My midlife crisis continues.
It is true that I have not really entered midlife at this stage, unless I plan to die at fifty or so, which I do not intend to do ? I plan to live a good century and a half longer, or at least until I pay off my credit card bills. At the same time, however, I figure that getting a midlife crisis out of the way early in life will clear up the schedule for a far more interesting midlife crisis down the road. Therefore, I am confronting my difficulties.
The first step in confronting one’s difficulties is to determine to some degree of accuracy what they are. The processes which are flawed or repetitive must be solidified, and not left as vague, abstract concepts. For instance: “I feel like my life is going nowhere.” Let’s toss this one into the garbage. First of all, “feeling” something doesn’t make it so. Second, “life” is too all-encompassing a term, and who says it is supposed to “go” anywhere? Why, just this morning, my life went to work. Clearly, that is not the meaning our wistful moaner wishes to ascribe to this statement, but if he could see through the gloomy gray clouds in his brain, he would see that his lamentation is overbroad.
“My career has stalled out.” You won’t catch me saying this ? I don’t have a “career”. I don’t know if I want one. In my purview, to define a career for oneself is to build a large brick wall around one’s world, to limit one’s options. For some people, this is probably a good thing, and I am not suggesting that I am superior to anyone for disagreeing; in fact, it may even bespeak a lack of maturity on my part. I am guessing that it is almost a universal truth that looking for a job is a tedious process, with little reward for the energy invested. However, on top of this I seem to be irrationally afraid of seeking employment. I am certain that if I put in the effort I could at least be considered for some position or other that would pay me a fair amount of money for my skills. But I neither have nor want a “career”, and so I drift aimlessly, thinking only about what I don’t want to do instead of what I want to do. Going back to school scares me also, but not quite as much, for some reason. Perhaps, then, grad school is on my horizon.
“I am getting old.” Everything is relative, of course. While I have left the demographic that MTV shoots for, I am still squarely in the range most advertisers are looking to sell to. But aging is a lot more than moving from one demographic to the next. Another part of it is seeing everything that you remember from childhood transformed. Tiny trees become giants. Giant trees die and get chopped down. Housing developments are built on top of all the dirt bike trails in the woods behind your backyard. Your ex-girlfriends from high school get married, have children. Your high school itself is for all intents and purposes torn down and rebuilt from scratch ? and then, after you graduate from college, suddenly you find that the landscape you became so used to has been altered as well. What of this nostalgia? Actually, I think I’ve come to terms with this one fairly well. Old memories are often worth revisiting, but to try to re-live the past will invariably result in disappointment. This may be why Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was received so poorly. (Or, possibly, it was a terrible movie. I didn’t think it was terrible, but then Natalie Portman makes me weak in the knees.)
Another important aspect of aging is the increasing attention one must pay to one’s body. For the last five years or so I have maintained the same basic diet and exercise, and only very recently have the effects of this regimen begun to visibly show ? in the form of, in my case, fatty fatty fat fat. The weak daily workout I have created for myself might keep the gut size in check for a little while, but certainly this bit of my life could stand a bit of revising. And illness ? I get sick a lot more often than I used to. It is actually a lucky morning for me if I don’t wake up feeling nauseated. It is unlikely that I am pregnant, but for now that is my only working theory.
I’m sure my sleep patterns are only exacerbating the problems. I go to bed between 2 AM and 3 AM most nights, and wake up at about 8 AM. It could be a lot worse, but I’m definitely dangling off the low end on the scale of recommended sleep ideals. I simply can’t get to bed any earlier, though, and I don’t really want to. I have so much trouble ending my day. As a result of this, though, I am basically tired all the time. Surely there is a better way to live one’s life?
But even after the identification of the problems comprising one’s midlife crisis, implementing solutions can prove extremely difficult. At the moment, I am nonplussed, and hoping everything sorts itself out. I am disappointed that I have not had any epiphanies or feelings of catharsis while writing this; but then again, if one lives one’s life in pursuit of catharsis, one is probably doomed to a lifetime of disappointment.
Damn it. I think I would like catharsis.