I know that this isn’t the only reason people have children but surely those chatty little creatures must be a distraction from the mortality issues that inevitably strike in the latter half of one’s life. I mean, probably I should just get a dog, right? So I can drown out the noises that have made a recent appearance in my head. I thought the voices were going to go away, but they’re acting like bad houseguests, taking long naps on the living room couch in the middle of the day, the living room couch in this metaphor being MY HEAD, and the middle of the day being code for ALWAYS. (Sorry for the shitty metaphor.)
No one tells you about this when you’re about to turn forty. Everyone’s all: When you turn forty everything starts to make sense and you feel calm and in control of your life. Yoga yoga yoga organic food spa massage you’re in your sexual prime now. It’s very encouraging, and you believe it, and thus it is true. For a time.
But once that boldness wears off, when you really start to think about it, when there is no one left to hold your hand and encourage you to feel good about all the wisdom you’ve acquired in your life, and how fabulous it is to not sweat the small stuff anymore, and how fantastic you look for your age and also aren’t you glad you’ll never have to date in your twenties ever again?, all of a sudden you will realize that you are going to die some day and also, by the way, you will never be young again. Whether young is a thing you actually want to be or not, it is no longer available to you. See you later, youth.
I asked a few of my friends who have a few years on me about these mortality issues that apparently no one wants to talk about out loud because of the night terrors or whatever. When pressed, everyone admitted I was not alone. But also – they insisted this – you eventually make your peace with it.
What are you going to do, not make your peace with it?
Kate told me to use it in my writing. Kate tells me to use everything in my writing. Kate is right.
Anyway I just realized this week that the book that I’m working on now is my mid-life crisis novel. I’m going to write it out until I get to the other side of it. Until I make a kind of peace with it. Whatever my version of peace is.