I’m Not Having a Mid-Life Crisis, Are You?

So, Ada, I handed in my final paper yesterday, which means I’m on summer vacation and I can’t think of anything to do except….blog. Expect a lot of catch-up posts!

Meanwhile, I wanted to post this article that ran in the Times this past weekend about the paradox of Gen X guys having mid-life crises, since Gen X never grew up in the first place.

The writer, A.O. Scott, talks about movies like Hot Tub Time Machine (which I really, really, really want to see) and Greenberg and the novel The Ask. Scott describes the various characters’ adolescences and then says:

“What follows that less-than-storied youth is regret, an intimation of lost possibilities that haunts everyone. There is, first of all, the squandered ambition, the professional road not taken. Milo, who was going to be the greatest painter of his time, slowly gave that up and ran aground in the world of nonprofit fund-raising. Roger balked at a record deal and lost his chance at success, just like Nick, the pet groomer in Hot Tub Time Machine. And then there are the former and potential girlfriends — the ones who got away but will never quite go away, tantalizing each sad-sack midlifer with visions of a bliss that might have been if he hadn’t screwed it up.”

Since the story ran, numerous writers have complained that Scott doesn’t deal with women’s mid-life crises.

I just want to say: I am pretty sure I’m not having a mid-life crisis. Unless you consider leaving a New York Times job and going to grad school in your mid-30s to be a mid-life crisis. Or unless you think that having a bottomless desire to process your youth is a mid-life crisis. Alright, I guess I can think of a few different ways in which one could argue that I am having a mid-life crisis. Of course, 34 isn’t really mid-life. More than that, I feel pretty great. Better than I did in high school and college for sure.

This actually makes me think about the story that you posted that chastised us for our 90s nostalgia, saying that 90swoman discusses “being female in the ’90s and just how awesome it was.”

Reading it now, I feel like, superlatives aside, I’ve actually gotten or done most of these things. No kids, not a lady Olympic crew champion, but some version of the rest. I wish someone would have told me—I wish someone would have told Sylvia Plath—that all of these things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Though I guess back then then they were. (Which maybe brings us to feminism. Wow, I didn’t even know that was where this was going, but of course that’s where this was going.)

Anyway, what do you think? Are you having a mid-life crisis? Are other 90swomen? Am I having one and I don’t know it?

And also, I am totally excited to talk about things that sucked about the 90s! Maybe we need to start a list.



Filed under Kara

2 responses to “I’m Not Having a Mid-Life Crisis, Are You?

  1. William Torgerson

    You bring up Cusack’s “Time Machine” movie here. One of my favorite movies of his is Say Anything, which led me to his more recent High Fidelity based on the novel by Nick Hornby. He’s now one of my favorite writers, and he’s got a new book called Juliet, Naked. Funny and interesting character in there who is having her own version of a midlife crisis. Was that a long enough list of links for you? I think if I was playing that old Kevin Bacon game (what was it?) I would have already lost.

  2. I like my life a lot more now than I did in the 90s, so no, I guess I’m not having a midlife crisis either.

    I like nostalgia (heck, I write for another nostalgia blog), but that doesn’t mean I want to go back and live it. I know a lot of people nearing forty and already falling into that “when we were kids” trap. Didn’t we condemn our baby boomer parents for the same thing?

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