I write this on the back of listening to a radio segment today… the female announcer, who I believe is around the same age as me (38), maybe slightly older, and she was approached by a newspaper who wanted to write an article about the ‘Female Mid-Life Crisis’ and she was offended, thinking that a mid-life crisis is a bad thing.
But the callers were all ringing her saying how wonderful their mid-life crisis has been. They were saying that they came to a point that they realised that they had given so much of their life to other people – their parents, their partner, their kids and their friends, that they decided they would do something that made them feel good.
Their female mid-life crisis included everything from travel, to buying expensive clothes, tummy-tucks and boob-jobs, to a new hairstyle, studying, getting a tattoo, leaving their husband or leaving their job and either starting a new business or doing something far left from centre from what they had been doing.
Most of these mid-life crisis started after the age of forty, but I believe mine started when I was 34 when I left my kids and my husband to see my friend in London. Once I was there, that’s when I said to myself that I had to stop waiting for husband to actually do something for me to move on to the next career phase of my life, I had to start doing it for myself. Six weeks after leaving London, I went to New Zealand with my sister for my aunt’s birthday, and we attempted to go sky-diving, but it was snowing, so we couldn’t go. Then I got my boys their passports and booked a trip to Fiji for the family, then two days after we came home from Fiji we went to see David Beckham play soccer in Auckland for the weekend, took my kids to Disneyland, I enrolled myself in my Masters in Writing (I’ve only completed 2 years of it), but then I started writing my first novel. Somewhere along the line, I left my husband, found a lover online, drove a convertible Mustang along Route 66 by myself, lost 22kgs and finally felt free to be myself, or really, find out who I was without the interference of parents, husbands & work to define me. And here I am at 38 and I want to keep the momentum going… but unfortunately, everyday life and plenty of speed-humps get in the way.
I must admit, it’s nice being able to choose to do things without getting someone else’s permission. If you want to go away for the weekend, you don’t have to ask a partner or work, you just go, because you know what you’re budget is like, and no one can stop you. Whereas, I remember plenty of times when I was married, how much of a struggle it was to convince my ex-husband to have a day-trip, the choice of restaurant we’d go to or even just go for a walk down the beach which was only 10 minutes from where we lived. He had no problem with me doing the big things, like going overseas or studying because I was the one earning the money to pay for them anyway, but the small things that make the in-between days better, they all seemed impossible. Of course now, my boys come everywhere with me, as they make it part of the adventure even though I still have to consider things like their height, age, food tastes and ability, but they are boys who love the adventures I give them, so they are generally happy with what we do.
I guess the female mid-life crisis all depends on when you start your ‘responsible’ life…. you know, the life that you break out of your parent’s home and start your own life paying your own bills, cooking your own meals, starting a family, working full time, all the things that say ‘I’m an adult now’. It could be the day you were married, the day you started studying on campus, or the day you left home to live with your boyfriend. I started when I was 18, so of course, my mid-life crisis started earlier than most, but those who left home at 24+ will most likely go through their crisis after they hit forty.
There is nothing wrong with going through a selfish phase… it’s all about finding the real person you are without your attachments. Of course there are some taboos, like anything illegal or unethical, but generally, anything goes in a female mid-life crisis that will give you happiness, make you feel complete and finally find the person you always wanted to be.