I was talking recently to a good friend who lives a conventional life.
She and her husband work hard and follow the rules. They have children, a mortgage, and a nice existence supported by copious amounts of alcohol and liberal credit card use.
Recently her husband retired from his much hated job of 40 years, with a good pension.
Now they are forced to sell their home, as it has become apparent that they were not rigorous enough in their examination of accounts, accountants and payment plans. They bought into the dream and it turned to dust.
Another friend had a lifestyle more like my own. He ceded his wilder, under the establishment-radar lifestyle to one which encompassed family and a long term job that provided accommodation.
Twenty years on, he has been forced out of both home and work, and is disabled due to following the physical demands by his employees that were dangerous and beyond his capacity.
Then I hear the term ‘mid life crisis’, generally in correlation with a description of a dramatic and predictable change in values and life direction, in one’s middle years.
I hate this expression, I think it’s bullshit.
I believe ‘mid life crisis’ is a media friendly term that sanitises and disempowers a necessary revaluation of life values and choices.
By the time you reaches your middle years; you will invariably have experienced emotional pain, great happiness and a lot of mundane, bureaucratic bullshit.
You will also have hopefully developed some insight, wisdom, and knowledge about the workings of the world.
My generation have seen incredible changes occur in our lifetime. We all bought into the mainstream in varying degrees, and have simply enough been betrayed.
We have realised that the trappings are just that; superficialities which have created a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) form of indentured labour that for most of us, will lead to a not particularly comfortable retirement.
Those in my age bracket particularly, are finding that the items we thought we would gain by being part of the system,(pensions, health care, fair treatment and equal rights) are being pulled away on a rug of steadily building legislation.
An unsympathetic reader could perhaps throw the ‘you asked for it’ response at me and my various beleaguered friends, especially in reference to the freewheeling credit use. I would retort, look to the majority of those on pensions at the moment. They avoided debt, followed the rules and the more comfortable of them are now supporting children and grandchildren, whilst the main of them are struggling to simultaneously be warm and fed.
So the term mid life crisis, words which conjure up images of an open shirt, medallion or six, inappropriate sexual relations (whatever they are) and red phallocentric sports car, is a way of demeaning and mocking a necessary process of awareness and reaction.
It isn’t a mid life crisis, but a necessary crisis of faith.