Posts tagged as:

Fear and loathing in midlife crisis

Et tu, Brute?

September 1, 2013

in therapy in session

I am in mourning.

Yes, once again I am taking things that have absolutely nothing to do with me personally. Very personally.

I was being naive.

I just thought that geeks would be different.

Brains over beauty, right?

It is not even beauty per se. It’s youth that we are competing against.

In the end, you can’t fight youth.

Well, you can, literally, if you are Simon Pegg and his merry band of old school chums in the movie “The World’s End”.

As much as I laughed at the slapsticks in this movie starring my favorite duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and my favorite reluctant detective/doctor, Martin Freeman, I now think of Pegg’s character as a Shakespearean fool. One of those tragi-comic figures who in his outrageous conduct and verbosity states the truth that nobody wants to admit.

To make it brief, Gary King (played by Pegg) peaked in high school, and he’s been behaving the same ever since, driving the same car, wearing the same long black trench coat, listening to the same mixtape, while his high school buddies moved on and over their high school glory days. It was hilarious and at moments, endearing, to watch Gary trying to hold on to the residual of their shared youth.But it also made me wince.

Gary was the King back then. A real badass. In high school. We all know how that turned out: you graduate, you get a real job, you move on. Life happens. Reality sets in. Welcome to the real, fucking, world. We all did it. We moved on.

Gary though is different. He is committed. He’s been forestalling the march of time in his own way – you know, the car, the clothing, the hair, the mixtape. He refuses to “move on”.

Is this pathetic or heroic?

I winced because I could relate to Gary and I probably should not have admitted to that. In life, it’s always the former. Only in movies and in literature would we have been convinced of the latter.

 

It is something to do with death and time and age. Simply: I am eighteen in my mind I am eighteen and if I do nothing if I stand still nothing will change I will be eighteen always. For always. Time will stop. I’ll never die.

Nadie Smith, NW: A Novel

 

 

CODA:

[SPOILER ALERT. PLEASE STOP READING IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE AND YOU PLAN TO.]

 

 

To be honest, now that I’ve been chewing on this movie over and over in my mind, the ending of the movie depresses the heck out of me. Not because it portrayed a post-apocalyptic world… No. In fact, during the last scene of the movie, I felt happy for Gary – here he is, leader of the five musketeers. King again finally. He looked so truly fulfilled in the final freeze frame, his eyes glistening with excitement and purpose.

I find it depressing exactly because of this: that the ONLY thing that enabled Gary to defy the rules of growing up/old was literally the end of the world, that it will require a deux ex machina (an alien invasion for example) to stop life from turning into a long, drawn-out requiem for youth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Motherhood in the beginning is sickeningly isolating, especially if La Leche League gets their hold on your conscience. Your partner may be super duper awesome and really do the concept of 50/50 co-parenting justice. BUT. When you are up at night alone (because someone has to get up to go to work so you can pay for the diapers and shit) with a crying baby that simply will not go to sleep without putting up a fierce fight, yeah, it really sucks. You (ok, I) feel so helpless, abandoned even. Day after day. Night after night. Waiting for that tyrant who took over your existence to relent and show you some mercy.

I don’t think I’ve ever properly recovered from that trauma of isolation and abandonment. And I believe this psychological scar greatly contributes to my loss of faith in the myth of motherhood and my subsequent cynicism. Paying lip service to what a great sacrifice it is to be a mother is the society’s way of keeping our mouths shut: Yes you are all awesome superwomen. Without you, the civilization will end. Now STFU and make me a sandwich. Nobody in power (yes, balding white male I am talking about you) gives a shit about making it easier for women who maybe want to be mothers and something more.

 

By now you probably have heard of /read the article on The Atlantic penned by Anne Marie Slaughter, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All: The Myth of Work-Life Balance”. Dr. Slaughter is a professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. She served as Director of Policy Planning under Hilary Clinton from 2009 to 2011. Eventually she did quit the high-demanding job that frequently kept her away from her children, a fact that spurred the authoring of this article.

The premise of this article that has been shared and re-shared, lauded, debated, and of course, critiqued, thousands of times could be summed up in this:

Women of my generation have clung to the feminist credo we were raised with, even as our ranks have been steadily thinned by unresolvable tensions between family and career, because we are determined not to drop the flag for the next generation. But when many members of the younger generation have stopped listening, on the grounds that glibly repeating “you can have it all” is simply airbrushing reality, it is time to talk.

