My So-Called Midlife Crisis

“Oh, look, it’s Midlife Crisis Patricia.”

That’s how I was greeted at work a few days ago.

Apparently my 29-year-old co-worker was taken aback by my all-black outfit, grey leather motorcycle jacket and black Jackie O. sunglasses.

Mind you, I would have worn the exact same thing just a week ago, days before my 40th birthday.

And somehow, the very un-cougarish black patent leather clogs on my feet escaped her notice (sorry, but my back was killing me and they are damn cute!).

She then laughed, “Where’s your tattoo?”

Well, you’ll have to wait a few weeks for that until I can get an appointment with Lacie the tattoo artist.

The tattoo WILL happen, as will the piercings at the top of my ear. I’m really tempted to get a nose stud, too, but I might just be too much of a chicken for that.

And full disclosure…I bought a convertible a few months ago.

All this prompted by my 40th birthday? Yes. Caused by a midlife crisis? No.

Not that I didn’t have to sit and think a bit about my co-worker’s accusation. Was I acting age-inappropriate? Was I trying to recapture my youthful cool?

No—because I’d never had youthful cool to begin with!

This is the misperception about the “midlife crisis.” It’s not a crisis at all! It’s more like a midlife “breakout.” I’m not getting tattooed and piercing stuff and buying a convertible because I’m trying to be like I was when I was 20; I’m doing those things precisely because I WANTED to do them at 20 and didn’t have the freedom. Get my nose pierced? Yeah, smart thing to do when you’re trying to get your first job during the Bush I recession. Buy a convertible? Ummm…with my 18K per year salary?? Like THAT was going to happen. Buy a $500 leopard-print purse? Dad would have loved that when he was still helping me pay the bills.

My co-worker completely overlooks the joys of getting older. At 40, I can do what I want, when I want, with whomever I want, for as long as I want, with whatever tattoo I’d like to have hanging out. I’m established enough in my job and have enough credibility with my clients that if I ever did get the courage to pierce my nose, I wouldn’t have to worry about professional backlash. I make enough money that I can splurge on the convertible (and not be charged a higher insurance premium because I’m a younger “high-risk” driver). I can wear leopard-print shoes that are cute or Dansko clogs that are clunkily comfortable and NOT worry if people think I’m fashionable. I can stay at home in my jammies on a Saturday night with a book and not worry about people thinking I’m a sad spinster singleton (because I really don’t care if they do).

Now, the shades and the leather jacket and black clothes? That’s been part of my look since way back and has nothing to do with getting older. But now I can afford more expensive leather and more than one pair of sunglasses.

Touché, 40!

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8 Responses to My So-Called Midlife Crisis

  1. Geri says:

    Ahhhh! I love it!

  2. Diana says:

    I loved this. Touche indeed!! I have tattoos, several piercings, and awesome Coach purse and a 2008 Dodge Charger (complete with Dub Edition 20 gig sound system). I would have never been able to afford any of it back in my 20’s. At 39, I had the means to get what I wanted….FINALLY!! I have done all this without ever changing, nor do I ever plan to.

    • I was really stunned by her comment, not because I was offended but because I had been completely unfazed about turning 40. Things have only been better and better for me as I got older, and I’d NEVER want to return to my 20s!

  3. Grumble Girl says:


    it’s all good, baby… and you’re wearing 40 very well, I must say… yay!!

  4. Getting older is a journey much like any other journey. There will be good times and there will be bumps along the way. Some lessons will be learned and some will be hammered home time and time again to no avail. It is your life. It is that simple You may pierce whatever you wish. Only you can control what you choose to do and I truly pray you revel in it with each passing year. Every breath is a gift. Turning 40 never bothered me; for some bizarre reason I hit the wall at 41. I got past it and now I’m quite comfortable with who I am and where I am in life and yes, it gets better because we continue to learn and grow (even with the addition of aches and pains, trials and tribulations). I’m proud of my “laugh-lines” but not quite ready to give up my red hair and submit to my grey!! I’m allowed a touch of vanity. Oh btw you are the latest addition to what is turning into the Longest Blog Roll in the world…. 😉

  5. “Girl, I didn’t know you could get down like that! All the women who are independent throw your hands up at me….” Wait until you turn the big 5-0. That’s one incredible experience!

    Love the post!

  6. Jennifer Nauss says:

    How did you manage to write exactly what I was feeling? Love it.

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