Is This A Midlife Crisis?

I can’t get enough salt. This happens roughly every other month right before my period. I crave Pepperjax or ramen. Yesterday, even though it was 97ºF, I ate a bowl of ramen and was ready for a second, so I had some seasoned Chex Mix. Then I wondered why my mouth was so dry at bedtime.

I’ve been known to pour Kikkoman soy sauce onto a spoon like it’s cough syrup and dose it a teaspoon or two at a time. Do not judge me.

Rarely does this salt craving last longer than a day. This month, I’m on day three. My blood pressure is probably drunk.

One month into age 45, I’ve noticed one thing: Every day ushers in a fun new horror show for my body.

Your Midlife Crisis: The Dictatorship

Accept that, during your midlife crisis, you are not in charge. Nothing is rational. And your body will let you know in three ways:

Your body will defy logic.

It doesn’t make logical sense for the outside muscles of your left hand to hurt when you wake up, but they will. Or maybe it’ll be your right calf, but only just below your knee. In fact, yesterday, the back of my left knee hurt, and I have no clue why. And that’s just it. You won’t know why. How isn’t even an askable question. That random spot on your body may never hurt again. Or it’ll become a thing that occurs with no warning, no pattern, and no mercy. Accept it. Fighting it and understanding it are not options.

You are your body’s lab experiment and voodoo doll. This is your life now.

You will grieve.

Remember that super cool thing you used to be able to do? It’s dead to you. Don’t even try unless you like brutal disappointment along with agonizing pain. “I used to be able to run five–” Yeah, your aging vessel does not care. Hurting after playing skee-ball is what it does now.

You’re going to try it anyway. And your body will laugh at you. It’ll laugh like an elf on a shelf laughs at children when we aren’t looking. It’ll laugh like the tiny bottle of ibuprofen you bought instead of springing for the Costco-sized double pack.

Don’t say Costco and I didn’t warn you, but they also sell a 36-count of 2-ply for your tears.

You will pain; That’s not a typo.

This is your new reality. Pray to FSM that you don’t already have a chronic pain condition.

Speaking of which, I looked into medicinal marijuana today, something I never thought I’d do. Because I’m living in a painful, grief-filled, logic-defying body that woke up acting like it had run a marathon when in fact the only thing it did yesterday was eat at Perkins. It has never run a 10k let alone a marathon, so I don’t know why it thought that was an option upon waking.

I figured legal weed products are the least of my worries.

Your Brain on a Midlife Crisis

The crying

It’s Super Bowl Sunday. You’re weeping into your mango-habanero-Nashville-hot-chipotle-garlic-lemon-pepper wings like you didn’t heed Sean Evans’ advice and weren’t careful around the eyes. But no. Google just aired an ad about the epic beauty of humanity, then Subaru showed you a happy, tongue-flapping doggo hanging out the window.

But it’s worse than that. Crying at ads is common as we age. No, your new normal is tearing up because you can’t find the right kitchen sponge. Or discovering a small-town car show is much bigger than you anticipated, so you can’t get to your favorite breakfast/cheese shop without parking two blocks away and walking through a throng of sweaty, Midwestern, classic, muscle car enthusiasts who probably have COVID.

That got oddly specific. But I was hangry, OK?

The . . . what was it again?

Then there’s the uncertainty. Is it anxiety? Depression? ADHD? Menopause (CIS dudes, be ecstatic)? Dementia? Early onset Alzheimer’s? Brain fog? Daylight savings? A time hole? Uncontrolled metaversal descent? Lack of sleep? Do I need water? When was the last time I ate? Did I take my meds? Did I set my 20 daily reminders and 16 alarms?

You won’t remember where you put anything. You won’t be able to keep track of anything. And you’ll be easily confused.

  • My wrist brace disappeared a few weeks ago. Not a clue where that went.
  • My psychiatrist is titrating two meds (getting off one, starting the other), and if it wasn’t written down, I’d have no idea what meds I’m supposed to be taking right now.
  • I’m reading a romance novel that involves an identical twin switcheroo and a woman pretending to be someone different, and I can’t keep track of who’s fucking who. Literally.

