I never did tell you the full story. I like to condense my material into bite-sized bits. You know, so that you can swallow the truth. Teeny tiny bite-sized thoughts, that sprout from some teeny tiny place. Don’t be fooled, what is bite sized can choke you. Hell yes, it can! Besides, if I told you the full story, in one shot, you would likely have a meltdown. You would.
Today I will share an unfeigned truism with you. It is just one of many that I possess. Truisms that is, regarding the stories inside of me, of those I have lost count.
Truism of the day: Midlife is hell.
Yes, you read that right. Of course, I am old enough to know what I am talking about, I am here, right here, front and center in the thick of it. It is hell.
Some call it the “middle life passage” a time of glory, out with old, shed your skin, maturation yields wisdom that you clasp with authority. Rubbish. The midlife passage, in my opinion, is just like puberty. The second coming of it anyway.
Don’t believe me?
Puberty lasts anywhere between 3-6 years. Flushed with new hormones, the brain fires off smoke signals of distress. Chaotic emotions, righteous affirmations, and deliberate ignorance are in control. Hair grows. Pimples spread like a virus. Sex is on the mind, the tongue, in dreams, wet in your pants.
Confused and battered, crying fits take hold. Growth spurts hurt, no two ways about it. Breasts bud, kids make fun. Boys have a bigger package; girls are both predator and prey. Funky smells, sweaty, greasy hair. Can’t stand your parents. Can’t fit in. Can’t get out. Who are you? Who am I? It is the way it is. Puberty.
Midlife, when does it start? It starts when you finally realize that you have no clue how you ended up where you currently are at this point in your life. Imagine if you will, standing on your right big toe, I mean it, your whole body poised off of that right big toe. Now balance yourself by stretching your arms wide. Carefully lift your left leg up and out, point your toes straight ahead.
Hold it, hang on, you have to get a grip, or you will drop what is most important. On your shoulders hanging just so, are your kids, your aging parents, your aging pets, your partner, your partner’s aging parents, your partner’s parent’s aging pets.
Everyone is needy.
Everyone is vying for your attention.
Everyone is staring at you.
Thier eyes are glued to yours. Stand still. If you make one spontaneous move, your world will crumble. I mean, their world will crumble. Your world could use some spontaneity, but alas, so sorry, no can do.
Balancing your act of mayhem like that is hard enough, why not add to the mix some junked up emotions? That beautiful body of yours is closing up shop; the reproduction line is currently being dismantled.
Hormones, the lovely cocktail of crazy that was so good in your 20’s and 30’s, is now akin to napalm running through your veins. Your throat is on fire; your brain is mush. You don’t sleep. You keep hearing the words “run, get out of here!” chattering away at the back of your mind. Then testosterone moves in, god’s way of literally giving it to women. Hormones out of whack? Let’s give her some manly Maness!
The ones that thought you had attitude issues before are clueless about the anger that is welling up inside of you now.
Try to squish that anger down, down deep inside, if you want. Won’t do you any good.
Everyone is hungry, and they are looking at you.
Tired, fuzzy, hot flashed and ready to be flushed – one more minute of demands will send you over the edge. Your breasts are shrinking, your partner makes fun. His package still works, but only after he takes a perk it up pill. You went from juicy, to desert dry. The oasis is nowhere in site.
Shrinking, you are shrinking. First a quarter of an inch, then two, your spine is compressing. Wake up spine! You can’t compress!!! You have to hold the world up!
Funky smells, greasy hair, menopausal acne. Chaos in your mind. Your moral beliefs exposed as fraudulent. Yes, you are a fraud! How many times did you wear egg on your face while stepping down from the “perfect parent” podium?
Everything you have done right up to this very point, right here, as you stand balancing on your big toe, has been useless. Your kids say so. Your friends tutt-tutt under their breath. Your therapist gives you another pill. Your partner shakes their head in despair.
Can’t live without your parents, want to go back in time. Can’t fit in. Can’t get out.
Who are you?
Who am I?
It is the way it is.
Welcome to your midlife crisis.
There it is, a primal scream, let it out. That baby has been building for years now. Let it go. It’s ok, let it go. Sure it will scare the daylights out of the neighbors, but you have sacrificed everything for everyone. The neighbors? Not your problem.
Release your arms. Put your foot down. Sit down. Lay back. Roll over onto your side. Curl up in the fetal position. Close your eyes; it will all be over before you know it.
Then, and only then, after it has been said, done, delivered, disappeared, disjointed, discussed, will you stop screaming. Or maybe not.
Like I said before, I am in it. Yes indeed, right in the middle of what surely must be a concerted attempt to send me right off the cliff. Did I see this epoch of insanity coming? Absolutely not. I was preoccupied.
Cellulite, wrinkles, too fat, too thin, age spots, fashionable threads. Yes, yes, I am vain. I obsessed over staying forever young. Don’t kid yourself; you are just like me. We have been sheep, and now here we are, ready to be slaughtered. Metaphorically speaking that is.
Do you remember driver’s ed classes in high school? Do you remember home economics? Or how about woodshop class where you stood fiddling over and with nuts and bolts, bits of wood and sawdust? Glory days, those. Gone. Gone, gone, the wayside of technology.
No classes for real life preparedness. No money in the budget. No interest from the public.
The result of this so called forward thinking and advancement of society will be countless others that, like me, suddenly find themselves in a long dark hallway. No silly, they don’t have nightlights in midlife hell to guide you. The object of focus should be on self-care and coping skills. Our eyes though are trained to look for blemishes of our flesh; our minds fixated on desires of the flesh.
Our mouths are open and ready to be filled up with booze, antidepressants, and hyperbole.
What shall we do? What can we do? What exactly is the point of this exercise of hysteria? My theory is this: maybe it is a culling of the herd. Like the weeding out of the weakest link. Survival of the fittest! Instead of “Naked and Afraid” we are members of the “Unprepared and Winging It” club.
I guess I should be speaking for myself. Sorry if I offended you. Something tells me, though, that you are just like me. Screaming that earth-shattering primal cry, while balancing the unfathomable after effects of a life lived with your head in the sand.
I call shotgun.