I turned 45 in December. My one remaining grandparent is 99 years old. So I think it is totally okay that I am having a midlife crisis.
The only part of my current life situation that has any overlap with where I thought I would be at this age, back when I was graduating from college, is that I am working at an institution of higher learning. Not as a professor, however, as I had intended oh so long ago.
On the bus this morning, two current graduate students at the UW were earnestly discussing what type of professorial job would be preferable, what to do if they were facing tenure at a college they didn’t like, how their status will change once they “publish my first book.” I really wanted to lean over and say: Chances are, reality will be nothing like what you are plotting for yourselves.
When I was 21, I had a game plan. It involved graduate school, a PhD, lots of international research in exotic locales, a professorship at a liberal arts college and fame of an academic nature. I also knew that Daniel would be a part of it.
What I have at 45 is no game plan whatsoever. I have two amazing, inspirational, jaw-droppingly talented kids, the most supportive, adorable and oddly geeky husband, the best house in Madison, lots of animal companions, and a track record of work that looks like a dot-to-dot picture filled in by someone who did not know how to count sequentially.
To cope with a lack of long-term vision, I’ve started setting short-term goals. These are of the “I have an idea and must execute it immediately” type of action. Most of the time, I am able to talk myself down from doing drastic and ill-conceived things, but some of these ideas drill down into my marrow and must be accomplished lest I burst into flames from repressed need.
So. We are going to adopt a dog. This weekend we meet 4 likely candidates and figure out which is the best fit for our existing menagerie. We’ve got a dog bed and a leash, and the cats have all gotten their vaccinations updated. (They have no idea what is about to descend upon their feline-centric lives.)
And I – finally – had the Firefly tattoo I’ve been craving, and Shara has been designing, inked onto my arm. It is beautiful.