I have never been a big fan of birthdays, they tend to remind me of people I love who are no longer with us. I feel rather melancholy and there is usually a lot of demands on me on my birthday. When I say this I mean I am loved so much that I really don’t appreciate it properly. While everyone else wants to celebrate and party, what I really want is to be dropped off at a hotel with a view, a pool, a good book, a bottle of wine and room service available. I want to be alone. Alone with my thoughts and memories, the people in my life think this means I don’t love them, so I don’t do it. It has nothing to do with loving anyone it has more to do with taking a moment of silence to truly appreciate all that the years that have given me and to commune with those that have finished their earthly journeys.
So why am I talking about my birthday when it is 7 months away? Well all of this leads me to what I am currently self diagnosing as a mid-life crisis. I turn 40 in 7 months and I am freaking out. I think that 39 is too early for a mid-life crisis I always have thought of it as something that should strike around 50 not 39 but no matter what I think, it is here. I think there are several reasons for this early decent into crazy.
- I started my adult life at 16, I had to grow up fast. I was an adult before I even finished being a teen. Being carefree has never been an option for me.
- A near death experience has put my mortality front and center. Death is no longer an abstract thought that happens to someone else, it will happen to me, and it will probably happen when I least expect it.
- While all my friends are struggling with babies and toddlers I am living in a home with an adult, an almost adult and a 12 year old.
How did all of this start? I blame Eric, I love him but this is all his fault. I decided that I wanted to surprise Eric and to remind him how much he is loved. So I dolled myself up, dropped my kids off with my parents, and kidnapped Eric from his work for an evening of dinner, conversation, and a movie. I am thinking we should have nixed the conversation and gone straight to eating while watching a movie. But these things are always known in hindsight.
So what do two people who have been together since they were 14/17 talk about?
This sounded very romantic and jovial until I realized this is not a lifetime movie of the week and there comes a point in your life where your dreams and hopes for the future look more like a black comedy then a romantic comedy. I am envisioning a custom home, romantic date nights, trips abroad, Sundays in bed, he was thinking downsizing, retirement, getting in better health, saving every penny so that we could retire earlier. My plans were sprinkled with glitter and romance, his plans were all black and white, and sensible. At first this led to some tense moments, not because he was wrong but because he was right. Do we really need such a big home? Wouldn’t something small and cozy suit us better since Joe will be off to college soon and Eli will be super busy with sports? If we sell and buy another home now our mortgage for our new home will be paid off when we are 70! That is our dad’s age! Sorry for the exclamation points dads, but it is a little freaky.
While he was being realistic and wise, my mind was careening off into crazy land. I was seeing this huge beautiful mountain that I had climbed and was now at the top gazing down at all that we had accomplished, and it was beautiful. But I was doing it with the knowledge that at any moment I would start zooming down towards the bottom where a nice open hole in the ground awaited me. A place where my body could safely land and my children could fill in with dirt and say beautiful things about me. Yes, I know rather dramatic but that is what I saw the only thing missing was the dramatic music.
So this leaves me in quite a crazy place stuck in a middle land hence middle age, not at the beginning but not yet at the end. What does one do with the knowledge that the house payment you can make now will not be possible in a mere 25 years when your husband retires? For me, I panic, I start making lists of pros and cons, start looking for a new smaller house, start planning where our next investment should be, what states are better to retire in, and last but certainly not least, I start interviewing plastic surgeons. I may be teetering on the edge of the mountain unable to control when I start the descent but I sure as hell can control what I look like when my children start throwing dirt and glitter. While I want nice things said I am not so enlightened that I don’t hope they say, Wow, look how thin she is and doesn’t she look amazing, covered in all that glitter!
“Or you could be the one who takes the long way home
Roll down your window, turn off your phone
See your life as a gift from the great unknown
And your task is to receive it
Tell your kid a story, hold your lover tight
Make a joyful noise, swim naked at night”