I was thinking today about a conversation I had last summer with my teenage son. We were standing in the kitchen talking about me getting a tattoo and he said that I must be having a midlife crisis. He did what any 17 year old would do to prove a point. He googled it. Then he proceeded to read to me these “symptoms” from some, probably illegitimate, website. I stood there denying and/or justifying each one while we laughed, and I laughed again today as I thought about it. And since this is quickly becoming the place for me to bare my soul to the world, or at least to my tiny little circle of friends, I thought that maybe you’d enjoy a look at my last year of NOT going through a midlife crisis.
- Taking up a new hobby.
Yep, archery. Not sure why. Just wanted to try something different I guess. So, I bought this cheap little practice bow which I was terrible with. I was sure it was just the bow and not me, master archer that I am, that was bad. But then I got a pretty awesome bow as a gift for Christmas which didn’t really make me any better…aaaand so I took archery lessons last month.
Now, I have neither the desire nor the heart to EVER actually kill anything…although if the squirrels tear up my yard like they did last year, it’s not entirely out of the question. So yeah, not a midlife crisis…just a new hobby.
- Wanting a simpler life.
I had this realization that there are billions of people in the world that are happier with way less than what I have. And that changed things for me. But certainly this desire for a simpler life means that I am just becoming wiser with age and realize that I don’t NEED as much. Right? No crisis, just wisdom.
- Running a Marathon.
Hmmmm. Ok. Well, now that I have actually done that, I can tell you that this is NOT a rational response to a midlife crisis. And besides, I only did it for charity, which leads me to…
- Desire to make the world a better place.
Kind of goes along with the marathon. But this one really isn’t fair, because it’s kind of what my job is about, not the running, but the whole “making the world a better place” thing. Not a midlife crisis, just a calling.
- Losing weight.
Ok, sure, I did that and I can see how this might seem like a midlife crisis, but come on…it’s mostly just a direct result of the marathon. Which, again, was not a midlife crisis! (I guess if I’m being honest here, it may have had a little to do with realizing that this body is getting a little older and I should probably start taking better care of it.)
- Looking up high school friends, boyfriends or girlfriends on social media.
I am not guilty of this one…I mean, not exactly. I am still in contact with most of my old friends. So I haven’t looked them up recently. And I just had my 20 year reunion so I got to see them all. At the reunion, someone did happen take this picture that I love of me with my high school best friend and boyfriend. But since I didn’t technically “look them up”, I’m not counting this as a midlife crisis.
- Longingly looking at old photos of yourself (yes, this was really on the list!)
I DID NOT and DO NOT look longingly at old photos of myself. Ever. However…I admit that I did use my senior picture as my Facebook profile for a day or so. Embarrassing, yes. But in my defense, it was my high school reunion and someone else suggested that we all do it. So there. It was clearly peer pressure, not a midlife crisis. (Due to the embarrassment that I feel about this one, I am not including said picture in this blog:)
- Joining Twitter
Yeah…I did that. But I have not been able to figure out how to use it and therefore it doesn’t count.
There were lots of other “symptoms” that I didn’t have and several more things that I was definitely guilty of. There were things like going to reunion concerts of favorite bands (I couldn’t get tickets to NKOTB), revisiting holiday destinations you remember from childhood (my holiday destination was Michigan and now I live here), changing your hair color (who doesn’t do this?), no longer telling people your age (not guilty…in fact, my first blog was titled My 39), dreaming about quitting work (I actually love my job), taking vitamins (this just seems smart), looking up your medical symptoms on the internet (webMD may or may not be in my browser history), thinking about going to church but never acting on it (pssshhh. not guilty of this at all).
So, midlife crisis? Eh, maybe.
But as I spent time thinking about it and composing this little recap of my past year, I’m realizing that maybe a crisis isn’t such a bad thing after all. I mean, if the crisis of being mid-life has led me to simplify, help others, get healthy, reconnect with old friends and try new things…how bad is it really?
Maybe everyone should have a crisis of mid-life, a realization that you won’t be here forever. That you only have a short time here to make a difference. And that if you get to the end of your life, but you haven’t done something that matters after you’re gone, then your life will have been wasted. If I could change anything about my crisis, I just would have had it years ago. And I think that if everyone could just have a midlife crisis the world would be a much better place.
Oh…and, yes, I did get that tattoo after all.
Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”