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Tag Archives: midlife crisis

Absence Makes the Heart Go Wander

I feel so bad that I haven’t been posting here on my blog lately. I’d been doing so well with my strict schedule of a new post every three to four days.  I miss everyone here as well, so I thought I’d drop you a post to let you know I’m still alive.

I’ve been so busy with life, work, kids, two blogs, the election, wondering about life and death, doubting that it is possible to ever find true love, rediscovering old friendships, feeling pains of doubt, paranoia, insecurity, fear, seeking solace in going shopping, seeking solace in going to the eye doctor, blah, blah, blah. As you can see, I’ve been busy. With life. I know that none of this is relevant to any of you, but the more excuses I list the better I feel about not having written an official post here in such a long time.

Today I finally got tough with me, and told myself that I have to write something here tonight! It has been a week since my last post, and as with many things in life….you can become out of habit with things. Even things you love. Life is work, and so is this blog. But nothing in life comes easy, I guess.

Now I’m sure I sound like I’ve been dipping into the chardonnay….but I assure you I haven’t. I’m just in the midst of my usual midlife crisis-mode. With a touch of sadness. And a whisper of exhaustion…actually a great big loud yell of exhaustion.

In summary, it’s been a long day, and this post is making even me depressed! I’ll have a better post soon, if I can fit it in after the eye doctors and before I take my mom out on errands. But whenever it happens, it will DEFINITELY be before the chardonnay. Or not.

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Is it Too Late or is it Right on Time?

Too late. It’s too late, actually. That’s  how I feel more and more every day. Too late for what? Too late for chasing dreams? Too late for taking chances? I don’t know, maybe too late for everything.

But that kind of thinking has been with me my whole life. It must have started when I was due to be born in October, then showed up late in early November. The die had been cast. Even when I was a kid I remember thinking I was too old to start ice skating lessons in fourth grade, because all the kids in the Olympics started when they were two. I remember at nineteen years of age talking myself out of modeling school because all the decent models had been in the field since they were fourteen. I finished my first college degree late, at the age of twenty-three, because of being sidetracked by irresponsibility. I got married late at the age of thirty. Then I returned to school for my next degree even later, at the age of thirty-one and considered myself the old lady of the nursing school class. Even though I wasn’t. I just felt that way.

The song “Undun” by the Guess Who was ahead of its time. Actually it was right on time for me, as it was from the year of my birth….1969. Because it is “my song” as I’ll call it, I cling to each lyric as if it speaks to me personally. A prophecy. Is it too late for me? Will this endless lateness eventually make me “come undun?” Even though this spelling for the word “undone” is incorrect, I’ll forgive them because she must also have been too late to worry about grammar. Plus, I’m sure they were hippies.

If you live your whole life feeling like you’ve already missed the boat, what’s the point in ever hoping to get anywhere? That is the million dollar question I’ve asked myself more and more often lately. Especially when it is coming up time for my next birthday. I wonder, what have I done this past year? What did I end up missing out on because I was too late? What can I do this year while I still have time to do it?

This year I’m going to start seeing the glass as half full. Instead of thinking about all the things I’m too late for, I’m going to make myself focus on what I’m RIGHT ON TIME for. So, at my tender age of fortyteen…what am I right on time for? I’m right on time for a slower metabolism, I’m right on time for a midlife crisis, I’m right on time to worry about my retirement, I’m right on time to be the mother of pre-teen boys (and the whole can of worms that comes  along with that), I’m right on time to be part of the sandwich generation and by then I’ll be right on time for another midlife crisis (why stop at one? I’m not a quitter).

So, I can see there is so much left in life that I am at the perfect age to enjoy. I’ll never miss out again on the surprises of life, thinking every opportunity is in my past. “I’m right on time” is what I’ll say as a I pay each bill, as I plan for my future, as I face another car repair or broken furnace. I’m right on time for the minute I’m in. Best of all, I think I’m right on time for a nap.

