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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Midlife Crisis

This last birthday was hard for hard that 8 months later I'm still reeling from it.

I am 32.

I am in the midst of a MASSIVE mid-life crisis.

At 32? you laugh.  32 isn't old! you argue.  32 is the prime of life! you say.


But allow me to explain.

I have fibromyalgia, of course, which makes me feel like I'm living in a body more than twice my current age, but that's not the whole of the problem.  The problem was that damned BYU biology class I took at 19 years of age.  You see, I sat in that biology class (hating my science courses - I was a theater education major!  Science is mostly irrelevant in my field...and don't bother arguing with me!) just trying to pull a passing grade and wondering just how long 50 minutes really was, doodling on...well, anything I happened to have to doodle on.  I remember exactly ONE fact from Biology 101:  it is at the age of approximately 32 that your cells begin to die off faster than they regenerate.

Oh, crap, I thought to myself.  At 32 you start to DIE.  ...  And then I calmed down and thought, well, heck, that means I have another 13 years to be young!  AWESOME!

And then it was 10 more years of being young...and then 7, and 5, and suddenly I was 30, but that was okay; I still have 2 more years to be young!  31 was a bit more rough, but I wanted to milk that last year of youth for all it was worth.  I was in feasibly the best shape of my life courtesy of my foray into gym-rat-hood, and it was at this point that I abandoned the idea of plastic surgery in favor of self-acceptance (see the archives; look for Korean bathhouse).  I was okay at 31.

I freaked out the day before my 32nd birthday.

But this is what happens when you spend 13 years of your life - over a third of your existence! - telling yourself that life ends at 32.  Youth evaporates on your 32nd birthday.  Oh, dear lord, I was terrified, and it didn't help that the day before my birthday I had MAJOR intestinal trouble that had me running screaming to an urgent care.  You don't want the details, but needless to say, I considered my doctor visit proof that life was over.

I woke up the morning of my birthday and took some time to scrutinize my face.  I have a few tiny crows' feet wrinkles that have cropped up in the last couple years, plus a little crease just below my brow line above the bridge of my nose.  The lines around my mouth are now (very faint) parentheses tracks.  Oh, and I still get acne.  (Really?  What the hell?!  I'm 32 and I'm not talking a stray zit every few months, I'm chasing half a dozen pimples around my face all the bloody time!)  I looked in that mirror and every single line, every flaw was a detriment:  because I was officially 32, none of those imperfections had any chance of ever making a retreat.  I was stuck with them...and they were only going to get worse.

Vanity?  ...  ...  ...  ...  Fine, vanity.  But also panic.  I was living in a body that already hurt inexplicably, and it was suddenly OFFICIALLY all downhill from there.

I became depressed.  Badly depressed.  Despondent, really.  I cried a lot.  It was pretty pathetic.  And the more depressed I was, the more I found to be depressed about.  Less than a month after my birthday my elder child began 1st grade...meaning he was gone 8 hours a day.  A couple weeks after that, Child-the-Younger began preschool 10 hours a week, meaning I had 10 hours a week entirely to myself.  To most SAHMs this would mean party-time.  To me?  Well, my body can't produce any more munchkins, but our Dream For a Future Family always included upwards of 4 kids.  I had imagined my life a bit differently:  babies in the house forever, kids NEEDING me 24 hours a day for a good decade of my life.  Suddenly at 32 my kids didn't need me anymore.  (Yes, I KNOW they still need me, but when you're in the depths of despair, things are a tad bit skewed.)  My self-proclaimed purpose had been thwarted by my body's inability to continue in the process of creation.

So I asked myself, NOW WHAT?  And my answer?

You, dear Reader.  It was time to explore me, time to decide who I was and who I was going to become.  I have tried to answer that question in myriad ways - painting, cooking, gardening, photo and video editing, knitting, you name it! - and the answer I kept coming back to was WRITING.  True, there was a lot of self-acceptance and some serious self-realization and actualization that had to happen, too, but 8 months later my garden is growing itself, my painting is sporadic, I cook anyway, photo and video editing happens as required, I've got some hand-knitted scarves hanging in the closet...and I'm about to publish my first book in a trilogy.

You, Reader, have given me new purpose.  I adore my family, worship my husband, live for my children, and continue on in my (generally) happy role as SAHM...but now I also get to share my story, my characters, my ideas with you in hopes that we will connect somehow in that realm I have created.  I am excited, no, THRILLED to see my book in print, knowing someone may someday pick it up, read it, and imbue it with their own meaning.

I had a midlife crisis at 32, it's true...and it was You who pulled me out of it.  Thank you.  I will be forever grateful.

With great affection,

1 comment:

  1. Sounds to me like you are still "creating" ;) watch this:


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