Generation X followed that of the Baby Boomers and preceded the Millennials. It’s our time for a mid-life crisis. By no means, it is an exclusive club. Almost all of us will experience it in some form. Research suggests that men are more likely to experience it, but no-one is immune.
Symptoms vary. Yours may be different, but here are some things that I experienced which brought home that my mid-life ‘crisis’ was fast approaching and might be a warning sign for you.
- You start to become interested (even borderline obsessed) in sports cars, red mostly. If you still have hair (and you are one of the lucky ones), you imagine driving the beast along a long, windy road near the ocean somewhere exotic. A perfect day. Sun shining. The wind flowing through your long locks. Barbie or Ken impersonators (the 70’s versions, depending on your preference) is sitting beside you; both care-free and enjoying the freedom.
- You reminisce about the ‘glory days’ by watching (and re-watching) the 1980s classics – Breakfast Club, Forest Bueller’s Day Off, Top Gun, Dead Poets Society and, dare I say it, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink (only for Molly Ringwald, of course).
- You have never ridden a motorbike on public roads, but you are now sure that you are more than capable of doing so and convinced that it is your destiny to ride the streets (like Tom Cruise in Top Gun) in search of happiness, redemption and fulfilment (in reality, it’s more like Chevy Chase’s character, Clark Griswold, in National Lampoon’s Vacation).
- You think about Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates and remonstrate that the box from which you have been feeding (adding 30 odd kilos along the way) was full of the ones that no-one else wanted. Your best mate, who now drives a Lamborghini (or maybe even the 1961 Ferrari 250GT California owned by Cameron’s dad in Ferris Bueller), got all the good ones. But, you’re not bitter or twisted. Not one bit.
- Billy Crystal was thinking of you when his character, Mitch Robbins, in the movie City Slickers said, “Did you ever reach a point in your life, where you say to yourself: This is the best I’m ever going to feel, the best I’m ever going to do,’ and it ain’t that great?”
If you are an optimist (and don’t rub it in), you think Ferris Bueller should be the Prime Minister or President (depending on where you live). He makes you want to ‘seize the day’ (carpe diem and all that, sorry different movie) when he says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” You know what I mean.
When I sit down and explain to my kids what it’s like to live mid-life in this ‘crisis’ I think I’ll adopt the wording from Mitch Robbins and tell it like this:
“Value this time in your life kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices, and it goes by so quickly. When you’re a teenager you think you can do anything, and you do. Your twenties are a blur. Your thirties, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, “What happened to my twenties?” Your forties, you grow a little pot belly you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. Your fifties you have a minor surgery. You’ll call it a procedure, but it’s a surgery. Your sixties you have a major surgery, the music is still loud, but it doesn’t matter because you can’t hear it anyway. Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale, you start eating dinner at two, lunch around ten, breakfast the night before. And you spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate in soft yogurt and muttering “how come the kids don’t call?” By your eighties, you’ve had a major stroke, and you end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can’t stand but who you call mama. Any questions?”
My fellow Generation X-ers, I think we can all agree, there’s so much more to look forward to in the next stage of our lives.
It’s time for us to sing in unison (drink in hand), ‘We’re not going to take it’ (thanks Twisted Sister). Generation X, let’s all get on with it so we don’t keep missing out.
© 2020. Robert Nicholls. All Rights Reserved.
Featured image: Paramount Pictures
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