Saturday 25 August 2012

It's a Midlife Crisis

Oh, yes! I admit it: I am in a proper midlife crisis!

... and I have to tell you: From within, it looks pretty marvellous. I only can recommend it. I even think that it should be mandatory to take one.

Mine is manifesting in buying a motorcycle. At age 51 I am taking my license test. I thought that doing a bodybuilding competition at age 50 was already 'it', but people understood that I wanted to get the best out of my body one more time; they even admired me a bit. Well, one could excuse it in a way as: Health efforts gone a bit overboard; I am known for a bit of eccentricity, so what?

But motorcycle is properly mad! Yay!

I kept it secret for several weeks. I only talked to people who ride already; I was just not ready to hear all those concerns about the risks, the amount of money VS the time one actually can use it, the possible discomfort of sitting in hot clothes on a hot day, ... I had heard those concerns all my life and I took them on board. I was glad to have people who worry about me, and: Death was not close enough yet.

As a young person one is expected to do silly things and I guess parents take a breather when their kids eventually settle and they feel that they got them out of the rough. Then we enter this middle phase during which we are supposed to be the responsible ones. We do not do things which deliberately jeopardise our capability to provide for ourselves and others. At the same time we more and more often encounter severe illness and death. As youngsters the demise of a pet or relative is well softened by our parents. Then we encounter it closer to home; it may be our own pet that we have to help across this line of no return or even a close relative and if not, at least we hear more and more stories about cases rather close to us.

We have to come to terms with the loss of souls, human or other, and eventually we have to come to terms with our own mortality. My wonderful example is my grandma who became a widow at the age I am now. She saw my grandpa suffer through cancer, and I know that when he died she felt a huge loss, but relief that the suffering was over, as well. She loved him much, and she never took another partner although there was no shortage of applicants. When she died about 30 years later, she died peacefully because her deepest belief was that she would meet her husband again. She knew she would lie next to him and I heard her ever so often talk to him when I went with her to maintain the grave. She never left without saying: See you soon, daddy!

And that was how she lived her life: Not afraid of death! What for us would be the worst of cases, for her it was the deserved peace at the end of a journey; a journey that was hers and nobody else's. She travelled to all the places she wanted to go, she was wonderfully stubborn when it came to authority, and I never saw her really scared.

We knew about this peace she had within herself and when she died she left a big gap, but we knew that she had no regrets and that she would go to the place she wanted to be, even if we didn't believe that this place existed in a scientific way.

So, see: It is wonderful for me to have people who worry about my safety, but I have made my peace quite a while ago. I have not yet helped a human to die, but I had to kill so many small animals to help nature along, or in order to end suffering. I guided my little cat across and it was not an easy task, and I found that it does not matter in which size death comes, I don't think my heart could suffer more if a human close to me would go. In every passing I have seen myself pass a bit, too. And I am not scared anymore. I am scared of the way to get there; believe me: I'd rather wish to go with a big bang! And if there is a price to pay along that path, I will pay it. The important thing is that I know where I am going, and it is a place I don't mind to be. 

I think that this is what midlife crisis is all about: Learning to assess the risks in a new way. The dream of a young girl of riding a bike, and the vision of freedom that goes with it, was not meant to be at that time. I didn't have the means and then rather quickly I got into the responsible phase during which it was not appropriate. Now that phase is over, I have done my bit! Now is my high time during which I am still fit enough to do all those things. It is this wonderful time in which I can still feel like in my 20s but owning the experience I would have wished to have back then. It is an incredible time of freedom, strength and peace.

So, don't worry dear friends and family, I may appear a bit bonkers, but that is a matter of definition: Looking from the inside of my little world, everything is just fine!