I am 36 years old. My dad died when I was 18. That means I have lived roughly as long on this earth without my dad as I did with him. My brother died when I was 11. Seven years later my dad died. Seven years after that my sister died. It has been 11 years since she died. I have now gone roughly as long as I have ever gone in my life without losing an immediate family member.
That is one hell of a mathematical anomaly.
Should I be going through a midlife crisis?
Instead, as time grinds inexorably on toward 37, I feel fine. I’ll feel better when the math goes back to being off a bit, but I feel fine.
I feel better that I knew that I could feel. I don’t remember much before my brother died. And after that I wasn’t right. I wasn’t right as a teenager, and I sure as shit wasn’t right as a college student after my dad died. I kinda thought I was getting my legs under me in my 20s and had’em kicked right back out from under me when my sister died. So I wasn’t right in my 20s either.
But I hardly knew it. It is only now that I’m not walking around in a semi-fugue state that I realize how much I was worn down under all of that. How much it hobbled me in interacting with the world as a normal human being.
At some point I decided to do something crazy and it just kind of snowballed from there. I changed professions twice, borrowed a couple hundred thousand dollars to go back to school, and moved halfway across the country five times. I got married, got a dog, made a tiny human being, and bought a house (twice). I clear a little path to the fire hydrant in front of my house when the snow starts to get deep. You know what? It turns out there is real joy in embracing those bourgeois values that those trust fund kids at elite private universities so bitterly mock.
I do kinda feel bad about it. I did a lot of bad shit and a lot of stupid shit and a lot of bad, stupid shit. I kinda don’t feel bad about it. A lot of bad, stupid shit happened to me. I feel like I’ve been damned lucky. I have. I feel like I’ve worked damned hard for what I have. I have. I feel like as a sinner I deserved every bad thing that happened to me and who has no business complaining about it. I still do (complain). I feel like as a child of God every good thing that happens is a gift and I have no business being ungrateful. I still frequently am (ungrateful).
So no mid-life crisis. Besides, I can’t afford it. I’ve got a mortgage to pay, retirement to save for, a college fund to fill, and a mom to help out.