Some of you know I’ve recently ditched a perfectly good stable career to try to break into TV and film and you may be wondering how that whole thing’s going. Well, it’s been a while now, and I think I can say with confidence that I’m having a midlife crisis.
I did what anyone does when a crisis of any kind – existential, midlife, laundry – hits, I googled “Am I having a (fill in the blank) crisis?” and discovered that yes, I almost certainly am. But I also discovered that so is basically every other person I know. According to the internet, signs of a contemporary midlife crisis include: dyeing your grey, trying to get more exercise, taking vitamins, giving to charity, learning an instrument, and over-indulging in alcohol resulting in longer/worse hangovers. That completely describes me, except for the bit about hangovers, and that’s just pure genetics; (it’s like the women in my family have two livers or something. A true gift).
So, the good news is, having a contemporary midlife crisis (otherwise known as hitting your 40s and making an effort to get enough fruits and veggies) isn’t a problem. The bad news is, my personal midlife crisis seems to be more of a period piece. I quit my job, ditched the kids in another city and moved into a tiny condo in a real swinging new neighbourhood. I had a cocktail before I left the office the other day. And it was a whisky sour. It’s not so much I’m trying to recapture my past as I am trying to recapture the past. Except for the relentless womanizing, I think I might be turning into Don Draper, circa 1965.
And you know what? It’s been fantastic. I mean, a mid-afternoon whisky sour with colleagues in the office kitchen? Come on! That shit’s glorious.
But I have to tell you: it’s also been brutally hard.
I miss my kids like I’d miss my hands if I left them behind. A new job in a new industry is great, of course, but it’s also completely overwhelming. I miss feeling competent at work. On good days, I am excited to learn. On bad days – and there have been many – I am consumed by self-doubt and a longing for the familiar. I have been certain of my failure. I have cried.
So, what’s a puffy, anxious, middle aged girl-Don-Drapper to do? Well, I’m trying to eat better, and get more – oh wait. We covered that. Never mind.
I could give up. I tried that, briefly, the other day. But I still need to make an actual living, so that didn’t work out. I figure I’ll just keep going. Not sure where, but forward movement, no stopping. Like a tired, middle-aged shark doing what I have to do.
Whiskey sour, anyone?