Midlife is the old age of youth and the youth of old age.
Today I turn 40 years old. By the law of averages and the average life expectancy for a non-smoking American male, my life on earth at least half over.
I guess I had better write down one of those numbers for life insurance off the TV. I wonder if it rings Alex Trebek’s house directly?
This first half could have been better. I could have done things different but I am not one to live in the past. Onward future–a 100 miles per hour without wearing a safety helmet!
So, with all of that, I decided to go to the greatest invention ever created by Al Gore and look to see what a mid-life crisis is all about. Here are some questions one should ask themselves at the ripe old age of Cuarenta.
- Looking into the mirror and you no longer recognize yourself. Well, I am sorry to say that I have no problems here. I have looked pretty much the same since the 7th grade. Big head and all. Thanks for the middle school pic from Fred Lynn, Brian.
- Desiring to quit a good job. I have never had a job that I could actually “quit” from. I have always signed my own paychecks, so how can I quit doing that?
- Changing or investigating new religions, churches or new age philosophy. This is an interesting one. I have been fascinated about the world’s religions since I took my favorite class in college: Comparative Religion. I learned more in that class than I ever did in English Comp.
- Change of habits. Activities which used to bring pleasure now are boring. Unable to complete or concentrate on tasks which used to be easy. Pineapple upside down cake would be a great analogy to my change of habits right now.
- It feels good to get hurt. Hmm. I love to get hurt. In fact, just about this time a decade or so ago, I was an avid skydiver and my last jump cost me a small tear in the ole’ ACL. I wonder if I will ever make jump number 170? If George 40 can do it at a ripe old age so can I.
- Wanting to run away from everything. You can always run, but you can’t hide, right?
- A desire to get into physical shape. I am not doing this for myself but for my dogs! It is not fair to them to have to pull Yukon Cornelius down the trail, is it?
- Irritability or unexpected anger. I am self employed, I am 2300 miles from my family, there is not a single 7-11 in the state of Alaska in which to grab a midnight Big Gulp. Who wouldn’t be irritable? Not to mention that Starbucks is 25 miles away.
- Change in allergies. I have had some of the worst seasonal allergies than anyone I know. I am surprised I am not living in a bubble. Hey, maybe I could get Jerry Seinfeld to come for a visit?
- Desire for physical -Free Flowing- movement (Running, Biking, Dance, Fast red sports cars, Sky diving, etc). I guess I started this “crisis” a year ago when I decided to come up to Alaska to train for, and eventually run, the Iditarod. Regarding dancing: I was teaching break dance lessons in my moms garage in the early 80s and charging a quarter, wearing a Michael Jackson glove, parachute pants and all.
- Exploring new musical tastes. Love it all from Classical to Rap. My iPod ( and iPhone) goes with me just about everywhere. I have 6700 songs on it and I see it as a soundtrack to my life.
- Sudden desire to learn how to play an instrument. Been playing guitar since I was 16. Had a popular band called Rainmaker. Thought I was going to be the next Kirk Hammett (Metallica).
- Sudden interest in drawing, painting, writing books or poetry. Ha! that’s it! I am suffering from a mid-life crisis! I have started my first book.
- Shifting sleep patterns (Typically to less). Yep, got me here too. I just don’t know what I am going to do this summer here in Alaska when it gets dark at 3 AM.
- Thinking about death, wondering about the nature of death. Nah, my glass is always half full. I don’t wonder about death. I think prolonging death is a selfish act upon those you don’t want to let you go. I know that is deep, hey, I’m being honest here…
- Extreme changes to what you eat. I am surviving on pizza, simple meals and Coke Zero. I have refused my whole life to eat at a restaurant alone. That is just creepy weird.
- Excessively buying new clothes and taking more time to look good. I have not worn regular clothes since August. My new wardrobe consists of Carharts, Bib over-alls, a parka and a pair of Neo’s. I will admit that this new wardrobe has set me back a pretty penny, however.
- Hair changes. (Natural changes in thickness, luster, color or Assisted changes in dying hair suddenly or shaving your head bald). I have never thought gray hair was much of a problem. Now gray hair with a mullet is a different story. Take that Barry Melrose!
- A desire to surround yourself with different settings. Can’t get much different here than where I was a year ago. Last year was in white-middle-class suburbia with fake Americana and a yard small enough that you could hand my neighbor a Kleenex if he sneezed. Today. a town of 2500 people and to reference #8, not a 7-11 within a thousand miles.
- Upset at where society is going. Experience a desire to change the world for the better. Now that you don’t need an excuse like a pesky mid-life crisis for. Or just maybe, this is exactly what P-BO was experiencing when he was campaigning for Prez.
- Feeling trapped or tied down by fiscal responsibilities. Does this mean money? No, not trapped at all (sarcasm firmly in place).
- A desire to teach others or become a healer. I have always taught others. I have even conducted a sweat lodge ceremony or two. Does that make me a healer?
- Desiring a simple life. Its looking more and more like I am about to have that crisis!
- Excessively looking back to one’s childhood. Now, this is another one that I do quite a bit. Why? Because I am tired of the History Channel showcasing the 60s. The 80s was the greatest generation. How not? It was the era of MTV, video games, acid wash jeans, and WHAM!
- Keep re-asking yourself: “Where am I going with my life?” Nope, I know exactly where I am going and exactly where I have been.
- Getting fixated on new “wonder” solutions to problems. Who doesn’t want to change the world? I don’t think turning 40 has anything to do with that.
- Someone unexpectedly exclaims: “You are going through a midlife crisis!” Bring it on…
So with that said, I look to my neighbors to the East. Who else but the Chinese of course. They know everything and if they don’t they will make a product for it anyway…
A Dangerous Opportunity
The Chinese word for crisis readily shows these two basic elements. In the Chinese language the ideogram for crisis is made up of two separate characters. One of these characters represents “danger” and the other represents “opportunity.” Thus the proper translation of crisis from Chinese is as a “dangerous opportunity.” Any crisis in our lives provides the chance for change and growth — the opportunity — as well as the risk of regression or stagnation — the danger. In the images of Quest, Metamorphosis, or Renaissance both opportunity and danger exist. You may not always attain the goal of the Quest, the Metamorphosis may not be complete, and the Renaissance may be a still birth. The danger of midlife is very real. Successful transition to the next life stage is not guaranteed.
So you be the judge. Am I suffering? Inquiring minds want to know.
Hey identity thieves: You now know my date of birth. Contact by email and I will give you my Social too!