I’m having a mid-life crisis.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to buy a new car or do anything extravagant like that. Although, come to think of it, I did buy a new car but that was well over a year ago, and it was a Toyota Prius, which I don’t think counts as a mid-life crisis car because it’s the most practical car in the world. Oh, and I also recently bought some skin cream called “Youth Code” which I wasn’t crazy about, because it made my skin break out–although I guess that means it worked, because what screams “youth” more than acne?
But that’s pretty much where the exciting part of my mid-life crisis ends. I’m not planning to get plastic surgery or go out one night and get drunk and smoke crack (and by the way, seriously? You can really use getting drunk as an excuse for smoking crack?) or seduce my teenage daughter’s boyfriend or do any of the fun and wonderful cliches known to my peer group.
No, I’m taking the sane and practical route: moaning and bitching about how disappointed I am in myself, my life, and my future prospects.
I am a joy to be around.
The four horsemen of my midlife crisis are pettiness, narcissism, ingratitude, and envy. I am filled with small minded envy of those who have achieved the kind of success I used to dream about and haven’t come close to knowing.
(Before you get annoyed at me for not being grateful for what I have, remember a) I listed ingratitude among my sins, and b) that success, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder, that we either feel like successes internally or we don’t, and outward affirmation is almost irrelevant–although I feel fairly certain that I myself would feel much more successful if I were to, say, win a big writing prize or get on the NY Times bestseller list, and I’d be happy to test that theory any time someone wants to help me out with that.)
Mostly I feel crushed by the sense that all those dreams I dreamed when I was a girl or a teenager or even a young adult probably won’t come true, that options have narrowed and potential paths are a lot fewer than they once were.
I think this stage of life would be easier to deal with if I lived in a Dickens’ novel where your reward for being a decent human being is to get all plump and goodnatured and generous after a certain age. That sounds a lot more relaxing to me than still fighting to be a contender, but for some reason I can’t get anyone to agree with me on the whole going gentle into the good night thing.
So here I am, still striving for that golden ring as it recedes farther and farther from my less agile fingers, wondering where the years have gone and why I keep going around in circles instead of moving ahead.
Of course the answer might simply be that I’d be a much more successful YA author if I stopped writing about being middle aged and started writing about Selena Gomez.