I'm always running late... like a decade or two behind.
For instance, my peers have already had their midlife crisis years and years and YEARS ago. I think. I mean they MUST have. But then how can I really know. I haven't seen them for a while. I don't live near them. I don't live in their house.
I am not their best ex friend or their sister that they no longer talk too. A MID life crisis is a thing of consequence. A thing of conscience.
They seem so put together. Like they've got their shit together, their houses clean, all their wooden ducks in a row. Or, then again, maybe they haven't really had that mid life crisis after all. Who can tell these days, right? What with virtual reality and AI and all those face aging apps, and our charming insistence to use our favorite profile pictures from when we were 33 or 23 or just plain 3. Who the hell knows how old anyone is anymore?
The good news is, IF I'm doing the math right, if I'm having a MIDlife crisis NOW this means I am going to live to be 112.
CAVEAT: my husband tells me that it doesn't quite work like that. I mean, I shouldn't take MID life to be something quite so literal. But I am the daughter of medical Evangelical missionaries. I was literally raised to think that language is LITERAL.
I look at him.
GIVE ME A BREAK!
I CAN DO THE MATH.
56 + 56
+ I've got Swedish genes
and Irish genes....
If I don't die of despair or depression or drink myself to death first (not that I drink...)
if I am not struck by lightening
for something I do or say
or didn't do or didn't say
If I'm not RAPTURED first
I'm in for the long haul.
Thankfully, I guess, I've always been a late bloomer.
For instance, it just dawned on me in the last few months that I really should get a job, like, a REAL job. Where you show up every day and work with a team of other people who show up every day and where you receive a benefits plan and a dental plan and LIFE INSURANCE and have a boss.... Hey, I could be retiring by now! Cashing out my 401K and all. SH*T I don't even know what that is.
So far my benefits include meeting extraordinary people, taking naps, listening to birds and cicadas before dawn, watching the sunrise, watching the sunset, searching the sky for manna, not having to go to work every day, working all day, waking up super early, having the house all to myself in the middle of the night, cleaning the house in the middle of the night and still tripping over dishes in the morning....
I really shouldn't be telling my own secrets or anyone else's for that matter.
Which is why I am having a midlife crisis...
I am officially rethinking the whole secret life thing.
The whole gosh darn kit and kaboodle (even my missionary swearing betrays me and THIS is what I would like to officially question WHY am I still afraid that I might be burned at the stake or go to HELL, or not be RAPTURED (good G*d PLEASE don't rapture me), or die a sudden painful death from cancer, or called a wh*re, so still screwing up the courage to talk about THAT. Though it helps that most people who still believe in the rapture are wearing MAGA hats. That's a clear line I can stand on the other side of...MAGA hats are proof of my vindication.)
My husband laughs at me when I get mad. He laughs at me when I swear.
I don't have the gifts or genes to curse like a Cuban, bless you wherever you are my dear Jose O Vilanova.
I could use your fire today.
And if you are afraid to curse, afraid to burn ears, afraid to make someone mad, afraid to pull back the veil, afraid to tell your own damn story because it might impinge or cast shade on someone else, then how do you talk at all?
How do you talk about history? How do you talk about a life lived? YOUR life lived...
How do you go about writing a memoir, for example, except maybe one that serves as a performance piece with a stage filled with falling fluttering white pages.
That could be cathartic.
That could be all I need to say.
White pages. White history. White lies.
I can hear my husband laughing. My mother laughing.
We once had a conversation as my mother was dying from ovarian cancer about how we all dreamed of being the silent type. Holding words close to the chest. Raising the quizzical brow. If you knew my mother, or my husband, or ME for that matter, you know how ridiculous that sounds. Silence is something I dream about.
Silence is something that wraps me up tight like the silken threads of a green cocoon.
MY life lived, YOUR life lived, my father's life, my mother's life, my great grandmother's life, my children's life, my husband's life... How do you tell these stories without betraying yourself or the ones you live close to or the ones you love?
Do you turn to fiction?
Do you turn to farce?
But then, how do you NOT tell these stories. We've listened to the news. We've read history.
Silence is complicity.
Silence is also betrayal.
How do you go about orienting yourself if you can't tell your own story, if you are forbidden to tell your father's story, your mother's story, your son's story, your daughter's story?
Is it just me? Am I the only one that gets squeamish at the idea of speaking truth?
And yes I know, DEAR READER, I am a grown woman.
Half way to 112! I don't need permission to talk.
I can say what I think and then think about what I say, and change my thoughts all around. I can stand on my head and chant limericks if I want to. Who the hell cares.
After all, I am 56 half way to 112.
Lots of lessons learned, a lifetime of lessons still to come. Some of those may be harder, some may be easier. I am hopeful that I will learn faster. That I have learned a thing or two in life about learning a thing or two and actually putting that knowledge to work.
So in the midst of my mid life crisis, I am rethinking the whole truth telling writing life narrative thing. I can feel the weight of my ancestors breathing down my neck. I can hear their Christian voices. The voices of the CHRISTIAN FATHERS...
It gives me chills.
Rethinking my vocation.
Rethinking what it means to be a story teller, a writer, a scholar, a daughter, a mother...
And what I have come to so far is this: maybe I should grow up already.
Maybe I should run away to the circus.
Maybe I should become a belly dancer.
Maybe I should become a priestess.
Maybe I should become a midwife.
Maybe I should become a flame thrower.
Maybe I should become a surgeon.
Maybe I should become a designer.
Maybe I should become an engineer.
Maybe I should become a painter.
Maybe I should become a prophet.
Maybe I should become a poet.
Maybe I should become a comedian.
After all, me and my friends, we're headed to 112!
We have a whole life time left to live.