Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to Avoid a Midlife Crisis

I recently turned 40. I'm a midlevel career type of person, no kids, unmarried. I help take care of my sister's children. I have normal hobbies (reading, visiting museums, seeing concerts, etc.). I'd like to meet someone but dating is the pits. 
I'm also suffering a midlife crisis.
Midlife crises are seen as jokes. Balding men who drive sports cars or take up motorcycling. The reality is that 40 hits you like a ton of bricks. Even if you don't look or emotionally feel what 40 is "supposed" to look and feel like, your aching bones, persistent gray hairs, and looming fear of getting old tell you otherwise. My life, for all intents and purposes, is half over. And the other half of this life gets tired and gains weight really easily. It worries about a mostly pointless career and would often rather stay home in bed, reading a book.

I'm guessing most on this list are younger than 40. Here's what I wish I had done before this point:
1. Not wasted time in relationships I knew were doomed. 
2. Not gotten complacent at jobs for years, letting my skills atrophy.
3. Worked harder to improve and push myself in my career and personal life.
4. Taken so many more chances – moved around, switched jobs, dated more.
5. Travel, travel, travel.
This time next year, I hope I'll be teaching English in Mexico or South Korea or Thailand. I've wasted too much time and money on things that aren't fulfilling. 
When I die, I'll be happier that I quit my job and traveled than if I had worked more hours to buy more stuff. 
All we are is the sum of our experiences and our kind acts toward others.

P.S. Write if you want a penpal or postcard-exchange friend.
P. P.S. Inspirational texts for my midlife crisis: The 4-Hour Workweek, Walden in a Van, Vagabonding, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Nomadic Matt (website)

Southern California

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