the same thing i always write about

Looking back over this journal, the last few months have seemed pretty rough. Living through them hasn’t been all ice cream in waffle cones either, now that I think of it. Some things have gotten a lot better and some things are hard and welcome to life my god could I whine any more? Well, probably I could. I seem to have an infinite capacity.

I suppose I’m having a midlife crisis, which is rather frightening in that it implies I have only have half of my life left. An entire half is already gone and I spent much of it trying to sneak in bad TV watching when my parents weren’t home and wondering if that boy in homeroom liked me. What was I thinking? Why didn’t I think about how I would end up here now with only 50% of my time remaining and an annoying announcer in the background of my head like on that Iron Chef America show on the Food Network. (And maybe on the original too, only that one’s in Japanese, and normally I don’t hear Japanese voices in my head. Only on odd Saturdays.) “50%. 50% remaining.”

Maybe I have longer than that. Who knows how long I might live, right? But I’d rather not dwell, with the whole panic attack hyperventilation that comes from the whole death phobia. Moving right along.

The midlife crisis really gets a bad rap, but I don’t know if it deserves it. Well, there is the whole “crisis” part of the name, but with good reason. I mean, fuck, I only have half my life left! What the hell have I been doing with it all this time? This is all we have. This is it. And then we die. And it’s over. Done. Gone. Am I happy? Am I where I want to be? Am I at least walking in that general direction? What about all that stuff I wanted to do but put off because I had so much time? What the fuck happened to all that time?

I have a friend who I’m sure gets very irritated with me. She spends her mornings at the coffee shop and then in the afternoons she walks around the lake. And she’s always inviting me along but I almost never go. The thought of spending every day doing nothing for hours makes me itchy. The voice again, in my head, counting down the time.

So, which of us is living life the right way? Or is there even a right way? Maybe she’s living the right way for her and I’m living the right way for me. Or at least I’m trying. Which is where the whole crisis a la midlife comes in. I’m halfway in, and I chucked it all and started over. (And this isn’t even the first time I’ve done it, although this time feels a little extreme for some reason, even though from some perspectives, that seems crazy.) You would think that would be the stress — that it’s so late to start over. Too late. I can never catch up now. All that time before is wasted.

But I don’t feel that way at all. I feel relief to be starting so much over, like I’ve been lost and driving down the wrong road, frustrated because I know I have no idea where I’m going, but knowing that stopping and going nowhere is foolish. And now, I’ve found another way, and I am finally going somewhere.

And nothing feels wasted. Yes, I’m back on that life is a journey, not a destination bandwagon again. You can skip this paragraph if you want. I’ll try to make it a short one. Everything now balances on everything before. That’s just how life works. When I was on this recent road trip, it was an odd feeling because instead of thinking about how long it would be until I got there, the entire trip was “there”. I could drive and enjoy whipping around winding roads except when those slow cars were in my way and why oh why did you have to drive so slowly in front of me when driving fast is so much more fun and I could stop and walk around whenever I wanted. And I did.

So yes, I’m doing all the stereotypical midlife crisis-type things. Spending too much money. Buying cars. Ending relationships and jobs and eating Haagen Dazs Mayan chocolate ice cream.

People talk about the midlife crisis with disdain but it’s really about evaluating your life. Is this where you want to be right now this moment? And is it where you’ll want to be five years from now, ten years from now? When that voice in your head is telling you that 25% if your life is remaining?

So sometimes I feel such happiness I think my heart might burst and sometimes I cry so hard I wonder when I might run out of tears. And all of that is life too. As for my crisis? It’s not entirely stereotypical. My sports car is blue.

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