I still strongly believe that women can “have it all” (and that men can too). I believe that we can “have it all at the same time.” But not today, not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured. My experiences over the past three years have forced me to confront a number of uncomfortable facts that need to be widely acknowledged—and quickly changed.

 

Although the article does not end in a despairing note, the hope it provides, the solutions suggested — necessary changes in policies, laws, representations, and cultures, simply seems too far to be within imaginable reach. Nevertheless, I actually felt relieved after I read this, that I have not simply been a whiner, or been less fortunate in terms of my choice of a spouse, or timed having children incorrectly, or not been committed enough. It is also good to know that “wanting to have it all” has been grossly exaggerated into “becoming a super human”

I’d been the one telling young women at my lectures that you can have it all and do it all, regardless of what field you are in. Which means I’d been part, albeit unwittingly, of making millions of women feel that they are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot).

When in fact all we are asking for is to NOT to have to make compromises that our male counterparts in marriage/relationship (i.e. fathers of our children) are less likely to be asked to make, and when they do make those compromises, are less likely to be judged or criticized for it.

I have no wisdom to part with nor intelligent comments on the debate that has been raging on somewhere out there.

One minute I am all Let’s take over the world mother-f-ers. The next minute I wish I had never got into my head to be somebody when I grew up. [Please don’t leave angry comments about how being a mother IS somebody. You know that’s not what I meant. Take your mommy war and agenda somewhere else please.]

Why do we tell our girls to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, mathematicians, that they can be all that they want to be, if in the end, should they get married, they are expected to bear children, and should they become mothers, they are expected to become perfect mothers?

There are regrets that I would never dare to have, What-if questions that I would never dare to ask. If I get to stand at the crossroads of life, which would I choose, hypothetically? And which hypothetical answers will hurt whom and how much?

 

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Seeing how I have been on a midlife crisis overdrive…

Yes, I think I may as well come out and admit it to myself. I have been going through some sort of personal crisis ever since I started this blog in 2008. Some sort of late-onset-puberty/rebellious stage sans hyper-libido. *sigh*

For someone who’s 120% sincere and honest when she vomited a post titled With all due respect, I am fucking scared of getting old, and who’s scared out of her wits of turning into some sort of predator, really, the last thing you needed to show her was a show dedicated entirely to time travel and alternate reality, starring a nerdy yet sexy 29-year-old actor and a 49-year-old actress in one of the most romantic star-crossed-lover (literally in so many ways) storyline. [Oh god, don’t you just LOVE the British? This anti-Hollywood-rule pairing would never, ever, have happened in the U.S…]

What if… BEEEPPPP. Not allowed.

*red flashing light* Compartmentalize. Compartmentalize. *red flashing light* *Steel door coming down*

Brain. Shutting down. Nope. We never ever want to go there. Just stop it right now.

Someone that I don’t know particularly well cornered me in the office one day and asked me a very blunt question about my personal life. I laughed. I laugh a lot, I’ve noticed. I explained to her how I am an expert in compartmentalizing my thoughts and emotions. Because that’s how people survive and function in reality, no?

This. Is not a cry for help. I just need to get over it. It’s full moon after all.

It’s amazing how I’ve managed to not mention the thing I have been obsessed with for the past month even once. Moving along…

I have my own time warp right here: Found this mix tape made by a classmate of mine when we were in college. He made several mix tapes for a girl that he was pining for. [Incidentally, like a plague, I now recall at least four other guys were smitten with her at the same time in our senior year. Still can’t figure out why. We’ve all known each other all these years, and all of a sudden, finger snap, they all fell in love with her…] I have no idea whether he’s given her the tapes, but the rest of us swooned over the mix tapes and like the stereotypical “great guy who never gets the girl”, he made a copy for all of us. I wonder what happened to him. I hope he’s well. Whoever he’s with, I hope she’s not having what I’m having…

Compartmentalization. Complete.

 

 

 

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

With all due respect, I am fucking scared of getting old

April 1, 2012 therapy in session

I have been wanting to write about this fear of mine, irrational or not, for a long time but refrained because I did not want to offend anybody. But I can’t ignore it any longer. It depresses the shit out of me on bad days. I am just going to come right out and say […]

51 comments