How to Start a Mid-Life Crisis

Today is my birthday, and I’m happy to report that my mid-life crisis has begun in earnest. I find the best way to get a head start on one of these things is some sort of explosion, or mechanical (swiftly followed by a mental) breakdown. So, naturally, my birthday began when the power went out at 3:30 this morning… and then I eagerly took a cold shower when the power still wasn’t on five hours later. Not to worry, though, the power absolutely came back on two minutes after I got out.

As you may recall, the last time power failed in my neck of the woods, it was the day I found out The Ex was getting married. I’m willing to concede that my level of psychosis that day may have blown out the grid. Apparently, the rising tide of unfounded feelings of betrayal somehow contributed to the blowing up of a local transformer.

Now, while I haven’t exactly embraced this birthday (please picture my nails scraping against the precipice as I claw against the gravity pulling me ever closer to the end of my 30s), I don’t think I can be held responsible for the power outage this morning. Unless, of course, it was one hell of a dream I was having. I have only a vague recollection of both Duchovny and Clooney fighting over me (boys… boys… don’t fight. I’ll just date both of you until we work it out).

It’s not that this birthday hasn’t had some upsides: lovely celebrations with friends and The X-Files gang very generously held a press conference for me today (really, guys, above and beyond giving me new footage to obsess over… what? Had something to do with the movie, and had nothing to do with my birthday? Why are you always so negative?).

There is really only one thing that nudged me closer to the cliff: for the first time in 17 years, I didn’t hear from him. It’s not exactly a surprise: he is married, and we haven’t had contact since we said goodbye at the reunion last year. I’m not suggesting that I was looking for some romanticized gesture, but despite the fact that we’ve stopped corresponding, I still believed he would reach out—some gesture that said “I’m still out here, and I give a shit”. It’s left me feeling bereft, wondering how I managed to be relegated to just someone he used to know.

Never fear, though. I will not backslide. I will not wallow (much) in self-pity and ice cream. I will not start singing from the Gloria Gaynor songbook. I will, instead, dye my hair mid-life crisis red. I have an appointment Saturday, and I think I’m going to do it. If you know me in real life, by Saturday afternoon, you won’t recognize me. In fact, I won’t recognize me. And I think that’s the point.

Kate, planning on looking like Amy Adams by Saturday (but will end up looking like Scooby Doo’s Thelma if she stole Daphne’s wig)

5 comments on “How to Start a Mid-Life Crisis”

  1. danielletbd

    Happy Birthday!!!What is it about red hair that goes so perfectly with a personal crisis? (I, too, at one point went strawberry blonde. I had a rough few years there.) Is it because it’s unique and rare in a time when everything around you looks homogenized or is it more simply that you can control your hair color but you might be finding you can’t control much else about life?The day’s not over yet. He may send an email or an e-card, but honestly, the fact that you knew him for almost two decades, and he remembered your birthday every single one of those years… well that’s pretty damn special in itself.

  2. Kate, Dating in LA

    Thank you! I’m not sure what it is, but you are probably right: a combination of needing control over something, and also needing to be different– less invisible maybe. I’m a little nervous about it, though, because it’s such a big change, and I’m not sure my skin tone will go with this. Then again, I can always dye it back! Did you like being a strawberry blonde?As for him– it’s a good way of looking at it. Certainly less disappointing!

  3. danielletbd

    I liked it then, but looking back it was all wrong for me. It was when I was still living in NY, and I was sooo pale from the winter, that it made me look even more washed-out. The year later I died my hair back to brown with auburn highlights, and I liked that a LOT more. It was subtle.

  4. Steffy in PA

    Ahhhhhhhhhh, Kate. Happy Birthday!!! And yes, turnabout is fair play 😉 Avoid strawberry blonde. Been there, done that and it didn’t go with my Casper-like complexion any more than it will yours.As I am younger than you (yes, 4 months does count. Yuh-huh. Shut it!) I have a bit of time to plan my mid-life crisis. Although I have taken a slightly different approach. My theory is that if I pretend to wholeheartedly embrace it, it will go away and annoy someone else. I regularly state that I’m old and/or almost 40. It might work. Maybe. Oh, fine, burst my bubble. You’re not alone. A friend (who is in her early 30’s… b****) often reminds me that I’m not 40 yet. Yeah, like yet is comforting. I’m convinced that promptly at midnight on your 35th birthday 40 plops its fat butt squarely on your shoulder, taunting and pointing all the way.Considering how well I took 30, I suspect 40 may involve large amounts of alcohol or chocolate… or both.Hope you did something fun!

  5. Kate, Dating in LA

    Steffy in LA–LMAO!! Ok, I really can’t picture you as a strawberry blond. Do you still have pictures? I definitely can’t go that light. I’ll probably still have more brown tones– certainly more than blond ones. Who knows what happens tomorrow morning, though!You are very wise about the aging thing. I think sending it to bug someone else is a good plan. Alas, so far, I appear to still be aging. 😉

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