Do I need a midlife crisis, and if so, what does it look like?

posted by Jeff | Sunday, April 12, 2015, 7:14 PM | comments: 0

I've been having a lot of anxiety lately, and I can't exactly pin down why. I assume it's either because I'm not getting something that I want or need, or I'm doing things that I don't want to do. I get a little of that every spring, even though I now live where spring is basically indiscernible from half of the year. It feels different this time though... like there's high potential for a midlife crisis.

Really though, I don't think it's what one would classically define as said crisis. It implies that one is unhappy or depressed, and generally I am not those things, and I don't expect that I will be. If there's one thing that I've become a lot better at in the last decade, it's becoming self-aware perhaps to a fault. My crisis, I think, settles more around the idea that I've not taken substantial risks or lived life to some arbitrary potential or something.

In the context of the first half of my life, there's some truth to that. I married into my first serious adult relationship. I never moved far from home or explored professional opportunity elsewhere. Heck, those two things together were one of the issues with my first marriage, and it was definitely not fair to Steph. Even when I switched careers, I stuck to what was safe and easy.

Post-divorce (or during), my risk taking ability changed to some degree, but probably only in certain areas. Socially, I had no issue dating younger women, and I was done with living in my home town and state. I experimented with body piercing and hair color. I looked for more challenging work. I lived in five places in four years, too, so I shook that problem as well.

These days, I'm mature enough to know that risk for the sake of risk is, well, immature. Still, I find myself thinking a lot about whether or not I'm missing out on something bigger. Don't worry, hookers and blow are not my style. Ditto for sports cars. (Now a Tesla Model S... well, OK, I can't logically rationalize that.) My travel bug is pretty ridiculous, but there are some practical limitations around that because of Simon.

I didn't really have time to notice that I crossed the 40 mark, but I can tell you that I'm not suddenly more aware of my eventual mortality. I think my anxiety is rooted more in the idea that I squandered some of my earlier years, and I don't want to miss out on "something" in my able-bodied years. I just can't define what that is.

Maybe this is just another level of self-awareness. If you can be happy in life, and you can still identify the potential for it being "better," there is definitely some value in that. I know it doesn't involve "stuff," but what experiences would improve my life? What does my non-depressed version of a midlife crisis look like?


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