I am welcoming my mid-life crisis.
Actually, I am heralding that baby in a few years early. I am standing on the bow of that ship, screaming “I am queen of the world!”. I am running toward it in slow motion with my arms outstretched and cheesy music playing behind me, ready to leap into its arms and let it sweep me away into my future.
You get the point.
Sure, there is a part of my heart that is sad my kids are growing up and leaving the nest, off to make their own way in the world away from my watchful eye and protective wing. There’s a part of me that will miss the sound of their voices ringing through the house and their presence filling up every inch between the walls.
But I have no intention of sitting in that nest lamenting the emptiness of it.
Mid-life crisis has such a negative connotation. It’s like the world is looking at those people saying, “They done lost their minds,” as they toodle around town in their flashy sports car, or hit the town with their brand-new look, or sign-up for that skydiving experience (I won’t be doing that) or head off to that remote place, none of which they could afford when their kids were growing up.
As a parent, you sacrifice. That’s what you do. You take that secure job that ensures food stays on the table and the electric stays on; you attend those parent-teacher conferences; you sit for hours on the sidelines cheering your child on; you fix dinner every night (well, most nights); you drop everything for doctor’s appointments and sick days; you go clothes shopping, even if you hate to shop; you say no to that social function, because your child has a recital; you forgo buying the things you want so your child can attend that function, play that sport, go to that dance, do that thing.
They come first. Their needs come first. Oftentimes, their wants come before your wants. Because you want to give them the best life you can and the best foundation for their futures, so they can hit the ground running and not look back. You sacrifice your time, your money, your identity, your relationships and your dreams to make their dreams come true.
(Hey you. Yes. YOU. The one reading this with a scowl on their face, who shares memes like “Parenthood isn’t a sacrifice; it’s a blessing.” Before you decide to post your “holier than thou” comment, I agree. It’s one of the greatest blessings of my existence and being called “mom” is by far the thing I’m most proud of in my life. That’s not what I meant and you know it. Just keep scrolling.)
Okay, sorry about that everyone. Back to my impending mid-life crisis.
So yeah, you do all those things. And then as slowly as they started, they begin to disappear. You can sleep in a little because the kids are old enough to be up by themselves without burning the house down. They have their own friends, their own lives. They get their license and, while a part of you worries as they pull out of the drive, there is another part of you doing the happy dance that the next three hours of your evening won’t be spent juggling drop-off and pick-up times. The lasts start coming as quickly as the firsts. The last school dance, the last event, the last parent meeting, the last time you have a family dinner or family movie night until the next college break.
Even if you aren’t normally a crier, you find tears rolling down your face at each one. But just like the time you stood in the school halls as a senior and hugged your friends and cried, there is still a small part of you looking forward to that next part of your life. The mid-life. The moment when your time, your money, your identity, your relationships and your dreams are yours again, at least partially. You start saying yes to things you couldn’t before. You start buying those little things you would have let slide past you. You realize you can take that trip because you don’t have to be home at any certain time. You read that book. You watch that show. You go to that concert. You go to the store in the faded t-shirt, ballcap, and no make-up, because you realize the only reason you stopped doing that in the first place was just in case you ran into one of those judgmental moms. (You know who I’m talking about. Don’t pretend you don’t.)
You do things like kickstart a writing career. 😊
Yep, I’m totally looking forward to my mid-life crisis. As a matter of fact, because of the negativity that surrounds those words, I hereby proclaim this part of my life College 2.0.
Feel free to grab a Natty Light, pull up a chair and join me. Not sure what’s going to happen at this party, but I can guarantee it won’t be boring.
Michelle Leigh Miller is an independently published author, freelance writer, and blogger in Southeastern Ohio. Basically, she is just writing words.