“A crisis seems to come from exhaustion and a sudden acknowledgement of the passage of time. All assumptions come under review – all of them” – Denice Loritsch (in response to Huff/Post50, December 10, 2013). What a lovely definition of a midlife crisis!
I found Loritsch’s observation while searching for an introduction, which would context why I am reflecting on my past these days. I guess you could say that I am definitely going through a midlife crisis. Or, you could say that this post is a logical follow-up to Reflections on approaching my sell-by date.
Whatever my motivation now might be, I have been reflecting off and on about how a visceral “Oh, yeah? I’ll show you!” reaction powered my success twice. This is that story. “Oh, yeah. I’ll tell you!” 🙂
The first time was when I was but a child in the 7th grade. A natural love for sports and inspired by Enid Blyton’s books, I used to enthusiastically compete for a place in the school sports’ teams. I remember jumping excitedly out of bed at the unearthly hour of 5 a.m., each day for a full month, to report for the training sessions held at a nearby sports ground. Those sessions were used to track talent and select students for the Annual Sports Day events.
That year I was aiming to be selected for the running relay team for my house – Cornflower or as it was more popularly known, Blue House.
Well, I didn’t make it. Or rather, I wasn’t selected.
Boy, was I hopping mad. Because in my eyes, I was better and should have been selected.
I didn’t make it to any Blue House team but got to participate in the general events. Unfortunately a week before Annual Sports Day, I developed two, really awful abscesses right in the middle of each thigh. How could I run or skip in such a condition?
My mother didn’t see an issue. She simply bandaged the area and sent me off. Yes, I had these gauze bandages wrapped around each thigh to protect and hide the abscesses.
And with that decoration, I took part in the Annual Sports Day. What’s more, I went onto win the Junior Sports Champion that day.
Looking back, I think I was powered to win by anger and a “Oh, yeah? I’ll show you!” reaction to perceived injustice.
The second time I think I was overcome by the “Oh, yeah? I’ll show you!” feeling was when, as a teenager, I witnessed my parents fall from grace.
Status gone. Lifestyle gone. Relatives and so-called friends gone.
I don’t know at exactly what moment I thought “I will give my mother back everything she has lost. I will bring back the silks and the pearls. I will show everyone who has deserted us.” But I do clearly remember thinking those exact words. I guess I felt her pain at seeing her husband descend and dissolve into the mist and oblivion of alcohol. And at being shunned by the society she used to enjoy.
The feeling powered me into working hard at my job. Each promotion I got was to that end. It took me a good fifteen years. But gradually I was able to bring back, to a degree, the standard of living we had lost.
Was it worth it? Not if I look at it from the lens of gaining back a lifestyle, which was always anyway a delusion of grandeur and false bonhomie. But otherwise, I would say the journey was worth it because it was a rich experience in learning to discern between the true and false. And, of course, the journey was worth it because we had a decent standard of living and a close knit circle of family and friends.
So, the “Oh yeah? I’ll show you!” became more of a “Life will show you” saga in the second instance.
Featured Image Credit: Heron flying low across the lake by blinking idiot (Flickr.com CC BY-ND 2.0)
1) Huff/Post50 – https://www.facebook.com/HuffPost50/posts/590603061011812
2) Shelley Emling, 7 Signs You Might Be Facing A Midlife Crisis, The Huffington Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/12/midlife-crisis_n_4419481.html?ir=India