November 16th, 2004



I don't know what's wrong with me. Nothing seems to be interesting enough or funny enough to share or write about. If this is a mid-life crisis, where is my Alfa Romeo and cabana boy?

I kept forgetting to get the jack-o-lanterns bagged up and thrown away, and now they're sitting in front of the house, sunken in on themselves, exuding the most godawful stench. I nearly threw up this morning getting the kids to into the car. How am I going to deal with them? I don't think my husband is going to be very happy with me this afternoon. :(

I bought 2 more Christmas presents yesterday. I'm nearly halfway finished. Next up: Christmas letter and cards.

Conversations That Made Me Pause

Karin: *at dinner, out of the blue* Mama, is daddy going to die before you?
Me: I hope not.
Karin: Why do you say that?
Me:: Because I wouldn't want to live without him.
Karin: *thoughtful pause* You can live with one of us. *points at Martin*

Me: *in the car* ...and I'm tired, and it's late, and it wasn't fun, and I forgot to ask you to tape West Wing for me.
Anders: You should have more faith in your husband.
Me: You remembered without me asking you? You taped it for me? I'm going to cry now.
Anders: Don't drive off the road.


After college, I moved to Chicago with my roommate, who had just gotten a job at the advertising agency that her father's business used. After working at a bookstore (like Christmas every day! only O MY BARKING DOGS!) for about 4 months, I managed to finagle my way into a job there as well. The owner was a dynamo of a woman, in her late 30s, 2 daughters, and a husband who worked with her. She was a powerhouse of sorts in the automobile advertising circles around Chicago, and had started her own agency only a few years before. She was funny, generous, a control freak, and a lot of fun to hang around with for us. She sort of adopted my roommate and I, made us feel part of her family, gave us things, treated us to trips and dinners and all kinds of things, and worked us mercilessly. Phone calls at midnight asking for the exact wording of car dealership disclaimer text weren't uncommon.

I worked for her for 3.5 years. In the middle of that time period, she turned 40 and it was as if she drank the magic potion that turned her from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Things stopped being fun, and got serious. Small mistakes became the stuff of misery. She became increasingly freaky and controlling, to the point of insanity. Due to another crisis in my life going on at the same time, my life was a nightmare for nearly a year, and I was desperate to get out. I STILL, after 16 years, have nightmares once in a while about her, that's how bad it was. Thankfully, I DID get out, to the best job I've ever had, which led to my moving downtown to the throbbing heart of Chicago and eventually to meeting Anders.

The reason why I've been thinking about her a lot lately is because I always associated the change in her with her turning 40. I don't want to be like her. I don't want to think that my sense of fun and spontaneity is twisting inside of me due to my AGE. Anders says it's not, that I shouldn't be so worried. I know that it's normal to seek new interests and to get tired of old responsibilities that have become wearing and are no longer fun, and that it's probably just coincidence that it happens to be NOW that I'm looking to shed some of the responsibilities that I've been shouldering without problem for so long. Mid-life crises have always been the stuff of jokes, but I don't find them so amusing these days.

I suppose it could be a lot worse. I really COULD be looking to trade in for an Alfa Romeo and a cabana boy. I'm grateful every day to the anchors of home, husband, and family for keeping things in perspective.
  • Current Music
    Rebecca Törnqvist—Wander Where You Wander