Midlife meltdowns are more fun to have than to watch, I think.
In recent years I have watched 2 friends morph into versions of themselves which are all but unrecognizable to me. I am completely bewildered and a little shaken by this new state of affairs -- "affairs" being the keyword here. The path of destruction is wide and long, inventories of the wreckage are still being taken. I could sound off about the immeasurable damage, the broken families, the wounded children, left bobbing in the wake. But, not today. It doesn't make anything better.
Today I want to say that, damage aside, in a world without consequences, it might be nice to have a midlife meltdown of my own. I completely understand the urge to just sit down in the middle of everything, throw a hissy fit and say, "I want something else! I've been given everything I thought I wanted but now I don't want it! I want something else! I don't want to be a responsible adult anymore! I don't want to unload the dishwasher every day! I miss my old job! I wish I was still young, single, in college, partying more than studying! I want my 20 year old body back! I ....WANT!" I get it, I really do.
I continue to put off my hissy fit however, because I DO live in a world of consequences and I DO have children counting on me to unload the dishwasher so they can have their after-school snack on clean dishes. I AM a responsible adult. I am no longer a single, dancing-on-the-table (I'm told this goes on in college bars, though I, personally, have never experienced it) , 23-year-old, size-6-wearing hot chick. I miss that girl. And I envy her.
There is a part of me that envies my meltydowny friends too. How nice for them that they were able to put themselves first. After 10+ years of marriage they could walk away, go look for someone else, go find themselves. How nice for them. How were they able to not worry about the consequences? How did they weigh their childrens' happiness against their own and choose themselves? I'm not being judgemental, I'm truly curious. I want to know how they did that. What did it feel like?
I don't have that quality in my genetic makeup. I worry about EVERYONE's happiness. I want my single friends to find love. I fret over children caught up in tsunamis and earthquakes. I donate to the local food bank. I volunteer my time at my childrens' school. When will my "ME" gene make it's presence known to me in a way so undeniable that the only answer is to throw that hissy fit I've been dreaming of and putting off?
Tomorrow I will turn 40something. If I live to be as old as my beloved grandmother, I am smack-dab, center in the middle of my life. My hubby and I just celebrated 19 years together. We've been through hell, lost our first-born. I have yet to walk away. I'm running out of time to have my midlife meltdown! But, wait, I'm already having an affair....
With my hair! Woo Hoo, I'm living on the edge. I love my hair, it's my favorite thing about myself. At the roots of my varying shades of red, auburn, strawberry (pick a color, any color, it's different every time I have it done) is the brunette I was born with mixed with the grey I am acquiring along the way. I haven't looked lately, but I think the grey is winning. It is naturally curly. I waged war against my curls for the first half of my life until I saw Julia Roberts with her unforgettable mane of red curls in "Pretty Woman." "Bing!" went the light bulb over my head when I realized I could have that look everyday, and, in less time than it took to wash, gel, blow dry, and otherwise beat my curls into submission. Although, lately I have become quite enamored with my "InStyler" which polishes and smooths my hair into the glossy, bouncy strands I always longed for in high school. I wear my hair long these 40something days. It's a little past my shoulders. Some (my mother, perhaps?) might say it's too long, unflattering for a woman of my advanced years. But I adore it. I toss it, flick it, twirl it around my fingers -- I'm thoroughly obnoxious with it. And my 40something hubby of nearly 20 years likes it too.
When midlife hits, some men buy Corvettes and go on the prowl for a new trophy wife, some women leave their families and begin to sport that "mutton dressed as lamb" look. Me, I have become an obnoxious hair-flicker. The most dire consequence of which is a potentially clogged shower drain. Don't worry, I'll put it up in a scrunchy when I decide to throw that hissy fit.