“Everybody should have a midlife crisis! I mean, why wouldn’t you have a midlife crisis? My first midlife crisis was when I was like nine-and-a-half.” ~ Jay Wexler (Source: The Boston Globe)
I snipped this from an interview with Jay Wexler about his novel, Tuttle in the Balance. His lighthearted riff on midlife crises is woven into a dismissive response to a suggestion that Ed Tuttle, his law professor protagonist, was modeled on Justice Elbert Tuttle. He goes on to suggest that Justice Tuttle probably did have a midlife crisis. And if not? “I don’t think that’s anything to brag about.”
Right. After all, what’s wrong with a midlife crisis? Maybe it’s normal! Natural. And therefore navigable… After all, Wexler seems to have made it through his youthful midlife crisis relatively unscathed. Which reminds me why I like this tidy bundle of bravado.
Precocious Midlife Crisis
I’ve often enough joked that I had my first precocious midlife crisis shortly after graduating from college. I was peculiarly certain that I would expire in my forties. So my early twenties were wrought with anxiety. I struggled with the fact that my life was already half lived, that my actions, my livelihood, and my goals were too compressed for perspective. How to proceed? I wavered between paralysis and escapism, between Kafkaesque claustrophobia and quixotic daydreaming.
It wasn’t enjoyable. And it wasn’t shortlived. Eventually I remembered to live. Or remembered. Just live.
And I learned that this time I’m going to bust my ass to transform midlife crisis into a midlife leap!