36 going on 16

Andrea Levoff Chicago Mom Blogger, About Andrea LevoffAm I in mid life? I guess there’s no real way of knowing but when a friend sent me Brené Brown’s essay, “ on mid-life unravelings”  the other day, I knew I was definitely experiencing an unraveling. And last time I checked I wasn’t a teenager.

Though lately it does feel like I’m 36 going on 16.

Who knew I still had so much to learn in relationships, in parenting, as well, just about every area of my life?  The ways of being and patterns I thought I had mastered have reared their familiar heads once again.

I’ve always been of the growth mindset, self improvement is my second favorite thing to tacos. So it’s not out of my comfort zone to go in instead of out. Talking about personal growth, reading about personal growth, coaching other people in personal growth, totally my comfort zone.

What’s not so much in my comfort zone is to express my learning OUTWARDLY and to share openly about what I’m going through. The irony is, as I get older I’m more aware of the gifts I have to give and the areas in my life that I may be holding back. Sometimes I feel less likely to express them. I think about my kids, who have little awareness of the part they play in the world, but absolutely have no issue showing up in a BIG way.

Andrea Levoff Chicago Mom Blogger, About Andrea Levoff

I think that’s why I loved reading Brene’s article and what rang so true to me was the sense of urgency she mentioned as you get older. That whisper that use to gently nudge us to be something more becomes more of a loud talker, or sometimes a scream.

At 16 it’s feather tickling our smooth, voluptuous cheeks to be more expressed, to be more of ourselves.  At 36 it feels more like a Botox injection. Or a kick in the shin from one of my children. Other times it’s a realization. Time is running out. Life is precious. How is it that you want to show up in this world?

And like a toddler throwing a tantrum, the more we ignore those yearnings, the louder they get, until we can’t ignore them any longer and they have gone defcon 10 in the beauty isle at Whole Foods.

It helps to acknowledge them. I see you, I hear you, what you have to say is valid.

I think the scariest thing about mid-life unravelings is that we have worked so hard to get where we are, even if what we have worked hard to get isn’t working anymore.

Whether it be a bad job, marriage or way of being. We’ve worked hard to make it work.

The scary part comes in when we assume that whatever is coming won’t be as good as what we had. Or worse, what if there’s nothing else coming?

The thing about things falling apart is that when they are over there’s still something there. Nothing ever completely deteriorates, although as things come apart sometimes they feel that way.

The key for me is to remind myself that at the end of all unravelings is an opportunity to put things back together, perhaps in a better or more aligned way. Or maybe it’s an opportunity to say that’s not working anymore. Let me try this way instead. Almost always as the dust settles we finally remember the truth, maybe for the first time. Either way it’s a sigh of relief.

“Oh yes, that’s who I am, I fahhwwwking forgot for a minute.”

I can’t say I’m always happy for the lessons. but I can say I’m always happy to be on the path. Without the path there is just pain. And when we are on our path, underneath the pain is always purpose. I am reminded that as we forgive ourselves and others that’s where the light comes in. That’s where God makes himself known.

Andrea Levoff Chicago Mom Blogger, About Andrea Levoff

So, here I am. Maybe mid-life… and  I’ve begun to do that surrender thing once again. More dancing, less white knuckling.

36 going on 16, 16 going on 36, life going on life.




  1. Shany
    June 6, 2018 / 7:09 pm

    Loved reading this article! I am sending these feelings are about to come up when intern 30 in a year 🙈

    • andrealevoff
      June 6, 2018 / 11:03 pm

      I’m so glad it resinated with you. They will probably come up but at least you can know they are normal!

  2. Rob
    June 7, 2018 / 4:50 pm

    This is so refreshing to hear (coming from a dad). Reinventing and the fear of the unknown can feel really scary.

    Our kids live in the moment. Why can’t we just roll like they do?

    • andrealevoff
      June 8, 2018 / 2:54 am

      I totally agree! Our kids can teach us so much !

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