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Mid-life crisis???

Posted by Daltons chin dimple on Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm 35 in the summer, have a good job, nice house, not short of cash etc. etc.

So how come, as I commute into work every day and sit in my office, that I am starting to get an inescapable feeling that there has to be more to life than this??

I keep entertaining ideas of going and doing something fun somewhere warm.

Daltons chin dimple
Location:
Posts: 12800
Posted: 11 years 5 days ago

"I keep entertaining ideas of going and doing something fun somewhere warm."

Not THAT, Jakester.

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"
Kaeos
Location:
Posts: 417
Posted: 11 years 5 days ago

Dude, I am 100% with you. I turned 24 this past October and the very idea of my morning commute and going through the motions of the day drives me batty. I feel like I looked away for a second and lost 10 years of usable time when I should have been accomplishing something bigger and more FUN.

I'm inclined to think you are correct and we're the shining new example that mid 30's is mid-life ;)

The Best Music, and The Best New Talk Radio! www.iTMIRadio.com
Daltons chin dimple
Location:
Posts: 12800
Posted: 11 years 5 days ago

You feel like that at 24? Keeerrist. At 24 I was experimenting with a wide range of illegal narcotics, being a complete man-slut and clubbing 8 nights a month. The 20's were ace. They are the decade where everything about you is at it's peak!!!

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"
Kaeos
Location:
Posts: 417
Posted: 11 years 5 days ago

Der. As i age my ability type clearly diminishes as well. 34 here. Hell I WISH I was still 24. I could correct some stupid mistakes, lol

The Best Music, and The Best New Talk Radio! www.iTMIRadio.com
Daltons chin dimple
Location:
Posts: 12800
Posted: 11 years 5 days ago

34, that's better! I was starting to lament your lost experiences as a twenty-something!

I think I will buy a boat and take people on snorkelling trips on some Carribbean island where the cruise ships dock.

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"
Bokchoi Cowboy
Location:
Posts: 90
Posted: 10 years 48 weeks ago

*

You don't know the power of the Bokside!
Bill_the_Only
Location:
Posts: 702
Posted: 11 years 5 days ago

I will be 49 in March, and I am at that point right now, Boki. I moved into a warehouse and have mildly successfully lofted it out, and got myself a convertible about the same time, and I am so directionless right now. I love the convertible, but I rarely go anywhere. I did drive to my friends' house for the Xmas Holidays with the top down and listening to psychedelic surf music, and helped him cultivate his greenhouse of hydroponic marijuana, and we watched tons of Firefly (they never saw it before) but then I came home and was like, just.... bleah.

I gave up AA last year after feeling like years of groundhog day with a bunch of retreads and re-retreads listening to their pompous speeches (which I never did, I hate speaking in front of others) and self-diagnosed "expertise" on ...well, pretty much everything. It hasn't done me any good for years. After a friend in the program freaked out last summer, after a decade of sobriety (big deal, if you're still an emotional mess) I left once and for all. I still have a friend in the program that I used to date (what a wreck that turned out to be) that uses program-speak with me and I tell him to knock it the hell off around me. I still have a few friends IN the program, but most are fair-weather friends.

I rarely answer phones anymore, or go out. There's a thin spot on the back of my head. My sex drive is decimated, I don't have the interest or energy to "play the game". OR the self confidence.

I am going into Laguna to a friend's house (on Aster, behind the Cottage restaurant, a stone's throw from the old gallery) on Sundays to paint again. Perhaps that will save me, everyone else seems to think it will.

I still fantasize about moving away somewhere remote and forgetting the rest of the world. Sometimes I feel like that will not happen, but I continue to hope.

Bleah.

Bokchoi Cowboy
Location:
Posts: 90
Posted: 10 years 48 weeks ago

*

You don't know the power of the Bokside!
Jakester
Location:
Posts: 5753
Posted: 11 years 5 days ago

Does chasing Kah for 7 or so years count as a mid-life crisis?

