By accident I fell upon the conclusion that I am in the throes of a Mid Life Crisis.
I mean I knew there was something up but I didn’t really think that I was actually in full blown crisis mode until I did what everyone tells you not to do, I googled.
Oh Google why are you always the bearer of bad news? You’ve had me believe I am terminally ill and have only moment’s left to draw my final breath on many occasions and now you deliver this final blow.
Dear Google – What is the cause of a Mid Life Crisis?
The condition may occur from the ages of 45 – 64. Mid-life Crises last about 3 – 10 years in men and 2 – 5 Years in women. Mid-life crisis could be caused by aging itself, or aging in combination with changes, problems, or regrets over: work or career (or lack thereof)’
I like the way Google slipped the ‘Lack thereof’ into brackets as a little afterthought. Harsh. But hold up a minute, there is an anomaly, I am saved, I am but 39, I live on. However on reflection I realise that like most periods in my life I have peaked too early so it makes total sense that I should be six years ahead of myself. God Damn.
Also the career situation (or lack thereof) is blindingly obvious. That must be it and I can’t shy from the fact that ‘Career’ was at an all-time low but surely this couldn’t be the sole cause of my all out wobble. As I mentioned I have had more careers than is humanly possible, so lack of career is not a new revelation. Someone once said to me that it is as if I wake up one morning and say, ‘today I am going to be a ____________.’
I am like a modern day Mr. Benn. I walk into the wardrobe in the morning and emerge as a Fitness Instructor / Marketing Executive / Dragon Slayer / Blogger?! I am still waiting patiently for the day that I emerge as a Doctor, at which point I will lock up my wardrobe and throw away the key.
‘Dr. Judyinthemiddle will see you now.’
No, there was definitely more going on here so back to The Google I went and this time Google delivered.
‘Believing that all the wonderful happenings that will occur in your lifetime have already taken place can be a sign that you are in crisis mode.’
And there it was.
Lately I had been feeling that life was now just life and that the living bit had been left behind. The large sign that hangs in my kitchen saying ‘Happiness is not a destination it is a way of life’ mocked me every time I looked at it and all of a sudden I was craving the exciting times of the past.
I wanted to be engaged and planning my wedding and moving in together and getting pregnant and having kids and hosting my first dinner party (more about this again, think Chicken and Raw) and buying cots and teeny baby clothes and hold on a minute, actually what the fuck? Did I want to be doing all this again? Seriously?
So while I’ve been trapped inside my year of self-pity and re-evaluation I’ve been travelling back and looking at the past based on the assumption that to move forwards sometimes we must first go backwards.
And there was only one time I wanted to go back to. My happy place. We all have that one period in our lives that makes us stop, tilt our head to the side, stare into the distance, exhale and say ‘ah, the______ years’.
It was… ‘ah, The Buster Years’
Let me to tell you how they began.
Clear your minds, take a few deep breathes and come with me to 2004.
I am a newly married 25 year old Wife (absolute dipshit) with confidence brimming from every pore and very swishy hair. I was so bloody green yet I believed more than anything that I knew it all. I was after all ‘A Wife’, totally unaware that life was yet to chew me up and spit me out and that my hair would not always be swishy.
We were living in our cute little ‘starter’ home (ha.. I just spat out my tea a little).
I was working as a Marketing Exec in a company where I had a headset (‘This is Captain Judyinthemiddle, we are cruising at…’) ,words like EMEA were used on the hour every hour and I had no idea what I actually did. In fact if I was rich enough now I think I would offer to give back what they paid me. As an aside I am far better at interviews than I am at actual work and my claim to fame is that I’ve never gone for a job interview that I didn’t get, so that makes approximately 48!
I drove a brand new Red Mini One that I had bought on a whim a few months before the wedding (Ha…sorry I just snorted my tea out my nose there). Life was for the taking. We had no ties, no major responsibilities, we could holiday at the drop of a hat, go for dinner after work, stay out all night and then one day the doorbell rang.
Swishing my swishy hair I answered it, looked down and there it was, sitting in a basket, staring up at me was the game changer. I bent down picked him up, kissed his nose and that was it.
‘Hello Buster’, I said to the cutest teeniest Boxer puppy I had ever seen.
We had discussed a puppy over our many grown up dinners (I was learning to cook, very badly). I had already decided that I would get a Bichon Friche and brush and dress this small white curly dog in cute costumes. But a Boxer? Seriously? But The S.O had other ideas. He was adamant that he would not partake in walking around with a white cloud on a lead dressed in a Christmas Jumper.
So there it was we were dog owners. Boxer Dog owners. (Luckily we did not research the breed otherwise Buster or Mister Buster as he later became would be sitting on another doorstep.)
We had responsibility.
The Buster Years had begun.
It was the last time for 10 years that the doorbell ringing would not be accompanied by frantic barking, claws slipping over the tiles, screams of ‘don’t open the door’ and grabbing of collars. The last time that I would go for a walk without looking like I was water skiing behind a giant dog, the last time I would leave the house without being worried about getting back to Buster and wondering what damage he had done in our absence. (Sunglasses, doors, shoes, chairs, bag of flour, bottle of vodka…all gone.)
We had unknowingly limited our unlimited lives
Good God, here was the pattern again, it was six years too early to get a dog! But it was the very moment that my life as I knew it changed forever and for the second time that I fell in love.
There was so much that happened during those years. There was house moves, business ventures, 3 kids, the stupid crappy shitting recession, more love than I could ever measure and more pain than I wish to remember. Friendships lost, friendships gained, laughter, tears. I could in fact write a book about the Buster years and maybe someday I will..(you know my master plan now!}
But I have gone off on another bloody tangent and there was a point in there somewhere.
So while these years were the most amazing of my life. They were also awful. It was as if the moment I kissed Busters nose that an invisible stop watch was set in motion to learn every life lesson there is. We had more challenges during those times than we have ever had since. I mean let’s face it I was complete knob getting married at 25, in fact if I met the then me now I would flush my own head down the toilet.
The Buster Years were filled with pregnancy and childbirth and piles for fuck sake, sleepless nights and the pain of ejecting tiny humans and the pain of trying to get into your jeans again, giant Shrek feet, losing your ankles, your waist, your dignity. Saggy baby belly and trying to find childcare and realising that you will never look or feel the same again and that you will have to sport a mullet for a short time as all the sides of your hair fall out post baby. That you will be poor, very poor forever more and you will never put yourself first for the rest of your life, that you will never be worry free again…
Ok Ok… I know the good outweighs the bad and it is all worth it. It really is. Like I said mess with my kids and you are going down. But those years were wonderfully horrific.
But it got me thinking, what if in five years’ time I look back at this past icky year and I don’t remember my silly little crisis and I only remember the good bits.
And while I long to have my three humans tiny again (it is a strange thing when your children get taller than you, they can be mean to you!) and I miss the smell of them and being able to pick them up and carry them about with me, I am having the privilege of watching three tiny humans grow into three bigger humans. These three humans that shock me to my core every time I think of them and the fact that me and The S.O made these people who are much much better versions of us.
The past is always brighter.
What if we are currently making the memories that we will look back on in 5 years and think we were having the time of our lives?
What if The Wilbur Years turn out to be just as special as The Buster Years?
What if we are living our best life right now and we don’t even realise it?
What if the best is yet to come?