The Phoenix Within: Transforming a Life Crisis into a Journey of Self-Discovery

Hey there, fellow wanderers of the wild and unpredictable adulting realm!  Today I’d like to take you on a little journey that explores the untamed wilderness of the proverbial life crisis.

I know, I know, I feel like I can already hear you saying, “Oh no, this sounds like it’ll be really depressing.”  But, stick with me here, because I would like to offer the perspective that going through my own life crisis was actually one of the best things that ever happened to me.  Sure, it can be kind of terrifyingly depressing at first (I’m not one who is going to flat-out lie to you), but I also think that it can end up being a much-needed kick in the pants in life if you open yourself up to receive its bigger message.  Much like anything else, though, it’s all about your perspective and what you choose to do with the experience.  So, I’d like to take this opportunity to share my hot take on it and provide some new, fresh ways to look at things.

Now, I’ve experienced what most people would call a quarter-life crisis (at least I hope it was because if it was more of a mid-life one then I’m gonna die really young…yikes!).  However, I can only imagine that it feels, looks, and produces much the same effect on a person no matter when it strikes in life.  And, in my honest opinion, there is no life crisis timeline here.

I don’t think that you reach some arbitrary age and all of a sudden you’ve hit the magical life crisis level.  It’s actually way more like you’re just bopping through life minding your own business when all of a sudden *BAM* the life crisis sneaks up on you like a mischievous elf that blows some crazy elf dust into your face leaving you feeling blindsided with no sense of direction.  The crisis elf doesn’t care if you’re at quarter-life, mid-life, or some other point in your existence.  The crisis elf doesn’t care if now is a good time or not.  The crisis elf knows no age and takes no shit!

But, with that being said, I don’t think that the crisis elf is where it actually starts.  In fact, I don’t think it starts off as a crisis at all.  The truth is, I think it only becomes a crisis because we repeatedly ignore the callings.  Now, I’ve heard a lot of theories about soul contracts and destiny and being here to fulfill one main purpose and the like.  And, honestly, I don’t entirely know what I believe about all of that.  The more I learn I feel like the more my opinion changes.  But, one thing I do believe is that we all have these callings in our souls.  These are the deep desires, passions, or pulls within us that drive us and light our souls on fire.  And, I don’t think there has to be only one and I think that they will evolve with us over time.  For many of us, though, we lose sight of the callings as we grow older, we become disconnected from them, or we have learned to deny them altogether.  And, this is unfortunate, but I also don’t think it’s the end of them.  I don’t believe that the callings go away or simply lose interest in us.

Instead, they keep whispering to us.  They continually give us these gentle nudges and subtle signs.  They keep pulling at our shirts hoping to get our attention.  Meanwhile, we shush them and say, “Not now!”  Or we brush them off and continue to go through our rehearsed and robotic life motions.  Or we hold up a finger to tell them to wait, muttering our empty promises of “you’ll get your time someday”.

Eventually, the calling gets tired of being hushed and passed over and ignored.  It says, “If I can’t get you to wake up and pay attention then I will send in someone who will.”  And, that’s when it cues the crisis elf to enter stage left with his magical disorienting dust.  After the dust has settled, you look around and think things like:

“Where am I?”

“How the hell did I get here?”

“Who am I?”

“What the hell am I doing with my life?”

And, “Can I get a damn roadmap so I can out of here?”

So, while the crisis elf and his damn dust can seem like a debilitating nuisance, he actually gets sent in to shake our very foundations and wake us the hell up.  I mean, full permission to have a total freakout or throw a raging tantrum initially…by all means, feel your damn feelings.  But, after that, pull up your big girl britches and realize that he’s actually doing us a favor.  Because we’re all out here going through our lives like we’re mindless drones sent here to do someone else’s bidding.  We’re following made-up rules, chasing the dreams we should want, and trying to be who we think we’re supposed to be.  And, all the while we’re freaking miserable.  But, we’re kept too busy to notice or care.  Or we make up excuses and we tell ourselves stories about why we have to stay in these lanes or why we don’t deserve something other than this.

This was certainly my experience before my life crisis.  I had fallen for all of the rules, shoulds, and supposed to’s you could think of.  I repeatedly fell into the trap of never having the time, I’m not capable, and I’m not worthy of having what I really wanted.

