Monthly Archives: July 2013

You’re Like A Suburban Midlife Crisis In America–No Middle Class

peacock mid life crisisHooray! Last week I entered my midlife crisis! No Saturn Return, no Pre-Midlife Crisis, no Late Onset Puberty; I’m talking the exciting big mirror in the aging face “Oh $hit What Am I Doing With My Life” Crisis. I’m at the point where adults finally become mature and live out those inspiring second chance stories that give people hope and aging rock bands one last chance to tour. And since so many people before me have been through it, I know I only have to survive some existential hell for a couple of years until I come to the conclusion that what I really need is to get rid of my old life and start a flashy new one! Problem is that with the middle class going extinct, middle class protégés like myself are finding that we are no longer able to afford the kind of satisfactory crisis that we are accustomed to. While some fear that with the demise of the middle class, motivated stoners and Teva wearing revolutionaries will finally rally to overthrow our current capitalist system, I fear that it will cause my midlife makeover to suck.

Without the same time and resources the middle class once enjoyed, the peacocky crisis we’ve come to know and mock will soon be a thing of the past. Of course there will still be two others available. There is the Rich Man’s Crisis carried out by those in the upper stratospheres of rich. This crisis as opposed to others, does not question career paths taken since the wealthy have always had the money to do whatever they’ve always wanted to do. These enviable midlifers are only subjected to the fear of losing their youth and the promise of impending death. So with a few new spouses (each one younger than the other), Botox shots and some hot sweaty yoga their midlife crisis is complete…ly Zzzzzzzzz.

Then there is the Poor Man’s Crisis, also known as The Struggling Artist’s Crisis. These are the ones who in their 20’s and 30’s did everything people in the other classes of crises try to emulate at 40 or 50. These creative types always dated much younger people but for like-minded conversation not for youth-sucking purposes. They chose day jobs that required little commitment so that they could concentrate on an artistic career that nearing 40 they discover never happened. Tired of living with roommates for 20 years and wishing for a few creature comforts they once scorned (Brookstone foot massagers), these once rebellious folks suddenly question their lifelong misgivings of society’s norms and immediately want to shed all semblance of their nonconformity. Ready to prove that they can succeed in a conventional way, they suddenly work hard to find someone their own age to marry, find a “real” job and settle down by buying a home or a fuel-efficient car in place of the incredibly cool beater or Volvo station wagon they swore they would keep until they died. Even less exciting than the rich, the poor man’s midlife crisis makes me go through another midlife crisis just reading about it.

It is because of the rich and the poor man’s midlife crises that we need to safeguard the middle class. Theirs is the iconic American midlife crisis. They followed the rules for so long they’re ready to break them! With 80’s style self-reflection and real jet-ski consumerist pizzazz, here in the middle you are promised toupees, red hot convertible sports cars, motorboats, cheesy young dates, divorces and the chance to sell that suburban home to buy yourself a downtown loft and finally live like all those cool artist types you stood in line with at the coffee shop and hated on your way to your 9-6-or-more job. You can go out to nightclubs, get college-style wasted on Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds because that’s what you last heard was hip from a temp a few years ago, leave your job in corporate America and make a new small business venture in something cooler like a distillery that makes bacon flavored whiskey with kitschy bacon flavored fruit roll-ups or by making specialty facial hair clips for wine tasters in Napa Valley, then get photographed in Sunset Magazine and show it off to your new family you just made with that temp you met a few years ago in your long-gone corporate job! That my friends, is a real crisis! Something I was ready to join in until I realized I couldn’t.

mid life crisisLike a chubby girl who lost weight but still sees herself as chubby, I like so many others raised middle class, learned that I had been mistakingly considering myself middle class when financially I am nowhere near it. So when my crisis turned up as a 16-year-old me to evaluate what I had made of her life and was unimpressed, I couldn’t escape or hurriedly make things better in a colorful, over-the-top, expensive way. I was sorry to let Young Me know that Now Me can’t just pack up and move my family to Paris or New York and live the life she wanted because I can’t afford to. Instead, the two of us have had to settle for lying in bed to piece together what makes sense from my past, discover what traits hold me back, support the ones that move me forward, take a close look at what’s important, what I want to spend my time working on and how to go about doing it. I discovered that I am part of a new class that is gaining traction in America, and our Lost Class Midlife Crisis is completely…ho hum practical.