Richard Gozinya, Harold Snatch and Wilbur Jizz. Together we are the law firm Gozinya, Snatch and Jizz.
Bill_the_Only
Location:
Posts: 702
Posted: 11 years 5 days ago

New Zealand is a beautiful destination.

Kare Kare is a remote beach where they recorded the album this song came off of.
It was also used in the movie The Piano.

spammityspam
Location:
Posts: 186
Posted: 11 years 5 days ago

I think only if you suddenly doubt yourself and switch to a younger model, only to start obsessing again six months later.

Maybe I'm not to the good part of my 20s yet. So far it mostly seems like living in awful apartments, having $9 to get through the last two weeks, hating the way 75% of the other 20-year-olds still act like they're 15, and being completely responsible for the emotional stability of my parents because I'm completely dependent on their dime.

Course, I also can't buy booze yet. Here's hoping March 8 turns it around!

"Men weren't really the enemy - they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill." -- Betty Friedan
The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 11 years 4 days ago

Bill_the_Only wrote:

I gave up AA last year after feeling like years of groundhog day with a bunch of retreads and re-retreads listening to their pompous speeches (which I never did, I hate speaking in front of others) and self-diagnosed "expertise" on ...well, pretty much everything. It hasn't done me any good for years. After a friend in the program freaked out last summer, after a decade of sobriety (big deal, if you're still an emotional mess) I left once and for all. I still have a friend in the program that I used to date (what a wreck that turned out to be) that uses program-speak with me and I tell him to knock it the hell off around me.

A year ago, my mother made me promise to go on a cruise with her and my stepfather. That is a long, painful story (perhaps not as long and painful as my Panama story) I do not feel like telling. Following, though, is a journal excerpt from one of the days. It relates to AA. Here:

I saw on yesterday's itinerary that the ship's "Shakespeare Public Library" was hosting a meeting for "Friends of Bill." I, in my naïveté, assumed it would be some sort of Shakespeare lecture (Bill = William, right?). I went, and encountered two men past middle age but not quite old enough to be considered "elderly." "Are you a Friend of Bill?" one of them asked me. "I am not," I said, and after an awkward pause, continued, "Not that I hold anything against Bills. I've met some very nice Bills, and consider a few of them to be friends." They seemed not to be offended, thankfully, by what could have been perceived as dismissive of their organization. Also, though: they seemed not to have senses of humor about it. Had I delivered my "Bill" mini-routine to Joe Normal, it would have gotten a chuckle or two. It would have gotten a smile, at the very least.

We shook hands and introduced ourselves. I apologized for intruding on them, and left a little flushed from embarrassment. I then began to wonder what sort of secret society's meeting I had stumbled upon, and couldn't shake the feeling that "Friends of Bill" was code for group I already knew a good deal about. (Mormons, Quakers, and Masons, for example, have their own non-threatening, generic nicknames for their organizations. This made me assume "Friends of Bill" must be religious in nature.) I stewed in my curiosity for a full day before I decided to break down and use some of my Internet time to find out who the "Friends of Bil" are. (I have mentioned that Internet on the ship can cost as much as three dollars a minute, haven't I? I have? Good.)

They are adherents of the Alcoholics Anonymous, turns out, which I am now in the process of trying to convince myself I did, indeed, know. (Whatever the case, my assumption that they are part of a religious organization [regardless of whether or not the adherents are religious] was correct.) I didn't have the time or money to do thorough research, so I don't know if "Friends of Bill" is something members itself organize outside of the system. I'm guessing it is. I'm guessing it's something members orchestrate in unusual scenarios (such as a five-day cruise on a ship teeming with alcohol) to help them feel grounded, to give them structure, to extend their network of friends who are undergoing a similar process of what they believe to be mental detoxification. In essence, it would give them an opportunity to add other voices to their mantra. A multi-voiced mantra is more powerful than a lone-voiced mantra, I am told. That's one option. Another option is that "Friends of Bill" is organized by Alcoholics Anonymous, itself, and that it goes to the trouble of finding out where and when its adherents will away from regular meetings and browbeats them into meeting outside regular meetings. The less skeptical option is that it's just a grouping of folks longing to be in a supportive environment. I may do some more research when I am off this boat.

