Mid-life and Me

12 Jun

I’ve recently discovered what’s wrong with me. All of a sudden, my seemingly erratic emotions and actions of the past four years are completely understandable. From my sudden and fleeting fling with adult ballet lessons to my emotional outbursts, to my full-blown determination to return to college after an eighteen-year hiatus, I finally realize that I’m in the beginning stages of a mid-life crisis.


Impulsively, I want to ask everyone I know in my age group, “Are you going through a MLC, too?” but somehow, even though the print media is full of advice about how to handle this common occurrence, it’s not the kind of conversation starter that seems appropriate somehow, even among friends. For goodness sake, no adolescent goes around shouting “Eureka!” because they’ve discovered they’ve entered puberty. But for me, the discovery that I am not too young at the age of 39 to experience this universal phenomenon is freeing in a sense. At last, I have some explanation for my rants. What a relief to know I am not crazy! I’m absolutely normal!


So what could have set off my mid-life crisis so early, I wonder. Perhaps my near-death experience delivering my fourth child in the spring of 2003 had something to do with it. Facing one’s own mortality is never a slight thing and certainly forces one to reevaluate life and cherish every moment. Certainly, sixteen years as a stay-at-home mom with unfulfilled dreams has something to do with it. So does nearly losing my 61-year-old father last year to a ruptured brain aneurism and the realization that my oldest child will be leaving the nest in two short years.


As usual, whenever I need answers, I go to the public library. There, I can search among the stacks and find the divergent, thinking voices I crave to help me decide where to go from here. As I read, I indulge in the conversations I can’t seem to have with my husband, my friends, even myself. In the private sanctuary of my mind, I puzzle over these new-found, gut-wrenching, teeth-clenching sensations of my current reality knowing that the life boat of literacy and my ever buoyant life vest of wit will keep me afloat through this indeterminate period of uncertainty.


7 Responses to “Mid-life and Me”

  1. Beebers31 June 12, 2007 at 3:06 pm #

    In the famous words of Lemony Snicket-

    “There are those who say that life is like a book, with chapters for each event in your life and a limited number of pages on which you can spend your time. But I prefer to think that a book is like a life, particularly a good one, which is well worth staying up all night to finish”.

  2. brainymama June 12, 2007 at 4:28 pm #

    Oooh! That’s a great quote–a definite keeper!

  3. SassyQuilter June 12, 2007 at 5:04 pm #

    You know, I always wonder why society seems to indulge and pamper men’s feelings about mid-life crisis, but women are expected to endure and continue on … expected to ignore their feelings and keep doing their duty. Men get cars (or girlfriends in some cases) and people just shrug and excuse the actions because of their age. Because women need to be heard, just talking about this helps us not to feel like pariahs. I think we should bring this subject into the light. Recognizing the problem can sometimes fix the problem before it turns into something destructive. I think trying out different creative outlets (like adult ballet, college, arts, starting one’s own business) can help anyone grow through the crisis. It does not have to be a negative thing!

  4. brainymama June 13, 2007 at 6:28 am #

    I agree that society generally associates mid-life crises with men, but I think that is changing in our generation as more women speak out. Thankfully, there are more books being written on the subject. For me, just recognizing the problem has been extremely helpful so that I can redirect these intense feelings positively. One needs only to look at current divorce statistics to see the devastating effects mid-life crises can have on marriages and families when women and men participate in extra-marital affairs. I’m realizing I need to improve on articulating my needs or I’ll be consumed by my pent up frustrations. I find it interesting that instinctually, I have turned to creative endeavors such as dance and writing to find fulfillment. Starting your own quilting business has been such a gratifying undertaking for you at this stage of your life. I’ve learned through my reading that starting your own business and paying attention to your inner artist are two of many ways that women are successfully navigating mid-life in today’s society.

  5. irish nell August 29, 2007 at 12:01 pm #

    I could have written your post myself……and how comforting to know there are more of “me” out there. At 43, I’m flailing my way thru a period of such upheaval that I often wonder IF there is a light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t an oncoming train. But, I digress. I also find a lot of comfort in turning to libraries, books, internet in the search for answers, comfort, guidance and so on. Hindsight is indeed 20/20. As my empty nest approaches, I do feel a slight tinge of panic – one I honestly didn’t see coming…..(I consider this personal growth – learning I am not as well prepared as I thought I was..) I too, am trying to figure out who I was before, who I have become, and who I’d like to be.

    I hope you continue with this blog – it has made my day much better!

  6. brainymama August 29, 2007 at 1:43 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by and for the words of encouragement, Irish Nell. I agree that it’s nice to know there are other travelers experiencing the same unfamiliar and challenging journey we are. Good luck dodging those oncoming trains!

  7. Pegster October 30, 2008 at 7:42 am #

    I appreciated finding your blog today. I am 41 and have felt this stage coming on for the last few years. It is hard to admit to MLC, but it also helps to know this is a normal stage of growth and transition. I am reading a book called “The Wisdom of Menopause” that is very straightforward. I believe Midlife and Menopause are transition times for women where we stop trying to take care of and please others and really delve deeply into our true selves, and if we honor this stage well, we come through the other side very wise and strong. Anyway, my story in short is that my body is changing, hormones shifting, my career suddenly gives me no pleasure, I have one child out on her own (who recently got pregnant, so I’m facing grandparent-hood too), two more to go, and husband approaching retirement from the military (20 years or so, then you move on to a ‘second life’) but has no idea what to do next… I am resigning from my job today and preparing to return to college to finish my bachelors. I don’t know which major yet, but am trying carefully to choose something that will be fulfilling to where I am going in my life now. My marriage of 23 years is changing, I can feel it, but we are both very committed to mutual hapiness and communicate well, accepting the changes that aging brings and try to be compassionate and support each other. I also seek out friendships with older women who can look back and encourage me, and I see a counselor who is ten years my senior who helps me laugh at myself and see the positive and know this is all good.

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