Sunday, July 13, 2014

And Now, a Word from the Germans


I’ve never been fond of the idea of a mid-life crisis; it seems a little pretentious, don’t you think?  Trying to hang on to a youth that’s passed you by, making yourself seem to be something you are not, mourning a loss of something that may never have really existed to begin with.  It just all seems a little over the top and unnecessary to me.  Not to mention that it sounds overwhelmingly terrifying.  I mean, it’s got the word crisis right in the name.

Having said all that, though, I have to confess that I feel I may be falling into one.  Or maybe not, I don’t know.  I do know that these menopause symptoms, coupled with other niggling health issues, are making me a little crazy.  I know that I feel a kind of constant melancholy that is not normal for me.  I feel that I should re-examine my career choices and wonder if I’m doing the thing that I’m meant to be doing.  I wonder if there is still time to repair the rather distant relationship that exists between my son and I.  I wonder if I’ve done enough good in my lifetime.  Really, I wonder an awful lot of things, and mostly my wonderings reach no definitive answer.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately perusing the pages of webmd, the Mayo clinic, and other medical sites reassuring myself that the things I’m feeling are normal, and I’m not really slipping into some sort of break from reality, but knowing that I’m not alone in these feelings hasn’t really been all that comforting.  And, knowing that these feelings are likely not permanent hasn’t been much of a relief, either, because it seems I’ve still got quite a ways to go before my symptoms are likely to diminish.

So why talk about it if there’s nothing much to do except muddle through?  I don’t know.  Maybe if I can still reason it out, that makes it seem like a bit less of a “crisis”.  Or maybe just as a way to let some of it out safely, because actually talking about all of it out loud to someone might make me sound even crazier than I feel.  Or maybe just because that’s what I do here—talk about things that are on my mind, and this is front and center today.

But I still don’t like the idea of a mid-life crisis.  I was watching a rerun of Big Bang Theory today, and Sheldon was talking about a German word for a feeling of depression that comes from comparing how life is to how you imagine it should be.  He called it “weltschmerz”, and I think that’s the root of most folks’ mid-life crisis: that life just hasn’t developed exactly as we thought that it would and we’re running out of time to change it. 

But, whether it is or isn’t the true underlying cause, at least it doesn’t sound quite as alarming as a mid-life crisis.  Yeah, no crisis for me if I can help it.  In fact, I believe I shall begin calling my situation “age-induced temporary weltschmerz”.   Thanks, Sheldon.