The immediate effect of the meeting on me was one of disorientation, and the feeling I got as I left it was one of charmed avoidance of some potential danger. (How was I to know it was just a handful of AA members getting together?) I felt how I imagine Tom Cruise's character must have felt when he emerged from the orgy relatively unscathed in Eyes Wide Shut. It drew me back to 1999, when, three months after having seen Eyes Wide Shut, Brendan and I made an impulsive, drunken decision to travel to Weinheim from Mannheim.

There was a little garden, there, at the foot of a hillside that sloped at an approximate thirty-degree angle. (St. Louisans: Imagine a much smaller Art Hill with trees standing in for an Art Museum and a modest flower garden standing in for the horseshoe-shaped waterway.) It was in the middle of nowhere, really, and we discovered it by wandering around while trying to get lost.

We had been to the hillside in the daytime, and had watched families on blankets and boys with remote controls jumping over sunbathing legs as they followed their planes to their crash sites. It struck us as idyllic, and we had both waxed romantic about it so many times while sober that we felt especially drawn to it the night we decided to get drunk and ride the rails. When we got there, there was a tent (a combination of prefab pieces, some air mattressing, and some PVC piping for support) shaped like a sultan's palace and lit from the ground at every corner. No one was outside. From inside the tent, we heard the gentle thump of new age-ish music.

We walked inside. There, we encountered a bar to the left and a bar to the right. In the center of the room, a long black curtain.

Still no one in sight, or seemingly on site. I decided to peek behind the curtain. I saw silhouettes of heads six or seven rows deep, and some Cirque du Soleil-type-something-or-other being performed on a stage in front of them. The performers were in sparkling spandex getups that reminded me of a cross between Ghostbusters' Gozer and Batman and Robin's Mr. Freeze. I told Brendan to peek, and he did. "That's some fucked up shit," he said. (I will never be able to describe the uncanniness of it with any accuracy, so I'm not going to try. You'll just have to trust that when I say it was fucked up, it was.)

We both made the Eyes Wide Shut connection, and were getting increasingly creeped out by having stumbled onto what seemed to us to be some bizarre ritual out in the middle of nowhere. All the same, we were transfixed.

A bartender appeared from behind us and offered us a drink. (He did this in English. Whether or not he had heard us speaking it or had been instructed to speak it by his employer, I do not know.) It was unnerving. We accepted, then asked how much we owed. We were told it was free. With the appearance of the bartender, our reference point for the scene's uncanniness switched from one Kubrick movie to another: we felt like we were Jack Nicholson talking to the bartender in The Shining.

While we were sitting there, the music stopped and men in tuxedos spilled out from behind the curtain into the double bar area. We finished our drinks and got the Hell out of there. It was a good two weeks before we found out some of what was up that night. We saw some posters for an evening of music and dance called "Fantasia" (or maybe it was "Phantasia"), and recognized the dancers on the poster as being the ones we had seen. Despite its being two weeks later, the poster claimed the start of the show was still some days away. We must have seen a dress rehearsal, or a special performance put on for rich people or investors. The poster claimed it was for general audiences, and said nothing of a dress code. Why, then, the tuxedos and exclusively male audience?

Returning to "Friends of Bill," I suppose I can understand the desire to make an organization to which you belong seem less threatening to outsiders, especially if outsiders have persecuted you in the past. (Not that Alcoholics Anonymous has been persecuted much. It has been attacked for its [some would say] hidden ties to Christianity, its poor success rate, and its tendency toward what I have seen characterized as a manner of brainwashing. I really know nothing about it.) Even so, the doing of it seems evasive and dishonest.

