Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Archive for the tag “sarcasm”

Mid-Life: Cry, Sis

At what point is it reasonable to ask yourself whether you have, for certain, lived already longer than you will yet live?

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Heavy stuff.

I’m about to be 45. I’m in my last days of 44-ness, actually. So, I’ll have to live beyond 90 in order to be looking right now at having more life ahead of me than I have behind. Statistically, I’m not sure this is possible. So, that’s kind of a bummer.

Psychology Today argues that “midlife” is age 40-65, but I don’t see a whole lot of 130-year olds out there who agree. An economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research claims that the age of 47 is generally the unhappiest year of a person’s life, according to data collected among participants in over 130 countries. So, great…I have that to look forward to.

But, it appears that researchers and doctors and expert-types of all shapes and sizes have looked into this un-happiness “curve,” as they call it, where folks are at their highest lowness before finding happiness again as they take their long march toward death.

Apparently, though, if you’re in “midlife” like I apparently am, and you enjoy emotional self-torture, there is no scarcity of information on the World Wide Web to help you wallow in your despair. Luckily, there are a few people out there trying to help us see the “bright side,” though, so I will share some of that here in case you find that sort of thing interesting.

  1. A publication released in 1999 found that “people at midlife score higher on almost every measure of cognitive functioning than they did when they were 25.” Source
  2. Though Brett Arends at Market Watch wrote, “And here was me, thinking the midlife slump was the result of being Generation X, sandwiched between a bunch of boomers who won’t get off the stage and millennials who can’t wait to run us over,” it turns out that dissatisfaction with one’s life at our age coincides with events that just tend to happen at this age such as loss of a spouse or job. So, I mean, if you DON’T have a spouse die, then I guess you’ll be cool.
  3. A 2011 study conducted through Stanford University busted the myth that one’s youth is the “prime of life.” In fact, The Guardian reported on this a few years ago, asserting that “contrary to the popular view that youth is the best time in life, the present findings suggest that the peak of emotional life may not occur until well into the seventh decade.” Read more feel-good stuff from that article here.
  4. AARP, the authority on old people, published just in January of this year, an article that will let you know that what was always laughed at as the time in one’s life to divorce your wife and date your 25-year old secretary is not really like that at all. In fact, for most people, they claim, this is the point in life at which folks tend to reevaluate their lives and Get. Shit. Done.
  5. And finally if the bro-dom of GQ is your thing, you can check out this article on how midlife is a great time to get tattoos, smoke weed, and become awesome. All joking aside, the article nicely demonstrates how as we age, we become less concerned with pleasing others and more interested in being ourselves which is, indeed, pretty awesome.
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I’ll continue to surf the web in my attempt to embrace my aging-soul and become my “best self” or whatever Oprah shit I can find out there. But, the truth is that it is hard when you think about what is behind you. If you are one of those 50-year olds who started working out in midlife, what is behind you is maybe a really sweet ass, but for most of us, we just sort of think about how we used to be fun and now go to bed at 9:00.

But, I’ll try, ok? Maybe I should think about all of the cool people who were just STARTING their amazing journeys in “middle age”: Steve Carrell didn’t get his break on The Office until he was 43. Harrison Ford was a carpenter until he was 35 and was cast in Star Wars. Bryan Cranston didn’t hit is breakout role (Malcolm in the Middle) until he was 44. Lucille Ball was 40 when I Love Lucy started. Leslie Jones didn’t get into the SNL cast until she was 47. Ang Lee was a stay-at-home-dad until he was 38 and directed his first big film, Brokeback Mountain. In 1982, Martha Stewart published her breakout-book, Entertaining at age 41, subsequently launching her career in the business. And, finally, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Betty White. She was 51 years old when she first got the role that allowed her career to skyrocket: Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Anything that is good enough for Betty Freakin’ White is good enough for me.

Well, This is Awkward…

When a minimally-relevant blogger goes M.I.A. for, like two years, and then is all, “Oh right, I have a blog” and suddenly shows back up again…

awkward 1Right.

So, I once loved to write.  Still do, really.  But, life has gotten in the way.  It’s funny, too, because the whole point of this blog was (and is) to talk about the absurdity of growing older and the drama/trauma of being exhausted by work and life.

And, this is all pretty much the least awkward thing about me.  I’m super-awkward.  In fact, the first time I typed that prior sentence, I spelled it “awkard” because I’m so awkward that I can’t even keep all my letters right.

awkward 2People are not really my cup of tea.  Small talk is excruciating.  I’m always saying something stupid.

But, really, that’s in my head, I know.

From the outside looking in, I don’t think anyone things I’m as awkward as I think I am.  Words that have been used to describe me are “poised,” “articulate,” “organized.”  Holy shit that last one is funny.  My desk at work always looks like a bunch of Huns just got done pillaging it. But, I do use color-coded folders in Google Drive, so I’ve got that going for me.

But, what I am realizing is that there is no reason to listen to that dumb-ass in your head who talks to you and tells you how much you suck.  That voice isn’t even REAL.  It’s not a person.  It’s the manifestation of your fears.  It’s the coward of your psyche that lives in a world made exclusively of “what ifs,” and tears you forgot to cry, and memories of mistakes you never actually made and if you did everyone forgot about them anyway.

I wish I had known this at 13.  Or at 19.  Or at 30.  Or yesterday.

But, I suppose I can know them today.  I can start reveling in my badassery.  I can look at my body and be proud that it produced two beautiful children (one delivered naturally with NO drugs — though that hadn’t been the plan).  When I had my first son, an hour afterward, I thought I could do fucking ANYTHING.  I could probably leap buildings in a single bound.  I invented a human being and survived primal torture — torture, I say! — to get him from inside my body to the outside world that June day ten years ago.  I can look at the 85 pounds I cleaned-and-jerked at my CrossFit class not as an embarrassment because I hit that personal best of mine while standing next to a 24-year old who was lifting 120 lbs, but as a goddamn achievement to be celebrated because, not long ago, I could barely lift a fraction of that.  I can look at my desk and be like, “look what a creative MIND I must have!”

So, people, my snark and grumpiness is still inside me because it is frickin’ fabulous and delightful.  But, maybe, if you check back again soon, there will be more positivity here at Off Duty Mom.

Have a great day.

No.  Really…

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