Thursday, 5 January 2017

It's time to schedule a mid-life crisis...

I was driving through my beautiful town this morning. The sun was shining. The sky was blue. The river glimmering with hope and joy. Unicorns were frolicking on the grassy embankment... Yeah, you get the picture.

In case you were wondering, this is the national animal of Scotland!

Anyway, I was mid-drive when I realized I've been in the same town for the past 13 years. That's longer than I've lived anywhere since I left home at 16. That realization made me pull over and park the car. Staring at the unicorns (who, by the way, don't actually fart rainbows) I came to a second stark realization - my life has become staid. I'm languishing in the humdrum repetitiveness of everyday life. I no longer suffer from wanderlust. I no longer plot new schemes to shake up my life. I am middle aged!

Yeah. It was a shock to me too.

Looking back, I'm not sure when my life became all about what to make for dinner instead of which country I planned to spend my summer in. I think it happened one October in my thirties when there was nothing on TV except for some generic cooking show. I should never have watched that show. I should have grabbed my husband and hit the town for a night of wild living. Instead, I found myself wondering if I too could make bread by hand. It's been a long, slow decline into middle age ever since then.

Don't watch cooking shows. It's how they steal your youth!

As I sat by the river, I took stock of my life and found it wanting. Being me, I pulled out my laptop and made a comparison chart to show the stark evidence of my slow decline into middle age.

Here it is:

Early Twenties
Middle Age
A good night was spent out on the town with friends
A good night is silent time with a book
Days were counted off in terms of how long until my next adventure or the next thing I wanted to experience.
I have no idea what day it is – they tend to blend into one long loop of making school lunches, planning dinner and ferrying kids to fun events. (Fun for them!)
Fashion was fun, shopping a blast, dressing up an entertainment in itself
I’m pretty sure I’ve been wearing the same jeans and black t-shirt for the past fifteen years…
Getting ready to face the day was a joy. It involved listening to my favourite music while painting my face and doing my hair
Most days I’m lucky if I remember to brush my teeth before I need to rush the kids out the door…
Sleep was for old age – I had too much I wanted to do!
I wish I got more sleep!!! Sometimes, I schedule events that don’t exist, just so I can have a sly afternoon nap.
I’d throw some stuff in a bag and jump a plane to somewhere I’d never been before, just for fun.
The thought of spending any time on a plane with my two kids makes me want to burrow into the ground and never come out.
New experiences were a must – the wilder the better.
I can still do this – but in small doses…maybe once a year…with lots of planning…Who am I kidding? If I haven’t been there before and it doesn’t have a five star hotel, I’d rather stay home.

After staring at my chart for half an hour, I came to a conclusion. I really only had one thing going for me - there was still time to have a mid-life crisis.

So, I've decided to schedule one. I'm thinking this July/August would be a good time. There's nothing to do during winter in my corner of New Zealand anyway. But a good crisis isn't effective unless you know what you're going to do during it. To prepare I Googled the signs of a mid-life crisis, chose the ones I liked best and made a list. Here it is:

  • I'm going to start wearing jeggings. I'm not sure what they are, but they sound like something a middle aged woman should avoid, so they're perfect for my crisis.
  • I'm going to dye my hair an unnatural color. Blue maybe.
  • Apparently a good mid-life crisis isn't complete unless you take up an extreme sport. I've decided to take up "blindfold darts", because that's about all my current level of fitness can handle.
Blindfolded darts. It's really a thing!
  • I'm going to look for job opportunities for my husband in Bolivia. Then, if I can talk him into one of them, I'll move the family there for a year or so - just long enough to remind me that I'm still young and carefree, but not so long that I'll really begin to miss my house and animals.
  • I'm going to learn to play the piano. Then I'm going to sing in a jazz club. (I should probably add singing lessons to the list too.)
  • I'm going to go to some concerts. Something by someone young, hip and trendy whom I've never heard of and will probably hate. I'll then buy the t-shirt and wear it to school when I pick up the kids.
  • I'm going to Google current slang because I'm pretty sure people don't say "hip and trendy" anymore.
  • I'm buying an expensive, all-singing/all-dancing phone (that I probably won't be able to work) and using it to take at least twenty selfies a day (the Karsdashian average) that I'll post on Instagram. 
  • I'm going to join Greenpeace and protest something. Anything. I don't really care what.

That's it. My plan for a mid-life crisis. Once I've dealt with this one, I'll schedule the one you have when you hit 60. I hear all you need to do for that one is buy a camper van. That sounds a whole lot less complicated.

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