Present Tense

Encouraging nonsense

“What if a mid-life crisis is just people going back to who they really are?”

During a conversation on this topic last week, that statement made me stop in my tracks and say a silent “YES”.

What this means is that at some point in middle age, we suddenly realize that it’s just too much work to be someone that we’re really not.

Being a grown-up is serious business.  We’re encouraged to leave behind our childhood passions, fantasies and often, talents in order to be successful, productive adults.  Society tells us there’s no time for nonsense once you hit a certain age.

Sometime in our 40s or 50s, the pull to allow some nonsense back in becomes too much to resist.  We feel the tug of our childhood passions and fantasies or we just decide that the whole nose-to-the-grindstone deal sucks.  We’ve lost our connection to what animates us and motivates us.  We don’t dance or sing or throw a ball around or swing or draw or color or write or cook for fun.

I think the reason that this evolution is often referred to as a ‘crisis’ is because most of the people in our adult lives didn’t know us as our real selves.  We met them in our grown up costumes, with our grown up character firmly in place.  If we begin to stray from that role, it can be unsettling for spouses, children, friends and bosses.  Easier to call it a crisis than to face it and talk about it.

I also think there is a double standard.  Women are allowed this metamorphosis much more so than men.  We can blame or credit menopause for our unusual behavior .  Guys just don’t have that luxury and that’s too bad because quite frankly, a sports car isn’t any more ridiculous than a girls trip to Tuscany; both serve a purpose and that is to let loose.

So, there.  You have permission to give in to your mid-life yearnings.  Don’t call it a crisis.  Call it a reset or a regression or a rebirth.  Take off your hot, repressive, suffocating grown-up mask and let the real you out again.  If other people complain or freak out, let ‘em.  They’ll be in their own crisis soon enough and you can guide them along.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go put up a tire swing…..

August 25, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , | 13 Comments


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