In Writing

For a long time I resisted the term “midlife crisis” when applied to me because, damn it, I wasn’t in midlife.  But, at 43, I think it’s safe to assume I’m somewhere in the middle of this crazy adventure.  So I own it: I’m middle-aged.

Someone at work just mentioned my demure streak of blue hair, which I’m mostly wearing tucked in a pony tail so that you can barely see it.  (I went into his office with my hair down yesterday and he noticed it).

He said, “I notice you’re sporting some color in your hair.”

I quipped, “I’m enjoying the hell out of my midlife crisis.”  Just two years younger than I am, he laughed in recognition.  I work in a very laid-back place where all upper management is usually in jeans.  Plus we’re in New York City.  A streak of blue hair just means Tuesday around these parts.

But it left me wondering:  am I having a midlife “crisis?”  I think my problem is with the word “crisis.”  I am certainly enjoying a renaissance of self unparalleled since my adolescence.  So, I guess, yeah, if a crisis is a wonderful catalyst for new ways of looking at the world and at myself.

I remember the heady feeling of becoming an adult.  I can see snippets of it – the first time I questioned whether god really exists, the first time I figured out that I was a sexual being that elicited reactions from men (or mostly boys at that point).  The first time I went into New York City alone on the train.  The first dollars I earned.  I remember the hormonal rushes that would leave me furious one moment, in despair the next.  It was terrifying and intoxicating.  I was amazed by the idea of all I could become.

In many ways the last few years have been much the same.  Everything I thought I believed is up for questioning.  Traditional relationships, what I love to do vs. what others think I should do, how I earn my living, who I want to be in the world… all being reexamined.  The hormones are getting pretty crazy again too, making me exhilarated some days, a crying mess exactly 9 days before the start of my period.  I guess it’s the beginning of them taking their last bow.  Even that somehow points to something fascinating, the question of who I will be and how I can still be desirable when I am no longer the object of male baby-making lust.

So, yeah, midlife is an amazing time, a second adolescence with a better bank account and my own place.  And no one to tell me what time to get home!


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