And, from an outsider’s perspective, it probably looked like I had everything going for me.  But, inside I was completely lost.  I felt empty.  I felt trapped.  I was screaming.  And, I was in one of the deepest, darkest depressions I had ever experienced (and I have dealt with some dark depression all of my life, mind you) and I was nosediving at an alarming rate toward rock bottom about to crash and burn completely.  Let’s just say, the outlook wasn’t good…

But, this is where the crisis elf came in and changed everything.  It most definitely rocked my world but, in the end, it was in the best possible way.  Now, don’t hear what I’m not saying.  The crisis itself didn’t magically save me or change me.  But, it woke me the hell up and helped me to start shifting the ways that I looked at and approached my life.  Ultimately, I still had to do the work to change, but it allowed me to recognize that change was, in fact, possible.

To be fair, I didn’t have any clue where to start making changes.  But, just having the thought that change was possible was an expansive enough thought that it provided leverage for me to explore more expansive thoughts.  And, that provided leverage for me to start feeling something different than I had ever felt previously.  Which then provided me leverage to start seeing things around me in a vastly different way.  And, this is when I began to realize that the wool had been pulled way down over my eyes and I had been living a life full of smoke, mirrors, and “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” vibes.

The crisis is where the veil was finally lifted.  And, it was almost like waking up from a twenty-something year's sleep and meeting myself for the first time.  So much time had passed and I didn’t even recognize myself or the world around me.  I didn’t understand how I had gotten to this point or how I had allowed myself to morph into this stranger so willingly.  Sadly, I don’t really think it’s that uncommon, though - especially for those of us that were raised and identify as female.  Female grooming is so dubious in that it starts extremely young and can be oh-so-very subtle and elusive at times that you almost felt like it was your idea all along.  Then, before you know it you’re stripped of your identity and everything that goes along with it and you’ve become a Stepford wife.

And, this is where the crisis taught me that that is exactly where I needed to start when it came to making changes.  I needed to untangle and escape from the twisted web of societal, cultural, and generational constraints that I had been trapped in.  I needed to figure out who I was underneath all of that.  And, who I wanted to be as opposed to who I was taught that I needed to be for everyone else’s sake.  I needed to figure out how to trust myself, how to believe in myself, how to love myself, and even just how to think for myself.  I basically needed to figure out everything about myself while also dealing with the grief of feeling like I had been robbed of a lifetime of me.  Which, by the way, is no easy task when it’s all you’ve ever known and the constraints don’t stop coming just because you’ve figured out that they’re there.

However, herein lies the opportunity to embrace the change that I am talking about.  The opportunity to transform, transmute, and rise up like a phoenix from the ashes.  The opportunity to make choices - choosing different thoughts, different beliefs, different ways of being, and different paths.  The opportunity to find our true voice and start using it.  The opportunity to claim our power and stand tall in our sovereignty.  The opportunity to know and heal ourselves on the deepest levels and learn to find love, peace, and acceptance there. And, aren’t these some beautiful opportunities?

While choosing to walk this path may not come easily, I would argue that feeling like a stranger in your own life and body is not any easier.  And, the path may feel uncomfortable, but I would argue that it is as equally uncomfortable to stay stuck, silent, lost, and miserable.  So, if you find the crisis elf has come a-calling or suspect that he is on his way, then I challenge you to heed your calling rather than run away from it.  I challenge you to view this as an opportunity for growth rather than an obstacle to hold you back.  And, I challenge you to come home to yourself so you can create a life that is authentically yours rather than a life you feel like you need to escape from.

You are ultimately your own answer.  You have what it takes.  You have value.  You are worthy.  And, you have the power to make those changes in your own life.  But, nothing changes if nothing changes.  So, you start simply by making a choice.  Choosing to make a change.  Choosing to think a more expansive thought.  Choosing to grow.  And, most importantly, choosing yourself.

So, I ask you, what are you going to choose?

Feeling like you've been hit by the crisis elf and looking for more insight and guidance?  Then grab my From Crisis to Crushing It ebook HERE!


Written by Guest Blogger Becky Scheliga

Becky Scheliga is an assistant at Creative U Healing, helping out with things behind the scenes so that Larissa can do more to help other folks. She is also a Self-Relationship & Empowerment Coach helping creative, witchy, misfit, weirdo women discover and connect with their inner magic so they can ditch the should/supposed to bullshit they've been told to follow and create a life that feels more aligned, fulfilling, and authentic to who they actually are.  She's also a mental illness warrior and neurodivergent unicorn sharing her life experiences in order to advocate for change and help others.  And, when she's not busy with all of that, you can find her curled up with a good book or fulfilling her wanderlust and exploring the world.

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