In the case of Alcoholics Anonymous, it seems like a calculated move for members to avoid the shame of being exposed as alcoholics when gatherings are put in print, since the general population is more familiar with "AA" than "Friends of Bill." Maybe I'm ill-informed, though, and pretty much everyone knows which of us are Bill's friends and which aren't. I suppose Alcoholics Anonymous really digs its claws in. These guys are on a cruise, ostensibly so they can forget their troubles, and they're still having to meet to talk about how awful they used to be before friends and God (whatever you want "God" to be, says AA, even if it's not a deity; this is a little disingenuous, since you are still forced to use a term already pregnant--for most Westerners--with a specific meaning, and since keeping it in the discourse forces you to place stock by the word and what it is supposed to mean to you) set them on the straight-and-narrow.

The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 11 years 4 days ago

My journal entries are long-ish.

Sometimes I go back and modify them. Any and all journal entries are likely to be revised.

Bill_the_Only
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Posts: 702
Posted: 11 years 4 days ago

"Friends of Bill" is "code" for being a member of AA. AA's founder was a man named Bill Wilson, back in the 30's. The need AA members feel to be amongst others of their own is real, something I never really felt when among them, in fact it's something that made me feel more disconnected from them. So, when a "meeting" is made available on a cruise ship, it's something that members find comforting. Some people go to a meeting a day, sometimes more. It keeps them sober or affords them the ability to be among others that understand them. If it works for them, fine, but it never really enchanted me. I look back on the past ten years as...."yes, I had a problem, yes I went to AA instead of Narcotics Anonymous because those people scare the fuck out of me in more ways than one, yes, they speak in a vocabulary that is "culty" and relies heavily on God, and yes, being among a steady stream of newcomers and all the incessant clapping and bravado and cheer and varying levels of slavish devotion got VERY depressing, and finally, being told that if I was living and running a strong enough program I would not need outside help of any kind was one of the final straws for me.

We call all that stuff "AA cliches" and it raises the hackles on my...well, wherever hackles are....when I hear them. AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! It's about as heartwarming as Amway.

Oh...and to say this to anyone in AA, I would get a blank stare and usually something like..."you need to get grateful".

I'm grateful I'm not in AA, okay?

The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 11 years 4 days ago

That's what I discovered when I logged in to the wireless service, went to Wikipedia, typed in "Friends of Bill," saw that it was Alcoholics Anonymous-related, saw that Alcoholics Anonymous was started by Bill Wilson, then logged out, losing three minutes of Internet time due to the ship's generally poor satellite connection.

When I told the Friends of Bill I had friends named Bill, you were the first Bill to come to mind.

Bill_the_Only
Location:
Posts: 702
Posted: 11 years 4 days ago

Hi, I'm Bill, and I'm a.....

Bill.

(and a friend of Dorothy.)

The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 11 years 4 days ago

I knew nothing of the Wizard of Oz/Judy Garland stereotype until I was fourteen or so. I visited my cousin, whose partner was a freak for all things Wizard of Oz. I got really excited, since I figured this man shared my love of the Golden Age of Cinema. I tried to talk to him about Wizard of Oz and a number of other movies, but he seemed to know nothing about any of it. He had a Wizard of Oz room filled with expensive collectibles, and it seemed bizarre to me that a person could be a collector of Wizard of Oz paraphernalia and know so little about it. My cousin told me his partner "just likes it because we're supposed to." This made me pretty sad. Really sad, actually. It depressed me for weeks.

Also, his partner decided I must be gay. He was half right.

Bill_the_Only
Location:
Posts: 702
Posted: 11 years 4 days ago

The person I was dating (we never consummated) gave me A Star is Born (the Judy Garland version, but they are all gay) and some Elizabeth Taylor flick for Xmas a few years ago, and they still have their cellophane wrap on them. I just don't go there. I understand the iconography, and the reason for it, but I don't personally get it.

I do love AbFab, though. And Margaret Cho. ANd Madeline Kahn. And....