The best part? You’ll slowly stop giving a shit about anything that doesn’t serve you.

The worst part? Everything you say will be complaints about your body. Craig Ferguson recently reinforced that for me during his stand-up show. A major portion of his jokes were about getting older and how his body is reacting, and I’ve never felt more seen.

All Kidding Aside

My life has gotten brutal. I joke because if I don’t, I’ll cry and not just because of inaccessible breakfast sandwiches or emotionally manipulative Google commercials.

Hitting 45 proved depressing enough. I’m not someone who hates birthdays. I want everyone to know when my birthday is, and I want everyone to send me money. Not gifts. Money. I’m a Leo. Our egos shit on reigning in the greed on birthdays.

This year? I found myself alone at one point and almost cried at the number. 45. I associate Trump with the number 45. The number represents the end of your early 40s. It’s half way to fucking 90. I’m closer to retirement than puberty, AND THE HORMONES ARE NOT BETTER.

This is the age at which life is supposed to be sorted out, right? I should have secured my finances, be in the boring days of my career, and know who I am and what I want. Right?!

Turns out, this is not your Boomer’s timeline. I have $5,000 saved for retirement, I have no career, and I literally found out less than two weeks ago that I’m not biracial. I’m not even half Black. But that’s a post for another day because holy fuck am I still processing that one.

No joke. Since my birthday just over a month ago, I’ve experienced the following:

  • Marital strife (do. not. ask. but things are looking better.)
  • Location-based soul-gutting tears
  • Daily internal and external debates about cars, car prices, interest rates, rust, car payments, and where my threshold is for fixing aging cars
  • Complaints about how much food costs
  • Paranoia about unexpected deaths during minor surgeries because we aren’t spring chickens anymore (what the fuck is a spring chicken anyway)
  • Denial of pumpkin spice products knowing I only have so many pumpkin spice autumns left
  • The most expensive yet incredible meals I’ve ever had in my life ever as in ever while knowing I’ll never have them again
  • Meeting the most attractive, funniest celebrity I’ve ever adored . . . and realizing he looks better at 61 than I do at 45
  • Temporarily disabling my personal Instagram account because my brain and mental health can’t handle it
  • Nearly quitting my business . . . again
  • Resignation to the need for a traditional job
  • Acceptance that I need to be in therapy weekly
  • A three-hour conversation that rocked my sense of self
  • A completely different understanding of friendship and what it means to let go
  • A total upheaval of how I see sleep
  • The biggest pothole while riding in a car at 60 mph on a Chicago interstate
  • Noticing that I’m prone to hyperbolic words and examples
  • And not to be flippant about them, but some pretty dark thoughts

Aren’t I supposed to be–I don’t know–secure by 45? How am I the opposite of secure? How did I get here?

I guess that’s the hallmark of a midlife crisis. Everything upheaves. Where it lands, nobody knows.

Reddit screenshot reads: You know you’re old anytime you’re entering your DOB with a smartphone you get to the year and you have to spin that bitch like you’re on Wheel of Fortune.

What now?

I wish I knew. If this is what life is going to throw me just 35 days into this age, then I’m gonna look like an electrocuted Muppet by Thanksgiving.

If I’m honest, the only thing I can do is carry on. To endure is not enough. I’m not interested in being defeated by life’s circumstances. I’m far too stubborn and contrarian for that. And I’ve done it enough.

However, I’m also tired as fuck. Sometimes, the effort to live to the fullest looks a lot like laying on the couch in my underwear. It’s depressing, but it’s the best I’ve got on late summer days when a simple shower at anything warmer than cold triggers a hot flash.

But I do have questions: What does the aftermath of a midlife crisis look like?

I’m used to the stereotypical stories of men getting new jobs, new cars, new houses, and new wives. But for non-assholes, what’s the other side bring? Will I have wisdom? Will nothing change? Will it just be a few months of me making dumb decisions on hormone and sleep-deprived whims?

I guess I’ll fuck around and find out.

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