These 11 signs of a midlife crisis scared the $#*! out of me, and single-handedly may be responsible for starting mine.
Honesty is the best policy, they say. And this post is definitely honest. I'm an early 40-something dad and I have to admit, this 40 "thing" has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me.
On one hand, I'm really (finally) comfortable in my own skin. I'm realizing success in my professional life and I'm happy at home, too. The problem? I keep having these thoughts that I just can't shake. Have you ever experienced that?
To quote Snoke from Star Wars, "There's been an awakening." But this awakening may end up leading to my mid-life crisis... Oh, and number 3 below is pretty personal. I hope that's okay.
It's time to face facts. I can't deny it any more. I'm 42 years old now and I'm staring 45 in the face in just a few short years. There's no looking back now, I'm in my prime for a midlife crisis years.
In a way, I still feel like I should be in my 20's. It wasn't that long ago, was it?! You are only as old as you feel, but I just can't shake some of these thoughts I've been having lately. I'm not sure I believe in "signs" or premonitions, per se, but these 11 signs of my impending mid-life crisis I've seen over the past few months have really scared the crap out of me!
What signs of your midlife crisis have you seen and how are you dealing with the changes you're experiencing?
Midlife Crisis Sign #1: I realized I am probably due for a prostate exam.
Do you know how difficult this is to come to terms with? Yeah, I mean, I get it. My health is important and it's up to me to make sure I stay healthy.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the appropriate age to begin screenings is between 40 - 45 years old. Yeah, well that means me.
One of the things most men dread is the age of prostate exams. I am not sure why this is such a big deal to us, but it is. It's embarrassing for us, but it's also a near life-or-death situation, though. There's this reluctance for us to actively engage in the management of our health and there's really just no excuse. But fear of prostate exams is definitely one of my signs of a mid-life crisis, that's for sure!
Midlife Crisis Sign #2: I just bought a new Camaro SS.
As a red-blooded American dude, what's one of the surest signs you're smack in the middle of a midlife crisis? You go out and buy yourself a car with a crap ton of horsepower, just because you can.
Well, that's exactly what I did earlier this summer. Ever since I test drove my dad's 2017 Corvette Grand Sport, I couldn't get it out of my head. So a few months later, I picked up my own 2018 Camaro SS 1LE.
My insurance went up. My monthly gas bill almost doubled. But I don't care. I love my commute to and from work now and I regularly get "hey man, cool car!" compliments.
Midlife Crisis Sign #3
I realized that I probably have more years behind me than ahead of me.
I don't mean to sound morbid or anything, but the very definition of a mid-life crisis is that you're in the middle of your life. That means that after your mid-life crisis, it's all downhill. You're on the downward slope of your life.
Let's do the genealogical math here for a second. My grandfathers are both no longer with us, but they lived into their mid-70's (paternal grandfather) and mid-80's (maternal grandfather). One of my grandmothers is still alive and kicking and she turns 91 this month. The other lived well into her 90's as well. If I live to be 84, my life is already half over. I am on the downward side of the mountain.
Okay, enough of that talk. It's an eye-opening realization that my life is now likely more than half over. It's time to make sure that I take advantage of the time I have, because, as we age, time will be, and is, the most important commodity we have (or don't have).
Midlife Crisis Sign #4: I am older now than my mom was when she passed.
So yes, I'm getting a few things out of my system with this post. I had the realization this year that I am now older than my mom was when she passed away.
I was 15 years old when she passed of breast cancer. She was 39 years old at the time. I have a 15 year old son (more on that to come), and I can't imagine him not having me in his life right now.
I can't imagine my boys or my wife not having me around. I can't imagine them going through what I went through all those years ago. It's unimaginable, but it happened to me almost 30 years ago.
Rather than dwell on the sadness of this realization though, I will try to focus on the gift that I've been given. I'm still here. My family loves me (most of the time) and I should make the most of the time that I have with them, because we never know how much time we have left.
Signs of a Midlife Crisis: I've Outlived My Mom
Midlife Crisis Sign #5: People actually are passing me while driving.
I'm not a particularly slow driver, but I've started noticing that people are passing me on the road. I'm no longer the careless, speeding young kid I once was. I'm no longer always in a hurry like I was when I was younger.
