In sum, " Midlife said, giving the room his best you-the-jury baritone, "Our defense will be... ?" He looked to Matt for the answer/ "Blame the other guy, " Matt said. "Which other guy?" "Yes." "Huh?" "We blame whoever we can, " Matt said. "The CFO, the COO, the C Choose-Your-Favorite-Two-Letter-Combination, the accounting firm, the banks, the board, the lower-level employees. We claim some of them are crooks. We claim some of them made honest mistakes that steamrolled." "Isn't that contradictory?" Midlife asked, folding his hands and lowering his eyebrows. "Claiming both malice and mistakes?" He stopped, looked up, smiled, nodded. Malice and mistakes. Midlife liked the way that sounded. "We're looking to confuse, " Matt said. "You blame enough people, nothing sticks. The jury end up knowing something went wrong but you don't know where to place the blame. We throw facts and figures at them. We bring up every possible mistake, every uncrossed t and dotted i. We act like discrepancy is a huge deal, even if it's not. We are skeptical of EVERYONE.
What do you do when the story changes in midlife? When a tale you have told yourself turns out to be a little untrue, just enough to throw the world off-kilter? It's like leaving the train at the wrong stop: You are still you, but in a new place, there by accident or grace, and you will need your wits about you to proceed.
I just came home one day and, in a midlife-crisis sort of way, I told my wife, 'I'm going to run a marathon,' not really understanding what that was. Then I just kind of got into it, and now that I have been running pretty consistently over the past few years, I don't know if it's because I love it or because I hate myself. I just really enjoy it.
I'd say imagine that you wake up one morning when you're going through a midlife crisis. You're getting divorced. Your kids won't speak to you. Their faces are covered with acne, and you have to decide why you should get out of bed. That's the career you should pick. The one that keeps you going no matter what, even if your life is falling apart. That's how I feel about my career.
Henry Louis Gates
Don't waste time worrying about work/life balance, or looking for your best self, sham 'secrets' or any other snake oil being pushed by sloppy hippies who have never built a business, let alone a bankroll, or you will wake up 20 years from now poor, pissed off and primed for a midlife crisis.
There are no atheists in foxholes, they say, and I was a foxhole atheist for a long time. But after going through a midlife crisis and having many things change very quickly, it made me realize my mortality. And when you start to think about death, you start to think about what's after it. And then you start hoping there is a God.
Most of us abandoned the idea of a life full of adventure and travel sometime between puberty and our first job. Our dreams died under the dark weight of responsibility. Occasionally the old urge surfaces, and we label it with names that suggest psychological aberrations: the big chill, a midlife crisis.
In the greatest confusion there is still an open channel to the soul. It may be difficult to find because by midlife it is overgrown, and some of the wildest thickets that surround it grow out of what we describe as our education. But the channel is always there, and it is our business to keep it open, to have access to the deepest part of ourselves.
A motorcycle is a vehicle of change, after all. It puts the wheels beneath a midlife crisis, or a coming-of-age saga, or even just the discovery of something new, something you didn't realize was there. It provides the means to cross over, to transition, or to revitalize; motorcycles are self-discovery's favorite vehicle.
I figure if Doc is right about the time I have left,I should wrap up my adolescence in the next few days, get into my early productive stages about the third week of school, go through my midlife crisis during Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, redouble my efforts at productivity and think about my legacy, say, Easter, and start cashing in my 401(k)s a couple weeks before Memorial Day.
Encased in an elaborate illusion of unlimited power and progress, each of us subscribes, at least until one's midlife crisis, to the belief that existence consists of an eternal, upward spiral of achievement, dependent on will alone. This comforting illusion may be shattered by some urgent irreversible experience... None more potently confronts us with finiteness and contingency than the imminence of our own death.
Irvin D. Yalom
Observing others go through them, he used to admire midlife crises, the courage and shamelessness and existential daring of them, but after he'd watched his own wife, a respectable nursery school teacher, produce and star in a full-blown one of her own, he found the sufferers of such crises not only self-indulgent but greedy and demented, and he wished them all weird unnatural deaths with various contraptions easily found in garages.
People may call what happens at midlife 'a crisis,' but it's not. It's an unraveling - a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you're 'supposed' to live. The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.
Allowing the pain of personal growth to be a crucible of your spirit-the alchemical grail through which the metal of your former self turns into gold-is one of the highest callings of life. Pain can burn you up and destroy you, or burn you up and redeem you. It can deliver you to an entrenched despair, or deliver you to your higher self. At midlife we decide, consciously or unconsciously, the path of the victim or the path of the phoenix when it is rising up at last.
Still, we permit the appearance of our meats, sauces, fruits, and vdgetables to dominate our tongues until it is difficult to divide a twist of lemon or squeeze of lime from the colors of their rinds or separate yellow from its yolk or chocolate from the quenchless brown which seems to be the root, shoot, stalk, and bloom of it. Yet I hardly think the eggplant's taste is as purple as its skin. In fact, there are few flavors at the violet end, odors either, for the acrid smell of blue smoke is deceiving, as is the tooth of the plum, though there may be just a hint of blue in the higher sauces. Perceptions are always profound, associations deceiving. No watermelon tastes red. Apropos: while waiting for a bus once, I saw open down the arm of a midfat, midlife, freckled woman, suitcase tugging at her hand like a small boy needing to pee, a deep blue crack as wide as any in a Roquefort. Split like paper tearing. She said nothing. Stood. Blue bubbled up in the opening like tar. One thing is certain: a cool flute blue tastes like deep well water drunk from a cup.
William H. Gass