Listening to Pantsuit Politics talk about the surprising resignation of Jacinda Ardern. It was an interesting comparison they made with Nancy Pelosi’s retirement and the possibility of Joe Biden running again—people of advanced age who have gone on longer than they should in public office.
But I want to take this back to my post earlier this week about the New midlife crisis that’s hitting Gen X women. We are burned out. Out of gas. We hit the limit of our humanity and are walking way.
I have not had the opportunity to serve publicly, but I’ve been serving my whole life. In ways my resume will never show, and it’s what would make me a trustworthy leader. Not perfect, but you wouldn’t need to question my intention. I’m also burned out. Without the crisis that hit my family at the end of my seminary career, I was already begging for rest. I did not want to create a resume, apply for awards, or prove myself to anyone else again. I had hit my limit.
In seminary I faced the following: my spiritual trauma—I read scripture I never wanted to read again and now I can preach healing; I got a therapist and worked on my personal healing; Covid hit just as I was hitting my stride, and like so many others, I came down with what I now know is chronic loneliness; I preached in front of professors in Perkins chapel (I never thought I would preach and that was a BIG deal); I helped create the Baptist House of Studies; I worked another job; I was a parent; etc.
I was done. And a crisis came. It was so unfair.
I think it’s worth noting this intersectionality. Women in their early 40s are calling it in.
Yes, we need therapists and behavior specialists. You know what else we need? A more just society.
This burnout is not a personal one. It’s societal. We need people on the front end preventing the need for so many therapists. They can’t meet this demand. We need work that creates the secure attachments and trust—not just responses to all the breaking of attachments and trust.