While still some months away, the impending arrival of my 40th birthday is really wreaking some
havoc in my mind these days. It is prompting some strange introspection, especially during those long runs when there is nothing but wind at my back, sweat on my brow and a sympathetic ear in my head.
On the one hand, I am grateful for the many blessings in my life. Indeed, whenever I pound one foot in front of another along an often picturesque running path (whether in rain, hail or sunshine), I often wonder how many men/women would give their right nut/(insert whatever is appropriate for female) to be in my position – one that is filled with good health, great kids and an irreplaceable soul mate, all surrounded by a supportive network.
On the other hand, I can’t help but ask some uncharacteristically philosophical questions. Questions such as: What have I actually achieved in life that I am proud of or will leave a legacy? Do I enjoy this thing that I do between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday (and often even on weekends)? Having endured it for more than a decade and a half, should I even be doing it anymore as I approach the big Four-O? What happened to all those foolish dreams I had when I was young and reckless? Do I still have time to rejuvenate them now that I am hamstrung and timorous?
Questions like these can really fuck up your mind and force you to wonder where all that time went. It also turns one into a cranky old fart who goes around dishing out unsolicited advice to younger people – advice such as: Why are you so obsessed about getting a job out of university? You got the rest of life to work! Does what you do now really blow up your skirt or is there some other cool things that you are wasting your youth not doing?
It was through this emotional prism that I recently watched the movie, Moneyball, for the umpteenth time. Yes, I love the movie for the way it beautifully screen-adpated Michael Lewis’ baseball book about logic and science trumpeting over aesthetics and tradition.
However, its greater appeal, at least to me, is the back story of a middle-aged man who is haunted by his unfulfilled potential during his youth. And, more importantly, his attempted resurrection while grappling with all of life’s other challenges, the least of which is being a parent.
All these feelings are neatly encapsulated in the last scene of the move, where the main character is listening to a song sung by his daughter. And for some reason, although its lyrics are uttered from the perspective of a confused young teenage girl, they seem quite pertinent in the mind of an equally confused but not-so-young middle-aged father that is me.
If this is what they call the Mid Life Crisis, then I hope it doesn’t last too long. Because it feels like adolescence with the angst and all, but without the luxury to be foolhardy or to lose control.
Anyhoo, for those interested, here is the clip of the last scene from Moneyball. As you watch this during a quiet moment by yourself, if you feel even an inkling of what I do whenever I watch this, then you may just be having a Mid Life Crisis too.
Either that or you think this Jogging Dad has completely lost the plot!
Keep on pounding.
I’ll be 40 later this year too. I have also been thinking about change but I didn’t attribute it to midlife crisis – I did it once before in my 20’s and made a big change so I hadn’t thought of it that way but perhaps there is some of that in it.
No, it doesn’t sound like yours is midlife crisis at all, whereas I’m pretty sure mine is.
Part of it is about what my legacy would be but I’m really not sure where I could leave any meaningful mark. Having said that you never know if it’s the kids that will end up effectively doing that for you so pouring the effort in there may be the best thing.
I remember those thoughts and feelings…and to be honest, I still have them sometimes. I think I hit my ‘midlife crisis’ a little earlier than 40 though. Approaching 42 this year…it feels weird. I still feel 20-something. Great post Jogging Dad x
Yes, it does feel weird and, what’s more, I have the maturity of a teenager so you can imagine how much weirder it is for me!
I too feel the angst of what may be classified as a midlife transition. Lots of questions and too few answers. The biggest is in relation to my career. Only worry if you’re thinking of buying a shiny red sports car.
I’m thinking more along the lines of a shiny black Harley Davidson 🙂
Yeah, that sounds like it would be more up your alley. Open face helmet and sunglasses?
Well, since its a fantasy, lets make it sunglasses and just a cap that says “Bad ass middle-aged f**ker” 🙂
I turned 40 in January, I was actually excited about my 40th birthday, imagine that?! For me it symbolized a whole new chapter of my life. Nowadays, eh not so much! It’s taking some serious getting used too. I can’t quite pinpoint how I feel/think about it.Thank you for this! I am just getting my feet wet with being 40, I can totally relate 🙂
Sounds like you’re doing fine, and that I’m putting unnecessary thoughts into your mind 🙂
Awe thanks! It wasn’t too bad until about a month or so ago. You touched on a couple things I’ve been thinking about. 🙂
I get it. But is a crisis or introspection? Maybe you are looking at what you’ve done and what you CAN do. Looking for ways to continue to grow. You should ask yourself, if you had it to do all over again, what would you change. For me the answer is nothing. Did I get everything done I thought I would when I was younger (I’m 51 now)? Nope. But that’s ok because my life is nowhere close to being over and I have plenty of time to continue to grow. Hang in there, Life really is like a marathon, not a sprint.
Life is like a marathon, not a sprint – I could not have put it any more succinct than that! Thanks for reading.
Loved this! Just turned 40, stay-at-home mom for 10+ years, thinking the same kind of things…great post.
I’m actually surprised by the number of women who can relate my thoughts on the matter. I just thought it was a typical feeling of men whenever they think they haven’t pissed around enough to mark their territory in life 🙂
Yes…. I’d give your right nut, too. That works for me! Lol.
But seriously, 40 is the new 20, they say. Right?? You’ve got the rest of your life to accomplish whatever you put your mind to.
Well said, although I’m not sure the 20s agree with the sentiment 🙂
Probably not, but the older I get, the more I’d like to think it’s true. And that those darn 20-year-olds don’t know nearly as much as they think the do!
Dude I can totally relate to this post although, I don’t think anyone would give a left nut to be in my position 🙂 I’m having all the same thoughts and questions as the big 4-0 is creeping in and the movie Moneyball … dude … that one is totally awesome. I love it and it often inspires all kinds of thoughts in me as does The Pursuit of Happiness. Good movie clip.
Never been a fan of Pitt until that movie – he just blew me away with that performance!
Money Ball is a great movie.But no matter when you are in life and no matter how old you are, I think everyone has the what if’s in the back of their mind. I have them and I’m not even twenty-eight.
You are absolutely right. Still, I would love to be 28 again, knowing what I know at 39. 🙂
40 was a harder birthday than I expected. I look much younger than my age, but still, I found myself reluctant to reveal my age when I hit 40.
Now I’m 43, have taken up running, yoga and cross training, have a son graduated from high school, and my 40s don’t feel so bad.
Plus, I plan to live to be 120, so this isn’t midlife crisis 😉
Well, I want to live ’til 120 too! So Yoga, here I come 🙂