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Are You There, Midlife Crisis? It’s Me, NutBag.

May 13th, 2015

“He’s having a midlife crisis,” my mom whispered as we watched my dad’s boss dismount his new Harley and saunter up our driveway clad in full-body leather. A handsome man with silver hair, light blue eyes, and a cleft chin, his existential crisis was as cliche as his physical description. It fell off him, shedding angst cells, and spreading its insecurities like a virus. I was only 20, but I understood perfectly that this man was not at ease with this new persona, and probably didn’t like the one he was trying to escape, either.

 

He was experimenting with identities.

 

Classic midlife crisis.

 

I didn’t comprehend it then, and up until about two years ago, I still laughed at midlife crisis manifestations: fifty-something men buying sports cars, married women having affairs with masseuses, people chucking it all and moving to the Isle of Wight. How could an idea, a feeling, a vagueity grab mad hold of a person and make them do things like purchase chaps and install hair plugs? Does the peacock male strutting around the bar not know his iron hold on a woman half his age looks too…earnest? Does the woman wearing a tube top her teenager owns not know that underwire bras are standard-issue garments when you’re over 35?

 

Are these poor, lost, garishly-dressed people unaware that their midlife crisis is a big arrow pointing at their face?

 

Probably not, although I have my own dim sense that I’m losing control of my youth, I have a similarly dim conviction that it’s still OK to get a Chinese symbol tattoo.

 

Because I’m having a midlife crisis.

 

Everyone’s mid-point freakout shows itself differently. I have no desire to step out on my husband or pilot a yellow Maserati, but I’m reallocating the balances on my 401(k) plan like there’s no tomorrow. Because there might not be.

 

That’s how my midlife crisis presents itself:

 

WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!

AND IT COULD HURT!

WHO’S GOING TO PAY FOR MY NURSING HOME?

I DON’T WANT TO DIE IN A NURSING HOME!

SHOULD I KILL MY HUSBAND FOR HIS LIFE INSURANCE?

IT’S MY ONLY RETIREMENT PLAN!

 

And don’t even get me started on how I’m re-reading my old journal entries to revisit my youth.

 

May 12, 1996

Life Plan:

-Write a book

-Do yoga

-Be happy with what you have

-Buy a house

 

May 12, 2015

Life Plan:

-Write a book

-Do yoga

-Be happy with what you have

-Buy a house

-Possibly kill husband

 

Nearly twenty years gone by, and I read like the same exact person with the same exact goals. When do I reach those goals? I HAVE TO DO IT NOW.

 

But I’m so tired.

 

More Dr.-Oz-recommended vitamins from Sprouts!

 

Do I have cancer?

 

Will Starbucks hire me when I’m 70?

 

Should I travel more?

 

What kind of example am I to my kids? I haven’t spread my own wings yet!

 

Will my kids come visit me in the nursing home?

 

WHO’S GOING TO PAY FOR THE NURSING HOME?

 

Let me stop myself there, because the thing is, 46 is not that old. Only 10 years ago, I was still considered a little young still. But 10 years from now, I’ll be almost 60. How are the years so wily? How do just a few back-to-back 10-year-spans mean the difference between a newly-issued driver’s license and a recently procured AARP card?

 

I feel bad for flies.

 

After that afternoon chatting up my dad’s boss and ignoring him pulling at his Levi’s uncomfortably bunched between his crotch and chaps, I kept a wary eye on what midlife crises can do to a person. Over the years, I watched seemingly normal contributors to society leave spouses, careers, and homes. And some of the time, those transitions made sense; were a sort of leap to something they’ve always wanted to do and felt compelled to do NOW BEFORE THE NURSING HOME; and other times, those moves were knee-jerk reactions to life traipsing on; a sort of rock thrown at the status quo just because the rock could still be thrown.

 

I don’t know what rock I’m going to throw, and at what, but I dearly hope I retain some sense of self in my mid-crisis interim that even the most body-covering chaps can’t conceal.

 

It’s a shaky time of self-doubt, insecurity, and downright fear, yes, but no different than all the other times I’ve felt that way, which is always, judging from every journal I’ve ever kept.

 

So I’m getting a Chinese-symbol tattoo that means “Get over it” with another that says, “I let my husband live.”

 

And for the record, my dad’s boss is a happy man in his 70s with his wife and college-age son happily forgetful of his motorcycle phase.

 

I will forget my own crisis someday. Probably when I’m in the nursing home.

 

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On May 15th, 2015, Maggie Unzueta said:

That was the BEST thing I’ve read all day. I have to share this everywhere!

On May 15th, 2015, Kristin Helms said:

Such a hilarious glimpse at what we’re all really thinking and worrying about! Nicely put! :)

On May 15th, 2015, Abby Burd said:

It doesn’t matter how often you update it, but it’s great to read a tiny bit of honesty on the web. Keep it up! (Or don’t.) But it is appreciated.

On May 15th, 2015, green girl in wisconsin said:

I think that crisis is more of a male problem maybe, though I don’t know. I have about 10 years before I have mine I guess.
Don’t sweat that nursing home, the way I figure it, the baby boomers will need SO many nice rooms that there will be PLENTY of space for us coming along behind them. That’s my take on it, anyway. By the time we need it, it will be sorted out.

On May 15th, 2015, Joann Woolley said:

I’m not looking forward to my midlife crisis. Do we ever figure it all out? Maybe it is because we have this goal oriented society that we see this phenomenon occurs – the super high goals and keeping up with the Jones’ type of mentality that I find myself thinking about regularly! I wonder what steps we take to avoid the whole thing…. I don’t want to think about killing my husband!

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