Saturday, August 02, 2008

OMG—No Do-Overs? The Woman's Mid-life Crisis

So here we are, in our 40's, getting ready to start over again. How did that happen? We all know the stereotype: Man in mid-life crisis ditches his wife for a 20-something blonde bimbo and trades in his family sedan for a completely impractical, fire-engine red, sporty convertible with a mega-engine that announces his manhood 15 blocks before he arrives. (BTW, Ghost Hunk is no stereotype). But how does it work for a woman? I mean do we really think we are that superior that we don't suffer some kind of break down?

I think I have that one covered. It's not that flimsy sense of lost youth that men love to blame for their asinine behavior. No, it's more than a vague sense of our own mortality. It's that brain-numbing, heart-freezing realization that there are no do-overs. That we can't go back ten years and fix things. Those mistakes we hoped would just wash out with the years suddenly start bashing the back of our brains to a pulp and remind us that we can't do it over. We did that bone-head thing, made those wrong choices, and there is no going back. That's what snatches my breath away the instant I think about it. That's what makes my heart suddenly seem so fragile, like I could drop dead any minute and I didn't do it right. Mortality ain't so vague, afterall.

As a mom, my first thought is, "How do I fix it?!" I count all those times I lost my patience with my kids or failed to hear them or gave the wrong advice and wish I could erase it. It's overpowering, this sense of disappointment, of failure. I can see why prozac is such a hot seller in the over-40 group!

But I have to believe that do-overs are irrelevant, because in the end, it's the sum of our experiences, good and bad, that make us who we are. If I did everything right, my kids would be absolutely irretrievable messes! They would never have learned how to handle pain, how to accept imperfection--in others and in themselves. It would be like the Lotus Eaters--so blissfully ignorant that happiness would have no value.

So while my stomach flips 360 degrees and twists itself into a pile of knots whenever I think, "OMG—No Do-overs?!" I have to remember that I'm learning how to be human every day of my life (all the way to the end of it). And I'm teaching my kids how to be human, too.

Perhaps it's not a crisis...but a breakthrough.


  1. Honey,

    You don't look a day over 39, really. I can't believe you are saying you are in your 40s. Looks like the trip was somewhat beneficial but not really the right answer you were looking for. I figure if any one else had made an offer you would have posted by now. So looks like Arkansas is the destination. Sad to have to pack up the house and memories but you still have the memories of all the good there too and with this electronic age, it's not like you are going to be without communication means with your friends. The kids will adjust. You will be fine and so will your husband.

    No regrets, no do-overs. Everything was done for a purpose and yes, life lessons are hard to learn but we eventually learn them and move on to the next one. God Bless you dear. Good luck with the move and prayers and wishes that the job goes well for your husband. E :)

  2. Mid-life can be hard. But it's also a window on a new world. It's the beginning of a new adventure! I have absolutely loved the years that followed midlife. I still have regrets. We, can't as you said, do it over. (I'd love to erase a million little things.) But we can keep improving. Age and experience do that for us. Being human - isn't it great how we all share that same wonderful dilmmma?!

  3. I've actually never had mid-life crisis explained so well before, and so poetically. Your steadfastness in this turbulent situation gives me inspiration that I can survive any odd bumps ahead. I admire your optimism--and good luck with the agent!!


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