I think I’m having a mid life crisis.
I have felt it for months, thundering towards me with the tyranny of expectation.
It wasn’t like I hadn’t been warned. Friends and family have gone on about the bite of disenchantment that sets in during the forty-something period. The strain it causes. It’s not just character building, it’s character challenging.
What’s it all about? played on repeat is no fun. It has left me feeling uneasy and unfocused.
All these questions I have no answers to. They go round and round in my head so quickly that I wonder if I’ll ever be able to walk sanely again. Pondering, philosophising, pontificating daily on the state of the world is exhausting.
I know that, but I can’t help myself.
My mid-life crisis is here and I can’t run away from it.
Besides, I love to say pontificate. It sounds slightly dirty.
My grandmother told me her forties were the most difficult time of her life. The world gets harder and harder to live in the older you get, she often said. The trick is learning to rise above it. To not let the people who don’t seem to care about anything get to you. To hold onto the hope that the things you feel powerless to change will in fact, change; because life means change. Life is change.
And there’s the rub. I haven’t mastered the trick of it yet. Part sleight of hand, part mind over matter; rising above it is as difficult a skill to master as walking a tightrope. The caring what happens to people. The anxiousness at what will happen to the world if we go on like this.
When I was 21, my friend caught her father having an affair with a woman half his age. He blamed his mid-life crisis and the fact that the new Porsche he had just bought had gone to his head.
He’s afraid of getting old, she said. He thinks that fast cars and faster women will keep him young.
I’m not afraid of getting old, but I am afraid of the me I used to know, used to be, getting forgotten. Not by others. By myself.
Remember the person you were when you were 14 years old and the capacity you had for hope, excitement, joy seemed limitless? You imagined the future in your head like a vast ocean brimming with blue that went on forever and ever. You had no doubt you could swim that ocean if you had to because you were you; you knew what you were capable of. You knew you could tackle anything with gusto and verve.
Sometimes I forget that girl. She gets lost in the forest of worry and woe that encroaches on my front door. She falls in puddles and can’t get up. She cries over things she cannot fix.
I want to remember that girl. I want to feel the zing she used to have in her step. I want to laugh at her singing in front of the mirror with a hairbrush microphone and pink leg warmers. I want that girl back.
A mid life crisis is a bitch.
Maybe a little red sports car is the only thing that will help.
Or a 25 year old masseur named Sven.