Monday, March 19, 2007

I Had An Epiphany The Other Day

My thoughts were chasing around in the upper echelons of my brain when a couple of them dropped down to rest a spell and endure closer examination.

I am pretty comfortable, I thought. I am satisfied and content with my life, which, for the most part is a good place to be.

But, it was a disconcerting thought.

It made me wonder if this is what "middle age" is about.

Is "middle age" about becoming settled? About becoming content.

Or is "contentment" just another word for "complacency"?

In that moment I identified with "mid-life crisis".

Perhaps, I thought, mid-life crisis is not a fear of growing old.

What if all the behaviours that we sadly shake our heads over, exchange knowing glances about and associate with mid-life crisis have less to do with a fear of growing old, and more to do with a fear of growing complacent.

Maybe the red sports cars, the chucking up of a secure job, or the dabbling in extra-marital affairs are not  grasping at one's vanishing youth.

Maybe these reactions are more of an attempt to hold complacency and boredom at bay.

When we were young, uncertainty and insecurity went hand in hand with challenge and exhilaration.

As we gain in maturity, do we also lose the impetuosity that spelled danger and excitement?

Are these things gone?

Is there nothing unexpected to anticipate?

Will all the new roads turn out to be roads already traveled?

In that moment I  understood the fear that might drive one to a flirtation or a fast sports car.

Not fear of growing old, but fear- almost a grief, at the thought of a life void of newness and exploration.


After I gave my head a shake, I asked my husband what he thought about getting a motorcycle and a couple of helmets.


  1. I think the motorcycle is a great idea.

    But winter will really cause havoc with your plans so you have to find a new innovation in the winter.

    I just can't see you on a skidoo. Maybe skis?

  2. Laura - I am impressed by your perceptiveness.

    However there's probably both those motivations and more in the male heart. There's probably also the fact that this is the first time for many that they have real money available to throw at the things we always wanted to enjoy but couldn't afford. There's also an increase in confidence and insight that makes one more socially adept and able to arrange circumstances in a way that a teen/20 year old couldn't manage.

    I'd also suggest that those who succumb to affairs are the weak-minded ones - not those of greater vitality.

    So if you can arrange it, I'd like to see pics of you and Randall on a Harley this summer. It'll be a lowrider, naturally. ;-)