I turn 40 this year. I have been dreading it a little bit, because this is the culturally expected norm, and it seems the accepted thing to do. I am officially not young anymore. I’m not really OLD, either, though—which is good, but also kind of bugs me, because I am really looking forward to being the cranky old lady who swears too much and doesn’t give a rat’s arse about what the church people and neighbors think. Of course, my attitude may be slightly ahead of schedule…
At any rate, I have decided to declare this year my mid-life crisis year, and do some of the random things I have always thought of doing “someday” or haven’t considered because KEEPING UP APPEARANCES. I don’t have a bucket list, per se, and most of the things I want to do are pretty mundane. and not stereotypical of midlife crises. I have decided not to take a lover, for example. But, letting my kid draw all over her bedroom wall? Sure, why not?
Most of my midlife crisis will likely be acquiescing to my limitations rather than fighting against them. I’m tired of fighting the inevitable. A few months ago, I quit dyeing my hair to cover the gray, and when I came back from the salon today, my kids were visibly relieved that I merely cut it. “I’m glad you’re back to your natural color,” my 17 year old daughter tells me, “you looked kind of scary when you dyed your hair.” My fifteen year old son agreed. “When you dyed your hair, you sort of looked like you were trying too hard.” The knotheads. But, they were right. While I miss having the well defined, expressive eyebrows that coloring gave me, I am cool with my fading red hair.
(Farewell, eyebrows. Hello, new-old me!)
I spent the first part of this year decluttering the house as part of a Lenten challenge. I don’t even celebrate Lent, but I have thoroughly enjoyed off loading a bunch of junk. Sentimental items I’ve kept for decades really hold no meaning to me anymore, and I had to laugh at some of the things I’ve held onto. She-Ra paper dolls, anyone? Since Lent and the challenge are over, I’ve quit the laser focus decluttering, but I have developed a habit of picking up things as I move about the house and getting rid of whatever I am tired of moving from place to place. There is still a lot of stuff I’d like to get rid of and downsize, so I will likely continue to move them slowly, but steadily out of my home and out of my life.
I am reading more now than I have in the previous few years. Most books I’ve read in the last seven years have centered on educational philosophy and other non-fiction. I have plowed through several novels since January and it feels so indulgent. When reading fiction, I feel the same way I do when eating a dessert while trying to lose weight. “I am so bad. I should be making better choices.” Nom, nom, nom. Check out this great reimagining of a romance novel cover, by The Wonderful World of Longmire:
I am also bingeing on my favorite movies and TV shows—because I can. Folding laundry is fun again. Yes, again.
I am tired of making goals and chasing dreams. I’m not done doing those things, I’m just taking a breather, a sabbatical, if you will. My midlife crisis year is a season of comfort and rest, rather than pursuing the elusive essence of whatever. I’m settling in and looking forward to being fat and happy.