Being analytically-minded, before deciding on the title to this post I needed to figure out if "mid-life" defined my crisis, since I'm 60.
Ever since I got my Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive scooter, I've been pre-emptively telling people, "Yes, it's an end-of-life crisis purchase. The scooter is either going to bring a lot of joy to my increasingly aged life, or end it prematurely. Could be both, I suppose."
However, yesterday my wife said mid-life crisis when, in tidying up the house for a get-together this evening, she picked up an article about surfing on the Oregon coast that I'd torn out of the newspaper.
"What's this? You're not thinking of learning how to surf, are you?"
"Well, sure, it's something I've always wanted to do. Why not?"
"Sharks! Cold water! Undertows! Big waves! That's why! First the scooter, and now surfing. You're having a mid-life crisis!"
Laurel said that I should blog about it. I'm not sure why. Maybe she's hoping that the blogosphere will organize some sort of intervention for me.
Except, I don't feel in any need of one.
First, I can't be having that serious of a mid-life crisis if I meekly obey my wife's command to write a blog post about it. Second, I'm just about to pass out of the most common age range for a mid-life crisis, 40-60.
I guess when I turn sixty-one in a few months I'll officially be having an end-of-life crisis. Fine, bring it on.
I like to say, "Older people should be the ones riding motorcycles and scooters, because they have the fewest years left to live." Along that line, my wife also told me yesterday:
You've realized that you're getting closer to death, so you're running toward it.
Hmmmm. Interesting observation. Which is what I'd expect from a retired psychotherapist: a sort of counseling koan.
She may be right. But aren't we all getting closer to death? And a lot of wise sages have said that we should live every day as if it is our last, which sure sounds like advice to run toward death.
Anyway, the only thing I regret about my mid-life crisis, assuming I've having one, is that I didn't get into crisis mode much earlier in life. Yes, I readily admit that from my sixty-year-old vantage point, death appears closer than it did a decade or two ago.
Though I'm still in excellent health, with few medical complaints, I can see the aging handwriting on the wall of my body. Such as those damn age spots on my right hand, which is starting to bear a disturbing resemblance to how my grandmother's hands looked.
The time to do what I want to do is...now.
If someone wants to call this realization a mid-life crisis, go right ahead. Like I said, I just wish this simple fact had dawned on me much sooner with the intensity I now feel.
I feel good that I'm still entirely capable of surfing large waves on the Oregon coast. Or of skillfully riding the world's largest scooter. I may be 60 chronologically, but I feel more like 40 -- which, of course, is what the new 60 is.
Philosophically, what I said in an earlier post still stands:
I don't believe in life after death. I don't disbelieve in it, either. There's just no evidence to support the notion that we keep on living after our last breath, so I assume that whatever I want to do with my life, it had damn well better happen in this one.
When people hear that I'm getting a scooter, a common response is the same as what motorcyclists hear: But they're so dangerous!
Well, yes. So is climbing Mt. Everest. Much more so.
The death rate has remained at one death for every 10 successful attempts to climb Everest for many years, the British Medical Journal report states.
Yet we admire people who contemplate the mountaineering risk-to-reward ratio, and decide to place their bet on living life fully, with 29,029 feet of passionate gusto.
Others set out to ride a motorcycle or scooter. Or whatever. Why? Because -- no why's required, though they can be supplied upon request.
Life can end for any of us at any moment, some moments being more likely than others (when I turned sixty last year, this decade'al birthday helped me realize that I'm getting uncomfortably close to the higher probability phase of life -- so I'm justified in saying, "To hell with a mid-life crisis; I'm signing up for an end-of-life crisis").
It isn't good to come to the end of the road and think, I wasn't really ever on it, not the way I wanted to be. The only path that really matters is the one that leads us to ourself. If we're rolling down that Way with our passion throttle open and a smile on our face, excellent.Nothing more to do. We can't control how long the ride will last. Just how authentically we experience it.