A few weeks ago, after a very long day at work and longer evening at home, I found my husband at the computer reading intently. When I asked him what he was up to, he told me he was reading about midlife crises. Which got me thinking, isn’t that the time when middle-aged guys buy fancy (sport) cars and have affairs with (much) younger women? What on earth was HE doing reading about midlife crises…Oh. My. God. Was HE having a midlife crisis?? What does this mean???!!
Run upstairs, grab iPad, start research…FAST!
Psychology Today refers to midlife as: “Mortality and the idea that time is running out [which] can leave a middle-aged person feeling discontent and restless. Often this 40- to 60-year-old may have a need to reassess life and its meaning.”
Hang on then…does this mean that I might be having a mid life crisis? At thirty-X and fast approaching 40, am I middle aged? I mean, I have more laugh lines and crows feet than I used to, and sometimes I huff and puff after just a flight of stairs. Then there’s the music on the radio… sometimes it just sounds like noise. And just the other day, I was driving home from work and a bunch of kids were crossing the street in front of me and I can’t believe their choice in clothes these days – my mother would’ve never let me leave the house looking like that!
Uh oh, I’m feeling warm, I’m feeling agitated…and oh my goodness, restless!! I am in full, DEFCON 1 crisis mode!!!
I think I AM middle aged!! I mean, I don’t think I can even remember the last time I did anything spontaneously like tried to get into the latest, most hip lounge/bar/restaurant on a Saturday night after 10 pm that didn’t have any high chairs, kids menus or crayons….what does this all mean?
I continued my search for an answer when Google took me in a different direction. Apparently, in today’s kinder, gentler lexicon, we should no longer be referring to a midlife crisis as a “crisis”, but rather as a transition – a period of tremendous growth. Transition? Really?
I admit, I’ve been searching for how to leave my mark…searching for something more. I ask myself regularly, have I done all that I want to do? Achieved all that I want to achieve? Should I just be content with where I’m at??? And then there’s the list. You know…THAT list. The one we all have. And if you’re anything like me, you have a few of those lists: categorized, colour-coded, time sequenced…the works. I haven’t even started to knock items off MY list!
And now I’m middle aged??? I’m going through a midlife crisis?! I mean…transition? I’m so confused. I yearn for the past when things were simpler. The present seems so overwhelming and don’t even get me started about the future – positively, terrifying!
And wait, I didn’t even bring this up…my husband did. The big “M” has infected my household!!!!
It’s all starting to make sense now. Seemingly, out of nowhere, my husband decides that it was important to get in touch with his Scottish roots before he dies – he’s 41 and healthy as a horse. For him, that means learning to play bagpipes. Not guitar (mmm…sexy), or drums (cool), or even the piano (hello)…bagpipes. See, when my husband was just a young boy, his mom would take him to a sweet, little old lady’s house for piano lessons. She would pull into the piano teacher’s driveway to drop him off, and then he would have to make his own way home. But instead of going in, my husband would sneak around to the side of the house, wait until his mother’s car was gone, and then kill time wandering around the neighbourhood for an hour. This went on for weeks!!
And right now, at this very moment, my husband is “learning” to play his chanter (an instrument that looks like a long recorder but sounds like an elephant with a stuffy trunk) which he bought online and just arrived today. This instrument is to bagpipes, as a tricycle is to a bicycle…and, I mean no disrespect, I THANK GOD that we have not yet graduated to the real thing!
But NOW he practices. NOW he’s making up for lost time. And NOW I’m listening to the two other “chanter enthusiasts” try to get in on the act but daddy doesn’t want to share his precious new toy. So instead, I’m surrounded by the noise of none other than my own, “pop-up boy band” comprised of the chanter-to-be-bagpipe player, the guitarist, and the drummer.
Akh! I can’t think!
I have evaluated, re-evaluated and re-re-evaluated my purpose, my career, and “what I want to be when I grow up”. I have given up, picked myself up and continued my search for MY holy grail more times than I can remember.
And what have I learned? That the big “M” is indeed a transition. That it is ongoing…like learning to play the chanter. I’ve been through some of life’s most notable and trying times – all of which continue to shape who I am, and undoubtedly, who I will be. And while the chanter is now in the hands of my 3 year old, under the tutelage of my husband and accompanied by the loud stomps of my nearly 7 year old, and I still feel like I’m nowhere near figuring everything out, I know that I have now, this moment, this memory during my midlife, that despite all of my transitioning, I will never forget.