I agree that sometimes life just gets in the way. I lived on a horse as a child and as a teenager. Then college, law school, life overseas, children and life in general got in the way.
When my daughter turned 7 or 8 she and I both got the bug. I have now turned into my mother and I know that even if I stopped riding tomorrow, I will be taking care of horses for the remainder of their lives (and my oldest is 5!)
I refuse to feel guilty when I don't ride during boys soccer season or girls soccer season or when the weather is cold...... That is what I have resigned myself to paying a trainer for. Don't let guilt get in the way of enjoying the time that you do choose to spend with your horse.
I can relate. I go through periods where life gets busy and I don't ride for weeks or months. During those times, I don't even want to ride. Then the pendulum swings back to riding 5+ days a week.
I moved out of state for a whole YEAR for a teaching fellowship and left my horses behind. Honestly, I didn't miss them most of that year. At the time, I was even trying to sell my young horse. Boy, I'm sure glad I didn't...
When I was a kid, life was horseshorseshorses nonstop. Now that I'm an adult, I have other interests and activities that I enjoy equally. Not a midlife crisis, it's just part of getting older.
Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO
There's only so much mental energy a person has. When it's all used up (by anything you're doing, thinking, or WORRYING about), there's no more. And how can you think your horse experience is WASTED???!!!??? Didn't you LEARN anything? Develop physically?
After going through hell to diagnose and treat my mare's lameness issues, I just couldn't take any more horse stuff when she went lame again. Three years later, the bug bit again and I picked up a two year old and am at the barn nearly every day.
If it's important to you, and it sounds like it is, let yourself take a break--as long as you need--but keep a toe in the pool somehow, so you can get back into later when the time is right.
It comes, it goes. The going is getting closer together, but, my focus has changed. While it used to be non-stop riding/showing/etc, now I'm happy to watch my horse(s) (see other post) just hold the pasture down. A lot of my owies came from horses in the first place and my fears have kind of taken root a bit. So, with the help of a lot of people on this board, I've found there are other ways to enjoy a horse, even if it's a bit afar at times.
I'm curious, why would you think the 27 years were wasted if you aren't quite as interested/motivated as before?? Wasted??