I also find myself noticing speeding drivers and wishing they would drive with more care. Yes. I'm that guy now. I wish that drivers wouldn't drive so fast - especially through our neighborhood. I shake my fist in anger at them. There are kids around and they could come out into the road at any moment.
I've slowed down a bit, on and off the road, and I'm perfectly okay with that.
Midlife Crisis Sign #6: I get grumpy when kids are on my lawn.
Except my own, of course. In fact, go outside, will ya?
The crotchety old man syndrome is starting to creep in on me. While I'm not calling children "whippersnappers", I do find myself grumbling about them at times. A child riding their bike through my freshly-mowed lawn makes my blood pressure go up just a bit. I worked hard to earn the things I own and I am not sorry for trying to take care of those things.
My respect for mine and others "stuff" has a new level of appreciation after having worked hard for the past 20 years to get it. Damn it, after all, if I can't have nice things. And get off my lawn!
Midlife Crisis Sign #7: Marathons were replaced by the occasional jog around the block.
I remember just 10 years or so ago when I was training to run for the Disney Marathon. I would run at least 4 or 5 times a week and it wasn't uncommon for one of my training runs to exceed 10 miles at a time.
I still do try to exercise as often as possible, but the idea of running more than 10 miles makes me break a sweat before my shoes are even tied. I am pretty satisfied with the 5k runs I do now and still being above ground after I'm done with those shorter distances.
Midlife Crisis Sign #8: It's been 20 (freaking) years since I graduated from college.
I graduated with my undergraduate degree in 1998 and am already coming up on 20 years since my graduation. I remember most of my classes and many of my teachers - quite a few of which have retired (already). I don't really keep in touch with any friends from college any more. We're so far removed from our college years, what would be the point?
I'm a professional now, progressing in my career to the executive level. I've put my time in over the past 20 years and now I'm leading teams with graduates right out of school, just like I was two decades ago. I am the mentor now, more often than I'm the mentee.
I'm no longer the "young guy" in the office, and I'm okay with that. I'm happy with the direction I've taken my career and the opportunities provided to me along the way.
I still can't believe it's been almost two decades since I was an undergraduate college student, though. Maybe it's time to really pursue that graduate degree now? Although, I'm sure going back to school would make me feel like the "old guy" in the class even more. The point is to keep going and keep growing. Don't expect success will be given; expect that you'll have to earn it every step of the way.
Yeah - that's me, 20 years ago at my college graduation.
Midlife Crisis Sign #9: I am the proud father of a (freaking) high school student.
My boys are growing up fast. Wasn't it just a few years ago they were only 8 years old and still believed in the tooth fairy? Now I have a 15 year old sophomore in high school, for crying out loud! How did that happen overnight?
Before I know it, my youngest will be in high school and my oldest will be off to college and beyond. Don't blink or you'll miss your children's lives. Your little ones won't stay little for long. As a Dadtographer, I try to take as many photos as possible. It will help keep some of those moments fresh in my mind. Time stops for no man. That's definitely one lesson I'm trying to take to heart.
Midlife Crisis Sign #10: 11 pm is officially past my bedtime.
I am definitely no longer the night owl I once was. I was never a party animal, really. But after years of 9-5 jobs, I've really conditioned myself to being an early riser. I turn into a pumpkin by about 11pm now, unless I really plan ahead with a nap and ample coffee ahead of time.
I'm okay with it, though. I feel more productive getting up early before most other people do. I wrote this blog post before my family woke up, in fact.
What's next - will I start eating dinner at 5pm and getting excited for early bird specials at restaurants? I sure hope not.
Midlife Crisis Sign #11: I know what cholesterol is, and I seem to care about it.
Last, but certainly not least, I am now keenly aware of what cholesterol is and I also seem to care about it.
Remember the days when you could eat just about anything you wanted and it didn't matter one bit? Yeah, I do too, but barely. Those ice-cream-for-dinner days are gone for me, replaced with healthy stuff that doesn't taste nearly as good.
I'm waging all out war on my health and my battle with cholesterol is on the front line. See that picture right there? That's last night's dinner for me. It's salmon (meh), spinach salad (meh) and quinoa rice. Oh, and a glass of red wine. I drink red wine now!