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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Midlife Crisis

Ting blogged about mid-life crisis too, yesterday. I hope she doesn't mind that I've copied her topic AND her heading today. The thing about mid-life crisis is that it hits everyone at some time or other. And like puberty, it might be contagious, because people catch it in groups.

Almost everyone I know (around my age) has it now. One lady shops for a living. I kid you not. She is given vast sums of money to buy stuff, and she travels everywhere to do that. Isn't that a dream job for most people? Another lady has a mysterious job that exudes power and money. Hey... isn't that so cool? Yet another seems to bring home pails of money to her house of white marble and black granite. Who doesn't want pails of money?

I complained first. I said "I'm restless at home. I want a change. I live for my husband and children. I wish I could live for myself now."

Then my friend says "I'm restless at work. I want a change. I live for my husband and children. I wish I could live for myself now."

So many conversations, same words. Some ladies bring home the bacon. Their husbands have been laid off, or have struck out on their own. The girls have not the luxury to quit. Others like me, have to exist in the uncomfortable limbo of having to rely on The Husband for food, clothes and lodging. And I go green with envy when my friends and these others in my family chalk up successes, and all I do is ask them about their day.

Asking people about their day and listening intently is a very important part of my job, you know. My family would die if I didn't do that. Ok... ok... we all know that that isn't true. I was being sarcastic about my contributions to my family and to the world at large.

But on the other side of the fence, the stories I hear go somewhat in parallel. Attending meetings and making decisions is an important part of my job you know. My company will fail if I didn't do that. Same sarcasm. One lady said glumly "I trade and trade and make big bucks... not my money, company's money. No lives are touched. There is no meaning in what I do."

For each of us, the frustration is real. It's the inflection point in our lives. The feelings of being able to conquer more of the world, go more places, do new things is now replaced be feelings of "been there, done that... hey, no big deal". What's next? Work, work and more work? Meetings, meetings, more meetings? Conference calls, conference calls, more conference calls? For me it is, fetch kids, fetch kids, fetch more kids?

Oh... my life is half gone and what have I done?!

I have no solutions. I can't bring solutions to any of my friends whether they're career women or stay-at-home moms. But I can put our frustration into words, and create a bond of common suffering. So that we each know that this feeling of having failed to be SOMEONE and make a difference to the world is the common curse of the human condition... and it doesn't matter how much you have achieved in life and how much of a difference you've made, this feeling still hits you hard.

I knew men go through it. I've been hit on often enough by men in mid-life crises attempting to deny the gradual realization of their own mortality by seducing girls half their age. I never knew that women go through it too.


Chawanmushi said...

You want to live for yourself .... erhm .... you can only do that if you are a hermit, I suppose :-)
Everyone you love lives around you and your lives are interconnected with each other. So maybe when you are tired of this interconnectedness you take time off to recharge yourself. But you still don't live for yourself :-)

I only think of being a blessing to those I know around me and at the moment do small things with a great love. Maybe the way I think is just being simplistic but it's a simple way of life. This would be how I leave a legacy with my children .... not how I want to live for myself at the moment.
Hope this makes sense ?

I do hope you are feeling better today :-)

petunialee said...

That's a nice way of moving forwards. Try to be a small blessing to those around.

Blur Ting said...

Chawanmushi has not hit mid life yet :-)

You bet! We women also go through mid-life crisis. Unlike men, we don't go out and buy Ferraris or date sweet young things, we just gather together, drink tea, eat cake and gripe. Then we go home and make sure our kids get fed, husbands get taken care of... and so we never ever get to solve our own little crisis.

petunialee said...

Ting - Oh yes! Griping helps!! I felt much better after writing the post.

Tea and cakes also help! Hahahaha!