The whole premise of this blog is to record my recovery from a mid-thirties meltdown, and you’re probably thinking “What the hell is that?!”
Good question, I’m so glad you asked. Please, allow me to explain…
There are two well-known periods of mental anguish that can befall the average adult: the mid-life crisis, and the quarter-life crisis.
The better known mid-life crisis usually strikes after hitting the big 4-0. Life starts to feel stagnant, monotonous. If afflicted, you may find yourself reflecting on your past and wondering whether this was really what you expected from your life at this point in time. You might also be a bit worried about how little time you might have left as the physical effects of aging become much less subtle.
Coping mechanisms of the mid-life crisis include buying a new car and/or spouse.
Then there’s the quarter-life crisis, which was probably invented to sell a book but seems to have resonated with twenty-somethings who are basically panicking about life: Goals, what goals? Career? Relationships? Everything is changing far too quickly, everything is uncertain and there isn’t enough money in the bank for a new car (or spouse).
In this instance, the main coping mechanism is to ignore the feeling of helplessness and post only flattering photos of your totally-NOT-freaking-out self on social media.
Which brings us now to the mid-thirties meltdown.
This occurs when the maturing, responsible adult in you goes to war with the alive-and-kicking rebel still clinging to your youth for control over your brain. The mid-thirties meltdown occurs when – consciously or not – you realise you are too old to be young and trendy. Simultaneously, you’re not a mom (yet) and certainly don’t feel like part of the 40+ crowd.
(For the record, I will be 18 until I die, thankyouverymuch Bryan Adams.)
You may have a biological clock but it is a Rolex. Instead of ticking, it just sweeps away silently while some unconscious, logical thought reminds you that baby time is almost over, and your mom is still on your back about grandkids.
Life is actually pretty calm, your job is pretty good, and your relationship is stable…and it’s uncomfortable and scary as hell. Unconsciously, of course.
If you are me, your coping mechanism is to drink a lot of vodka. SO. MUCH. VODKA.
You’re old enough that you can pack away a lot of it, but not so young that you don’t suffer from a harrowing hangover as a result. So a “hair of the dog” becomes normal, starts happening on weekdays and the next thing you know you are drunk pretty much 24/7 and need professional help to stop.
Like I said, that’s how I coped. Your meltdown may vary.
As a side note, I have heard of mid-thirties meltdown-esque symptoms described as a “thrisis”. First of all, if you say you’re having “a thrisis” it sounds like what you’re trying to say (badly) is that you have arthritis.
It’s just not a nice-sounding word.
Secondly, I can’t invent something to sell books that’s already been invented so Mid-Thirties Meltdown™ it is.
And now you know what it is.