I’m not dating someone half my age. I’m not going to sell my minivan for a sports car. I’m not getting hair plugs or plastic surgery. I’m not trying to act cool or hip for the young’uns. Yet, I’m having a sort of mid-life crisis just the same.
This kind of crisis doesn’t have much to do with wanting to be younger. I don’t want to be young. I’ve already done that once and it pretty much sucked. I don’t want to do that again.
This mid-life crisis has more to do with the great angsty existential question. The answer is 42. What’s really the question? It’s not what; it’s where. Where is my meaning? Where is my humor and contentment? There isn’t much of it in this current iteration.
Most of the time, I wonder why I even bother. What is the damn point of continuing to live? Every day, I push those thoughts off to the side. “I don’t have time to worry about that, brain. Let’s just go to work so we can pay the bills. That’s what’s important now.” Each morning, I tell myself that this is not the day I will die. “Maybe tomorrow.” Every morning, I secretly wish I’d get hit by a bus so I don’t have to worry about all this nonsense any more.
Even a tiny setback is cause for another fight. Yesterday, another tooth fell apart. By the time I’m 60, I won’t have any teeth left. I’ll have to eat only soft foods and won’t be able to pronounce anything. In response to my crumbling cuspids, my brain said, “Well, fuck it. Why even bother getting it fixed? What’s the point? We might as well just die now.” Because of a relatively easily fixable tooth, my brain decided we should just die. No kidding.
For a day, I allowed my brain to wander down that path, because I was too exhausted to fight it. If I let my depression have free rein, it’s awfully hard to control afterward. It spirals into chaos until I’m where I am now, which is thoroughly depressed and wondering what the damn point of it all is.
This morning, I woke up wanting to die. Some of you who don’t live with a self-destructive voice in your head are gasping now, but I wake up wanting to die every damn day.
Alarm clock. What time is it? What day is it? I want to die.
The difference is that this morning, it presented itself with a sense of urgency. After its modicum of independence, my depression gleefully tried to convince me that this would be the day we will die with renewed ardor. The more depressed I am, the happier it gets like some sort of demented yin-yang see-saw.
I took my antidepressant and gave my usual speech: “Not today, brain. Maybe tomorrow.” I tried to stuff that impish little voice back in its box, but it’s too big to fit now. Finding arguments to fight it is getting more difficult every day.