Wherefore are thou, midlife crisis?

I’m starting to think that I may not have a midlife crisis after all. I’m 46 and haven’t had one yet. Unless you count my sudden whim to uproot my whole family and move back to Texas when I was 40 as one, but that was motivated by the fact that I’d been recently diagnosed with MS and was certain that I didn’t want to die in Michigan.

My mom had sort of a midlife crisis in the traditional sense: she went out and bought a red sports car when she was 36. That’s early for a midlife crisis but she also went through menopause around the same age. (Given that the average age of menopause is 51, she was very early indeed. Fortunately for my health, I’m not taking after her.)

My dad didn’t really have a midlife crisis that changed his behavior. He did go through a stint in his 40s of writing crime novels but I think any crisis over aging he felt was either expressed secretly or was an internal struggle he dealt with alone in his head.

But I don’t have any examples of people in my life going through the stereotypes of a midlife crisis. I’ve never known anyone who radically changed their style of dress or shaved their head or started getting tons of tattoos and piercings. I’ve never known anyone who started dating someone much younger than themselves or started dressing like they were in their 20s again. Maybe the midlife crisis no longer applies to my generation since I see it so rarely.

My husband didn’t seem to go through a midlife crisis, either, although I can say that maybe his coming clean to me about his lifelong porn addiction was one. He radically changed how he viewed women in general and how he treated me in particular.

Which leads me to my questions: Does everyone go through a midlife crisis or is it just a societal stereotype based on disrespect for aging? And in some cases, could the “midlife crisis” just be a wake up call to change how you’re living for the better?

If I’m going to go through a midlife crisis, I don’t think it’s happened yet. I feel really stable. I accept that I’m getting older and I’ve even stopped dyeing over my sprinkling of grey hairs. I have no desire to go back to try to relive my younger years. I’ve been there and done that and for the most part, they were hard. I’m really pretty happy with where I’m at in life—yes, even in spite of my MS and my husband’s cancer. I can’t see any wild hairs deciding to change that.

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