore. Partly you felt those things at that age because that’s what being 30 feels like! That’s why you had those experiences, and that’s what you were supposed to feel! That’s a phase of life. But you can’t go back. And we get stuck when we don’t want to release parts of who we used to be to make room for new parts that are wanting to be expressed as we move onto a new phase.
You can recall an age only to examine how much growth has occurred, and use those realizations as touchstones of how your awareness has shifted around things, but you can’t go back to recreate something—not in acting, or in life. Moments can’t be recreated. That’s like a snake (if snakes could talk) saying, “Let me go back and get into that old skin that I molted out of last year because I preferred it.” It’s outgrown, discarded, and no longer suitable for the growth that moves us—or a snake—onto a new phase.
And that also means different phases may make you feel more vulnerable or exposed or naked or shut-off or something else unfamiliar. Unfamiliar doesn’t mean bad, it just means new. When this happens, it’s about allowing yourself to be where you are, even if it doesn’t always feel good. It too shall pass.
Hugh Jackman says that acting is all about becoming awake. “Acting training, or the life of being an actor, is really about being awake. It’s an opportunity to wake up.”
But really, that’s life itself. Every moment is an opportunity to be more fully awake, but becoming awake doesn’t mean it’s always going to feel like Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. Being awake means having the awareness of how you sometimes have contrary feelings about where you are. That’s still awareness. You’re aware of new feeling—sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s discomfort or restlessness. You’re aware of newness. You’re aware of how you’ve changed.
Try to ride the phase of life that you’re in. Enjoy it. Become aware of what it wants to show you, and for goodness snakes, slough off that old outworn skin you don’t need anymore and celebrate that you’ve made it this far and continue to outgrow—meaning you’ve evolved into something even better.
A new phase.
Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and artistic director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) with studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Vancouver. It was honored by Backstage three years in a row and named the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read).
Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. It releases on iTunes and DVD in March of 2014. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, and CW KTLA. He has been a guest speaker at the GATE 2013 Story Conference, founded by Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle, and David Lynch's Masters in Film Program (Maharishi University of Management).
He is also the author of the best-selling creativity book, At Left Brain Turn Right, which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Check out Meindl's free smartphone app on iTunes. Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.