Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy!

Normally when I read Scott Feschuk’s articles in Maclean’s magazine, I laugh so hard I pee my pants.  This is not as bad as it sounds because I usually only get to read Maclean’s in the bathroom, so don’t worry. 

A recent Feschuk column, however still humourous, was a bit more philosophical as he contemplated his own midlife crisis.  What really caught my attention, without the accompanying incontinence, was a comment in reply to his column.  A Dr. Drummond, author of the The Midlife Crisis Handbook  (how perfect is this for that hard-to-buy-for-in-midlife-crisis someone on your list?), pointed out that, “Midlife Crisis is a term first used by Elliott Jacques in a research paper in 1965 where he discussed the angst of middle aged men in big business. They were asking the question, Is this all there is? and really struggling with whether or not their feelings called for a big change in their lives.  A functional Midlife Crisis is a massive shortcut to living your dreams when it is done well and done on purpose.”

If posing the query, “Is this all there is?” designates a midlife crisis, then everyone in my family is having one on a fairly regular basis – particularly around dinner time.

Secondly, a “…massive shortcut to living your dreams?  There’s only one shortcut I know to living my dreams, and it’s called Lotto649.

So in contrast to Dr. Drummond’s definition, clearly the midlife crisis that all your neighbours want to talk about is a dysfunctional Midlife Crisis:  running off with the secretary, buying a motorcycle or a leasing two-seater sportscar – none of which are particularly sensible for a married man in his midlife! 

I took a different approach and recently preempted my husband’s midlife crisis by giving him permission to take on a mistress.  Yep, a marital hall pass.  My one and only condition was that she have her own car and is willing to drive our kids to hockey.  Not surprisingly, he has no takers so far, and my dear husband is suggesting that’s because the 30-somethings in his life aren’t big on hockey.  I say the 30-somethings in his life aren’t big on him.

Funny how the crises of most women involve altering the effects of time, whereas for men it involves fooling the effects of time.  As for me, I figure I’ve had at least a dozen midlife crises along my journey, which Dr. Drummond thankfully points out is perfectly normal.  It’s doubtful I would mourn the choices I’ve made in life and entirely unthinkable for me to take dysfunctional action to undo any of them.  I have no shortage of complaints about what new dysfunction plagues my body and mind these days but the midlife decisions that plague most women hold no controversy for me:  if it involves needles or knives, I just need to get over myself.  Which means of course that most of my midlife crises go entirely unnoticed…that is … until that crisis is interrupted by yet another of Life’s existential mysteries:  did we run out of peanut butter again?

How will you handle your midlife crisis?

21 Responses to Midlife and Mistresses

  • Amusing read. I read this Atlantic article in the library a few weeks back, and it too was amusing, laugh-out-loud kind of read. “The Bitch is Back” http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/the-bitch-is-back/8642/

    • Thanks for stopping by and for sharing that link! Oh how I wish I had that author’s sense of humour and writing skill!! Loved it!

  • Girl, I’ve already passed my mid-life crisis. I’m encouraging Alex (my husband) to get me a couple of sister wives. I want young energetic ones too. One to clean, and one to cook, and I’d be delighted. She should also like dogs, because our house is filled with them. I might even be open to a third sister wife if she is an avid gardener. So far, Alex has sort of ignored my suggestions, but time will tell.

  • Ha! Seems like a very sensible solution to me.

    My whole life is a series of mid-life-like crises, mostly because I can never figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

  • What a witty, clever and insightful post. It seems that I am in a perpetual state of midlife crisis as well. Where did you say that short cut was!? Loved this!

    • Thanks for dropping in Wendy! I really don’t think there is a shortcut; however, I think perhaps our multiple crises, spread out over a lifetime *have* to be better than one big one, don’t you??

  • Love how you handled the dreaded midlife crisis with your husband. I can’t see a thirty-something gleefully signing up for driving kids to sports events. Just the mention of it makes me pick out my eyebrows. I realized I was having a midlife crisis when one day I happened to sleep in a little longer than normal and when I awoke, all my muscle tone was spread out over the sheets. Great post, Astra!

    • Thanks Annie. I too have reached that stage where I think my body parts look better horizontally than vertically. I like Linda’s idea of having several “sister wives”! Then again I can appreciate your mellowed approach to the end of the Mayan calendar as well 🙂

  • I too have midlife crisis’s (sp) every few months. It’s what happens with too much time on my hands. Great read.

    • Hi Dani – wish ‘too much time on my hands’ was my problem but I have to come up with other reasons to explain away my crises!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • I think that my husband and I had such long childhoods that we’ve forfeited any midlife crisis. There simply won’t be time.

    I did offer him a hallpass once and he begged me not to throw him back into the dating pool again, even for a second.

    • Not sure if you can forfeit a midlife crises! If they happen too late in your lifetime – well – I guess you’ll just get all worked up about it and then forget what you were all worked up about!! As for your husband’s hall pass? Well I guess he totally gets it! Who would want to go through all that again but a dysfunctional, delusional, self-centred trainwreck-in-the-making??

  • Astra, I should have known that constantly wailing, “Is this as good as it gets?” and “Is this really all there is to life?” were indicators that I had fallen head first into the midlife crisis. You had me doubled up in laughter with this terrific post! Oh, I loved it! “I say the 30-somethings in his life aren’t big on him.” Your poor husband! But really, isn’t that the case for most middle-aged men who don’t make six figure salaries? Which may not be the case for your significant other but which totally is the case for mine! hee hee! I believe I will approach this midlife crisis like I do most things, sword drawn, teeth barred. I say, bring it! If I’ve been surviving existential crises for most of my life, what’s one more with a twist, right? 🙂

    • I believe you always have the right approach to life Bella, and if approaching midlife with sword drawn and teeth barred seems like the practical, functional approach to you, then I agree, bring it! My sadness is for those who feel their own sword is not sharp enough or their own teeth are not white enough and therefore have a midlife crisis over how to improve upon their coping weapons!

  • Great post! I made the brilliant decision, years ago, to marry a man five years older than me. He has hit every milestone first, and the midlife malaise is his current state of mind. I laugh at…ahem…I mean learn from his struggles, and I feel so much more prepared for what is to come. I know my midlife crisis will not include an affair…I do not have the energy. I won’t be buying a car…I can barely keep up on the one I have. I won’t be traveling the world…because as you noted, no one else wants to drive my kids to sports. So I think I might just give up clothes or something. (then maybe they’ll commit me and I’m sure wherever they send me there will be warm meals and a bed) I’ll keep you posted!

    • Ah, smart woman you are Meagan! I can do without the extramarital affair and car as well. As for the travelling – well – not making promises on that one. I would like to have the time and budget to do more of that (as long as – as you suggest – there are warm meals and a real bed)!! Thanks for stopping by!

  • I inadvertently had my mid-life crisis when I discovered my husband was in the throes of his–with another, younger woman. Those were crazy times and I went through a major reinvention of myself. So I hope there are no more midlife-crises in my future!

    • Monica, I too hope there are no more midlife crises in your future. I can see how my frivolous offer for my husband’s to take on a mistress might seem to trivialize the experiences of those for whom such an event created pain and heartache. I’m sorry your ex husband chose to hurt you in the process of his crisis but can tell from your writing, you’re a stronger person for it! My husband would be much weaker following he chose that route (particularly following his castration).

  • I absolutely loved reading this post -Most especially, your ponderings of life’s big questions: Are we out of peanut butter again?

    • It’s true! Most of my ponderings of life’s big questions is because no one bothers to tell me anything around here!! Thanks for stopping by Kelly!

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About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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