Time Warp Vacation with Sprinkles and Extra Napkins

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So here we are on a vacation I’ve been dreaming about for eighteen years. I haven’t been back to Cape Cod since I was just out of college. At that time I was carefree and wandering and wondering where my life would take me. I swam in the bay with my mother on that last day and we enjoyed an unhurried morning where there was no one else in the world but us. Suddenly, a freak accident landed me in the emergency room and I had to get numerous stitches in my leg after being cut by a seashell while out on a swim.

I don’t hold it against that seashell, but that shock, pain, fear, regret and vulnerability were the last experiences I had on Cape Cod before taking a hiatus from vacations, and carefreeness and wandering and wondering for many years to come. For the next eighteen years, I worked in a few corporate jobs, relocated several times, got married, went back to school, started a second career and had a few kids. This was the summer I planned to catch up where I left off before that sunny morning ended up going so bad.

Prior to that day, all my previous memories of Cape Cod were happy ones. I associated Cape Cod with an escape from reality. My serious concerns of the day were which shorts to wear, how long I’d go for a swim and what flavor ice cream cone to try. Those are the kind of major decisions my life has been lacking in recent times. Lately I’ve been too caught up in the grown up realities of mortgages, debt, family stress, work stress, dreams deferred, and growing older. If I were wealthy it might be called a “midlife crisis” – something easily resolved with buying a convertible and a toupee. But I can’t afford a convertible, and I’d look ridiculous wearing a toupee on top of the hair I still have. I’m sure everyone goes through this at some point in their lives, but retreating to a time in my life where happiness was never-changing is pure genius. It seems like something I should have thought of years ago.

My own kids have never been on a real vacation, either. This is their first time out-of-state. I was so worried how they’d tolerate a half-day car ride that I went overboard with every possible amusement they could need. I was so eager to show them all the places I went to as a kid, and tell them about the things I did for fun, what I saw and where I went. My kids are happy beyond belief with everything we’ve done so far. So many firsts for them: first time seeing the ocean, first time swimming in salt water, first time climbing a sand dune, first time running from a wave. I see my own childhood in their excitement and wonder. They have already asked me where we are going to stay when we come up here again next year. One of my kids even said he is going to bring his own kids here someday. I am so happy to know that my own childhood dreams, happiness and memories are now somehow passed over to my kids so they can start building their own on top of them.

But, it’s kind of funny being here as an “adult.” Now I’m the responsible one, the driver, the planner, the coordinator. I’m the one who budgets the money, decides when we will go and where. I break up the squabbles and decide what souvenirs my kids should buy. For the first time ever I’ve driven in a town where I used to walk everywhere. Something I never considered before…the crazy traffic and problems with parking. Making sure the kids are quiet in the motel so the neighbors won’t complain about the noise. Making sure we don’t go through all our clothes before the end of our stay. Trying to do the most we can even when the weather is straight rain for days on end. Realizing that many people up here on vacation don’t seem as concerned as I am with money. Such is life.

I’m also learning that returning to a childhood haunt as an adult can have some sadness to it as well. Ghosts of people in my life that aren’t around anymore – who we used to spend our summers with – have haunted me these past few days. People taken by old age, distance, and one tragically taken too soon. I realized I’ve been subconsciously looking for them in the crowds. I could see their faces in some of the other people I’d see here on the beach or waiting outside a store. Their memory is still with me. Good memories that I cherish.

You can’t go back in time, I know. But that eighteen year gap really froze everything in my mind. This was the summer the memories started to grow up again. Going back to an amazing sand dune that had our close family friend’s home was next to is now all grown over with trees, grass and an unsightly new McMansion sitting directly on top of it. With permission, we were able to climb up a path on the dune so my kids could have the empowering experience of standing on  top of a mountain of sand. They had a great time, but I quietly felt the end of the chapter on a wondrous memory of mine.

One good thing that hasn’t changed is the town pier. My favorite ice cream, chocolate soft serve with chocolate sprinkles in a cake cone, tasted just as I remembered. And the warm wind melting it faster than I could eat it so ice cream and sprinkles were blown all over the table – to the horror of my family and the surrounding patrons – was just as comforting as I remembered it to be. But this time I’m the adult – and I prepared ahead with plenty of napkins and indifference. We all ate our ice cream cones and went out onto the beach – collecting shells and enjoying the day as if time had stopped and there was no one in the world but us.

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