Bokchoi Cowboy
Location:
Posts: 90
Posted: 10 years 48 weeks ago

*

You don't know the power of the Bokside!
Space Tycoon
Location:
Posts: 2464
Posted: 11 years 4 days ago

At 37 I too have felt the sense of emptiness that accompanies nearing of middle-age.

No-one can escape it.

I can see my experiences are pretty different from most here. Instead of living it up in my 20's and early 30's, I was pretty much "living it down." I became a mental hermit, reclusive, unengaging, untrusting of everyone and everything. Miserable SOB.

I had a pretty serious nervous breakdown about 10 years ago which landed my silly ass in jail a couple of times. Low ebb. Briefly, it forced me to take a hard look at myself--and for awhile my stock began to rise, slightly.

But it didn't take too long before I was again sinking into a pit of self-loathing. I began to enter the lovely world of anti-social drinking, I gave up on ambition as well as any hope of being a worthwhile person. Think Mulder without Scully. And, I embraced some ideas which, in retrospect, seem pretty weird, even to me.

This persisted until about late 2007.

The last couple of years I have been slowly but surely entering a new positive stage. I am focusing more on work, any work, and am aiming for a new career, which will start this spring, in another country. More about that later. I am still drinking, more than I should, with all the negative consequences. But I think I have finally internalized the truths people have been hammering home for years now. It's only a matter of time before I finally quit for lack of interest, more than anything else.

For me, alcohol is no friend. I mean, not really. Not for more than an hour or two. Work, and exercise, and reading keep me buoyed up. Hopefully, I am emerging from my own pre-mid-life crisis and won't have to suffer the real one. By far the best move has been migration back to the gym. A really good workout makes me feel like a new man. The harder the better. And I would also credit my improved status to some good women who were in my life, and continue to be. Probably more than anything else.

I see the decade ahead as being possibly the best ever for me. In a larger human context, what problems do I really have? Look at the headlines, especially lately, and you will see that life for most people in the world is either hell, or something close to it. Maintain that context, I would say to anyone who thinks they are in a mid-life crisis, and you will see the world and yourself much differently.

Dirty Harry Potter
Location:
Posts: 284
Posted: 11 years 4 days ago

I got a soap-on-a-rope and a pair of slippers for Xmas.

If that isn't mid-life, I don't know what is.

There is no why
Jakester
Location:
Posts: 5753
Posted: 11 years 4 days ago

Bokchoi Cowboy wrote:

Man, it doesn't matter if you get it or not. Gay, straight, other, doesnt freaking matter one bit:You are Bill.That is all that matters.


Until they sign him. Then he's a law!

Richard Gozinya, Harold Snatch and Wilbur Jizz. Together we are the law firm Gozinya, Snatch and Jizz.
KingVoyeur
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Posts: 1601
Posted: 11 years 3 days ago

He needs a Schoolhouse Rock video...

Honey bunches.....of death!
The Swollen Goi...
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Posts: 14343
Posted: 11 years 3 days ago

Or a duck to be the mouth of.

Natalie
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Posts: 138
Posted: 11 years 3 hours ago

I hope this doesn't come off like gloating or disrespectful of what you guys are talking about, but I have to say that life for me has become better since reaching my 30's.

My 20's were tough, a lot of it was wasted on unsatisfying relationships with people that have, thankfully, no place in my life anymore. I spent much of the first half working to overcome my own demons and struggling between superficial euphoria and deep, dark depression.

Thank God I am 31 now. I have a much better sense of self, purpose, and confidence than I ever had. And this includes last year when I was laid off from a well-paying job and almost ended a six-year relationship and was reintroduced to Ramen noodles by necessity. I found I was better equipped to handle what could have been a truly devastating turn of events. But I survived.

I know things are different for men and women and I understand everyone has a different experience (I did a lot of things in my 20's that people could consider carefree, but they didn't feel that way to me at the time). However, I propose that, at least in my case, that my 30's are starting out better than my 20's ever were and perhaps there is something cyclical to it all. Each decade brings on a new perspective, a new set of problems, and a different evolution of one's self.

Okay, shoot holes in it now.

Much love