“So you’re going through a midlife crisis?”
This was the question I found facing me in a recent social discussion. To be honest I could see why he would assume that.
I had recently turned 41 so I was for all intents and purposes a “middle aged woman”. I have been with my husband for 23 years, I have two older children and a less than stellar career – in his eyes I was a walking cliché. Fantastic.
His assumption had sprung from a discussion about me finally starting drum lessons. All my life I have wanted to learn three instruments – piano, cello and drums – and since I can’t read music and wanted to beat the shit out of something, that preferably wouldn’t hit me back, I figured drums would be great. My hubby bought me a gift voucher for a couple of lessons and the rest as they say – well you get it.
My lesson went really well and I didn’t suck nearly as much as I thought I would. This filled me with so much enthusiasm that I had been endlessly ranting about being a prodigy and how I was sure to end up taking over the world one band at a time. OBVIOUSLY JOKING. Many of my family and friends thought I was a bit nutty but otherwise supportive. Until I shared this new found hobby with (let’s just call him “Bill”) no-one had looked too far into my reasons for taking up this instrument. Bill had to have a reason that made sense to him and my reply of “why the hell not” just didn’t cut Bill’s mustard. So he assumed I was having a midlife crisis and trying to recapture my youth.
Now let me fill you in a little bit about Bill. Bill is 40. Bill is proudly single because that way he can “do whatever the hell he wants without some chick nagging him”. However if Bill does decide to date it’s for short periods of time and the candidates are mostly blonde, in their 20’s and usually looking for a father figure type. Bill always ends it on his terms but insists that Miss Blonde 20 Something will always be a special part of his life. Bill loves gaming and owns a BMW “because he can”. Bill recently learnt how to ride a motorbike and started jogging to get back his super athlete body that he abandoned in his late teens. Bill was looking at getting a drone and building his own computer. Bill has looked into hair transplant therapy for his bald patch and laser hair removal for his back patch. And yet I’m the one having the midlife crisis. Obviously.
I wanted to explain that I was finally at a stage in my life where I could start to do some of the things I’d always wanted to try. I would have loved to tell him that I finally have so much confidence in myself that I am actively getting out of my comfort zone to try things that would have previously terrified me. But most of all I wanted to smack him on the forehead and tell him to grow up.
That’s right Bill. Grow up. If anyone in this scenario is indulging in a midlife crisis it’s you buddy. Look at yourself. You’re a scared little boy trapped in a 40 year old’s body and you will do anything you can to be your own personal version of Peter Pan. You dickhead silly duffer. And worse still you possibly won’t even realise that life’s passed you by until you’re in your 80’s.
But this is what I actually said.
Start with a sarcastic chortle/snort.
“Sure am Bill. I’m trading in my sensible Mondeo for a jaunty little convertible and it will be red. I’m divorcing my long suffering hubby and hooking up with at least 40 random blokes before finally settling down with a 22 year old hipster with a penchant for monocles. We will meet in a café that only serves organically grown, fair trade coffee that was roasted by specially trained Uni students needing to supplement their income whilst undertaking a Bachelor of Arts. Then we will move to the Kangaroo Valley where I will grow out all my body hair and take up pottery and wearing tie dye.”
End with another chortle/snort, followed by a wink and elbow nudge to Bill’s rib region.
Bill looked momentarily confused. I think I had used way too many subtle references for him to follow. Then he finally smirked and shot back with “I knew it.”
But the bit you missed Bill was the fact that I’m actually having what I like to think of as a kind of midlife confidence (corny I know but I love corny!). It’s amazing and confronting all at the same time. I’m just seeing what comes and that’s OK. I’m trying to be more open to possibilities. I’m aiming to be a kinder more genuine version of myself. I’m determined to follow my heart’s desire before I get too old. I want to LIVE my life instead of EXISTING. And I don’t care what anyone thinks about it.
Including you Bill.
So I’m having a midlife confidence Bill. I hope you grow up enough to try it one day before it’s too late.
* The whole move to the Kangaroo Valley scenario is one that I often float with my hubby and kids as my escape plan when I feel overwhelmed by life. Mind you I hate craft activities because I can’t do them and they’re messy; I look hideous in tie dye, and I firmly believe that there are several parts of a woman’s body that are way more cool and comfortable if they are mown……..but why let the truth get in the way of a great escape? Am I right?