Author’s Note: In a recent livestream, Mary Ann asked, “Did you have a midlife crisis? What did you learn?” Hyacinth Bouquet transcribed my answer, and I cleaned it up a bit. I want to thank Mary Ann for her question and Hyacinth for her help.
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Experience: the comb life hands you once you’ve lost all your hair.
Ha ha that’s pretty good, who said that?
What’s the typical age of a midlife crisis? Mine looked something like this: ahh!, I haven’t read the complete works of Shakespeare, I haven’t read all of Pope yet!, oh no, when will I read all of Orlando furioso?!!, I need to get cracking on dryden’s Aeneid!, what if I die before I’ve read all of morte de arthur? Will they let me into Valhalla anyway?!!
It is a quote, but I can’t remember who said it.
I bet you got far enough into Shakespeare to remember this-
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Magnificent writing. What’s so amazing about the Bard is that that’s not a sentiment that was prevalent (or perhaps even existent) at that time. He invented new ways of seeing things, and did so in unrivalled language.
Human nature doesn’t seem to have changed in recorded history. I’m not sure that “he invented new ways of seeing things.” But he did invent new ways of saying things.
Why have a midlife crisis when you can have an ongoing crisis? 🙂 But seriously, this is very good.
Yes, why confine it to midlife?
I can pinpoint my midlife crisis down to the day, about 16 years ago, when I was driving through the quaint little mountain town of Wellsboro, PA. I’d lived most of my life in Pennsylvania, but this was the first time I’d been through Wellsboro. I ran the odds and realized I’d probably never be back. Sobering, to say the least.
Great article, for a variety of reasons. I must say I find it oddly fascinating that you were aware of your own mortality in a real sense from an early age. I can honestly say that did not hit me until I was in my mid-40s. Up until then, I looked at my own death as sort of an abstract concept, something that, yes, it’s going to happen, but it is so far removed from my life it isn’t possible to feel any kind of emotion over. I must say it was much more comfortable living in semi-denial.
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