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31 January 2011

REPOSTED From Email: Midlife Crisis, Anyone?

So my biological clock started ticking the other day...loudly. It's funny because said timepiece has been dormant for so much of my life, I was pretty well convinced the notion of an alarm which goes off somewhere in a woman's DNA and starts demanding babies was a myth; like unicorns, fairies and comfortable heels;  perpetrated upon womankind by our mothers and Madison Avenue.

I've never experienced a strong desire for children of my own. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE  children. I ADORE children. Like any non-cyborg human being, I've always found babies irresistible. There is nothing which compares to the warm, loving weight of an infant in your arms, except for the "there but for the grace of God go I" breath of relief with which I hand said infant over to Mommy or Daddy at the appointed time. I've spent most of my life taking care of kids. While it's true that babies are cute and cuddly my preference has always been for the sentient years.  The experiences and conversations to be had after a child discovers Mom and Dad are not the literal center of the universe, for me,  hold a special and intense magic. From, a toddler's first "Why?", I am spellbound. Even so, even so...just as certainly as I knew at eight or nine, caring for children would play a big part in my life, I knew with equal conviction that I did not want to raise children in this system of things and that if Jehovah granted me a measure of contentment, I'd wait until the new one; when I can be the kind of mother I've always wanted to be.

So now what? Is it time to knock a man over the head, drag him down the aisle and make him the father of dozens of fat babies (Firefly shout out)? Um, not so much. The thing which never ceases to amaze me about existential the mundane-ness of the fix. Several biggish things have kind of happened all at once. I've turned 35, one of my major milestone ages. After years of annoying, debilitating and confusing health issues I have a diagnosis which makes sense of it all; and my companion of fifteen years, a small, fiercely loyal, utterly obnoxious feline who has been with me since she was 1 month old is sick for the first, and probably, last time in her life.

It's this last straw which jump-started the clock. What will it be like when the only heart beat which truly belongs to my life is my own? My body was preparing an answer before my brain even knew the question. Babies! Clear evidence that DNA/emotions/clocks (biological or otherwise) have no I.Q. whatsoever.  Is it time for children? No.

However it is time for something; time to begin the process of letting go, time to give a very old kitty permission  to find her natural resting place when the time comes. To that end, I stumbled upon a couple of very good, very funny books for animal people. The first is "Tell Me Where It Hurts" which is written by veterinary surgeon (I know, I know, but I"m way more squeamish than you and loved it) Nick Trout (yes, as in the fish), it is funny and it is elegant. I'm taking a break from the current audiobook to write this, because it's great for navel-gazers of all stripes, animal person or not. The book is "It's Okay To Miss The Bed On The First Jump" by John O' and great for where my head is now.

All of this to ask the question of the people from whom I most want to know their answers: What was your last/most significant midlife/existential crisis? And how did you/did it resolve it/itself? It's nearing midnight as I sit working through this particular knot in my psyche, my friends. Help me out.

Much love,