*16-year-old me is completely over me and has moved on to her next victim.

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Baby Made Me Do It

Hi everybody! I haven’t written in over 6 months. You know why? ‘Cause I had a baby. Yep, the excuse that superwomen like CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer would never dare use, but smart women like myself do. Why not make use of it? I suffered through hours of what felt like two gigantic hands digging into my flesh and pulling my bones apart, a week with my downstairs blown-out and endured a new mom sentence of six weeks without sex. I earned this excuse card and shame on me if I don’t use it!

The excuse I HAVE A BABY covers everything from forgetting birthdays, to not contributing anything to potlucks, to flagrantly violating traffic laws. And unlike your usual rotating list of cop-outs that don’t involve saving for college–work, sick, sick cat–I HAVE A BABY can be used over and over again with your friends and you will never look like a dick. And don’t worry about coming up with an explanation either–no one wants to know because singles and single couples are afraid of babies. They believe as I once did, that newborns are a plague which, once contracted, wipes friends out from existence and prevents them from doing what those without spawn assume is prized above all else: hanging out with them.

Now that I’m on the other side, however, I’ve discovered that the whole thing is a sham. Sure babies deprive parents of their sleep and give them new problems to solve every day, but the thing new parents don’t share with the public is that newborns give them massive amounts of baby love hormones which make them perfectly capable of going out and seeing people. Thing is… they just don’t want to. Babies don’t turn parents into the walking dead, they turn them into selfish, socially undependable lying a**holes.

For instance:

  • You think your friends couldn’t make it to your party because little Aiden was taking an extraordinarily long nap? Wrong! They’ve always hated your parties and are glad they finally don’t have to go.
  • You invited your friends to see your band play on Saturday night but they couldn’t go because babysitters cost too much and they need to save for a house? Nuh-uh. Look on Facebook the next day to see what they’re doing. That’s right…checking in at a pricey mimosa brunch and spending money on friends they think are worth spending on a babysitter.
  • You tried calling your mom-friend to cry about your boyfriend AGAIN but she said she couldn’t talk because darling baby Mackenzie was crying to be fed? BS! That little bitch Mackenzie cries all the time. EVEN WHEN SHE’S HAPPY!

Of course when I first joined the club I was dumb enough to prove everyone wrong about what it meant to be a new mom. I didn’t want anyone to think I couldn’t do it all even when I didn’t want to do it all. I posted photos like this one:

Work Out Baby

You know what that got me? Friends inviting me to work out with them when all I wanted to do was sleep in and eat pizza… at the same time. But after several mornings of Burpees, ab exercises on furniture sliders and jumping lunges, I smartened up. Who cares if taking on the public’s perception of being a parent makes me look like a shut-in slob. When else will I be able to not do all the things I’ve never wanted to do? I took inventory, held a meeting with my internal Board of Directors, saw what others in my field were doing…

sleeping-mommy-and-baby

Oh no she didn’t! Pretending to be exhausted with perfectly side swept bangs and make-up! Good for her.

mom and son

Where’s momma heading to after this photo?

…and immediately posted my own version of this common mommy and me pose:

Do you think this image would tempt anyone to bother us with any invitations or obligations? Of course not. That’s because when you see photos like this splayed across Facebook and Instagram, you might comment, “Oh how sweet. Momma and child sleeping, Exhausted from so much love,” but subconsciously the photo makes you think, “F’ing stoner roommates.” Instantly this new look brands me as undesirable and totally useless. Success! A new parent through and through! As a result, guess what this pic has been getting me? Days and nights of doing nothing but sleeping and eating pizza. At the same time.

Pizza and Sleep

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