The crisis




It’s not as if there’s no biology at play here either. “Aging, and losing virility, hair, muscle mass and energy,” Jackson notes, “leads him into a crisis of despair linked to death, but not entirely the same. This is a man behaving strangely.”
But again, it’s psychological despair, not a biological one. It’s the fear that a man has nothing else to look forward to but death, because he doesn’t like how his life has turned out. If you’ve failed to meet your own goals, a society’s, a spouse’s or your peers, and you’ve hit an age at which most people are celebrating those very choices, you’re naturally and understandably going to feel bad if you’re still grinding it out for nothing with the wrong partner.

TRACYMOORE

Last week I was talking to one of my co-workers and I told him I had my midlife crisis already mapped out in my dreamboard. And I was just half-joking. I don't think it'll be a Prosche Panamera, or a high speed boat or a 20-something pool boy. He said he is an almost-middle-aged white cisgender, Midwestern man in academia, and therefore ready for HIS midlife crisis.

But joking aside, I think that what we know as 'midlife crisis' is nothing more than pressures we suffer from society to conform to what it's expected from us. All those impositions that we seem to take as the gospel (study, get a job, get married, get a house, have children...) are nothing more than a weight over our shoulders.

We try to updo and upstage whatever role models we've had (our grandfathers, our fathers) and there comes a moment when we realize we really are not young anymore. Hence the pool boys and the Porsche. I think that as a queer man, I have never felt the pressure to conform in the way straight men do. My pressures come from other places, mainly other gay men.

But I have never felt the need or pressure to have children or get married, like many straight men do. I've seen it in my straight and bi friends and it's almost compulsive. After a certain age, they need to have achieved some milestones, or else they're declared a 'failure' or 'unaccomplished'. I believe that's the root of the whole problem: some men start that race in high school (they need to be the jocks, the alpha males) and it continues through all their lives: they need to marry the pretty girl, get her pregnant and get a house. Then children. Then everything that comes with having to raise them (do you know how much it costs to raise and educate a child until they're eighteen?).

And there's no time for them as men. Notice how everything is focused on the outward, on the visible. How about their growth? How about their intellectual development? How about what they want? Many men do not worry about that until they're over forty. Some even later. So I can see why my coworker laughed when I told him I had my mid-life crisis dream board ready. For some men life does start at forty, but why wait?

XOXO

Comments

  1. The midlife crisis, I think, is a result of an awakening. “Holy shit! I’m 40 (or 45, 50) and what do I have to show for it? Am I happy where I am?” It’s a reckoning that comes barreling down on you.

    Some people decide that they need things to show the value in their lives (hence the Porsche or the trophy companion). Me? I think the people in my life is what brings me joy. And THAT is what brings value to my life. Relationships, friends and family bring everlasting happiness to me. I always say, if I win the lottery, I don’t need a Mercedes and a big house. I would help my nieces and nephews with their student loans. I would give back to the community and volunteer.

    I’m well past midlife. But I’m not done yet. The best is yet to come.

    XOXO 👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨

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    1. Yes! It’s that realization what drives some people to reconsider their lives. Millennials have their FOMA, which I see as an early-life crisis. But yeah, prerogatives...

      XoXo

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  2. ^^^ I agree.
    I think midlife crisis is when you realize you're on the downhill slide and then try to cram in all the "things" and experiences you feel like you should have had.
    Luckily, I am not a "thing" person so no fancy new car or house or trip or ... whatever ...will change anything.
    As my father says when people complain about getting older,"Think about the alternative."

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    1. I see that it’s more ‘things’ people who tend to have midlife crises. If we don’t put weight on material things, then there’s no measurement. And you’re dad is right!

      XoXo

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  3. I agree. The people I've seen who have had the worst midlife crises are the ones who never questioned anything in their younger years. They just lived their lives "as expected" and they don't wake up until midlife. If you question everything when you're young and make conscious decisions/choices about how you intend to live, then you'll either have no midlife crisis or a very mild one.

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    1. Isn’t that funny? They start questioning life (theirs) and suddenly freak out. It doesn’t make sense to me. We go through our youth precisely questioning the world in order to grow.

      XoXo

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  4. Just the one? I think I've had several, rather. What with the one at 27, when I used to have all the answers and was left with all the questions. Oh, and how about the one at 40? That was a rather existential one. Not to mention the one I'm currently undergoing. Sure, taking up knitting was the safe approach, but who can say what else I'll take up to alleviate my angst. Young boys? Maddie? And who's to say what comes next? At 60? 70? I've only just begun therapy for the next election. Don't tell me there are more crisis following after that one.

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    1. Well Walter, if you want to be my mid life crisis, I'm fine with that😛😛😛

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    2. Haha. Yes! It’s like little earthquakes, as Tori Amos would put it. But I think we weather them if we know who we are. And hey, Maddie would be an excellent excuse for a midlife crisis! That’s even an awesome drag name!

      XoXo

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  5. I've enjoyed all ages of my life this far and have no complaints . Like you I have never had the pressure of I felt the need to settle down by a certain age. While I had no complaints of the long term I was in, I did miss exploring a new guys body every now and then. I do think what happens if I ever get ready to settle, and then cant find somebody, but I think I function better as a self contained unit. And I can't imagine me having a mid life....I mean I'm crazy enough now and probably have to much sex . Unless I buy impromptu a Porsche or mini cooper.

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    1. Honey, never ‘too much sex’ especially with men we love. And I think those pressures go with the straight world. I think that the fact that neither you nor I have ever conformed has lead us to question everything, so we don’t have many hang ups.
      And a mini-cooper? That’s the car I’m gonna get when I grow up!

      XoXo

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  6. I have been in crisis (probably well past a midlife crisis) for three or so years now. You would think with all my navel-gazing Debra's advice would apply, but it has been pretty severe.

    I never wanted kids or marriage a mortgage, but I do feel that I failed because I did not have these things. (I failed my parents, anyways). As a self-loathing homosexual I have not found anything to compensate for those status symbols. Instead I have ended up poor and alone, with dim prospects for the future.

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    1. But Lurkie, why would you be sorry you didn’t get what you didn’t want? It’s maddening! And deep down you know you didn’t owe your parents anything. Neither kids nor marriage are an obligation or a contract we sign when they cut our umbilical cords!
      And being self-loathing could be conducive to a mid life crisis, though. I think we need to talk. People, quick, Lurkie needs an intervention!

      XoXo

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  7. Mid-life crisis begins soon after you realize you're going to die. Not only do men have, women do to, theirs usually begins when the hit menopause. Mine lasted about a month and then I just said "fuck it." Some never really deal with it at all. We seem them in the store, those men with their dyed hair and little red sports cars, and women in their sloppy yoga pants and their green and purple hair. Those who do what I did tend to be much more happier, mostly because they just don't give a shit anymore.

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    1. Heh. So realizing we ARE mortal is the trigger. You may be right. Young men feel invincible (hence the risky behaviors) but once we grow older death becomes more and more inevitable. Not giving a shit seems to be the best prescription for learning the facts of life.

      XoXo

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  8. 40? bah! never had kids, married/divorced/remarried, 30 year cancer survivor, abusive home survivor. yeah, now this bitch is 65 and STILL learning shit and having fun! and making new friends along the way!

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