Wednesday, November 4, 2009

So THIS is a midlife crisis... and Jane Austen is bad for me

It dawned on me last week that I'm having my midlife crisis. And that it's been going on for a few months. My version of a midlife crisis has included (so far):
  • Buying a new wardrobe (not so bad and actually was a long time coming; could be considered a necessity)
  • Going out more often with girlfriends (a good thing!)
  • Freaking out about R getting older (understandable) 
Those aren't anything to worry about. But here's the more recent set of crisis behaviors:
  • Reading Jane Austen novels over and over again, especially Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion
  • Watching movies of Jane Austen novels over and over again, especially Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion
  • Getting frustrated with real life because people and relationships aren't like they are in Jane Austen novels
  • Losing sleep from re-hashing in my mind stupid things I did in the past
  • Playing the "What if?" game (i.e., playing out scenarios in my head in which I chose different paths in my past)
I suppose I could be doing far worse things - heaven knows I've been witness to some disastrous midlife crises among my friends. (Although A's has been pretty tame. He's just buying guitars and amplifiers and taking guitar lessons online.)

The Jane Austen stuff is just funny. I love her novels, nearly all of them anyway. And, every few years, I pull them out and read them until the wee hours of the night because I can't put them down. And, I get lost in the romance and that time period and wish I lived back then. But eventually I realize that women's lives were pretty darn crappy then. Also, that I probably wouldn't have been a member of the gentry. I think with my family background, I would have been some kind of scullery maid. So the longing wears off. :-) Plus, my gut tells me that even in Jane Austen's times, men did not actually write letters like Mark Darcy's and Frederick Wentworth's.

Re-hashing mistakes from my past - well, a little remorse can be a good thing. But I try not to dwell on it too much because there isn't much I can do to change things or make amends now. I was young once and stupid sometimes.

The "What if?" game could be dangerous. What if I had dated this person or that person instead of just being friends? But as I've thought about these things, I've actually re-realized that A and I were truly meant to be together. It reminded me that A is the right person for me and always has been (even if he has never written me a letter about how I pierce his soul - darn it, Jane Austen!). Although the path I took to find him may have had some crazy turns and detours, I ended up in the right place.

Maybe it's not my midlife crisis. Maybe I should call it my midlife renewal.


sandwhichisthere said...

I used to have the same thoughts about being born at an earlier time. I talked to my Father about those thoughts and he told me "You wouldn't want to be born before penicilin was discovered.".
I thought about it more and realized that if I was born in the Middle Ages, I would have been the son that was sent off to a monastery. My Brother would have been the pick of the litter.
If you are effected so much by what you read, do not read Ethan Frome or The Mayor of Casterbridge. I still shudder at the memory of those two books.
I am now reading the Talmud. It is a joyous and heartwarming collection of the history of the Israelites and description of a loving and forgiving God. It just makes sense and is so good to read.
I too lie awake wondering about "What If's.". It helps to think about the What If's that did not happen and would have resulted in disaster. If I had never met your Mother, my life would have been one long series of failures and disasters. If I had not had a car fall on me, I probably would have ended up dead in some stinking jungle. Life is what happens and it is glorious and fulfilling. You are going through a trying time, a time we all have faced. It will pass and you will come to know the joy of knowing that you always did your best. It may not have been the best of the best but it was your best, each and every time.
R has to have a tooth pulled because of an accident. Hmmmm, sounds familiar,

Kansas Bob said...

Hope this is your only midlife crisis Kristen.. seems like I had more than one :)

Anonymous said...

I like your way of reframing the midlife crisis as a midlife renewal, although at times, I'm sure it feels more like the former than the latter. I, too, wish that love was always blissful and surreal like a Jane Austen novel!

Now and then, a bit of rehashing and playing "What if?" is good. But, if it's affecting your sleep, try to reel yourself in a bit. Can you try to cap your rehashing to a half-hour and then pick up a book, read a devotional, or do something that will put your mind back at ease and you soon in slumber?

You are in the right place in your life. It's just that life throws a lot of complications at us! But, doesn't that help us to appreciate the blessings more?

I love you!!!

LEstes65 said...

I know quite a few people caught in that same trap of wondering why the hell their man (or men in general) can't be like Darcy (or insert sensitive male hero here). I have yet to meet one that is. At this point, if I met someone acting like that, I think I'd wonder what the hell he's hiding and why is he being such a priss. HA!

shaun said...

I must have been in a mid-life crisis for the past 20 years :D
Seriously though, I don't read Jane Austin..
We would all change things, I would change most things, But that is not an option so I guess I will go to work now.
God Bless